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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Arizona Centennials are a team of the independent baseball league known as the Freedom Professional Baseball League. This league was founded in 2012 and serves the state of Arizona with decent, family affordable baseball. There are four teams in the league in 2012 and it is expected to expand to six teams in 2013.
The Arizona Centennials (appropriately named, as Arizona is celebrating its 100th year as a US state in 2012) play in Scottsdale Stadium, more known as the spring training facility of the San Francisco Giants . It also hosts the Arizona Scorpions, an Arizona Fall League team.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
They offered much needed cold bottled water ($1) and snacks such as chips, red vines, candy, etc. ($1 - $2) inside the seating area. The 'in the seating area concession stand' was also the souvenir shop and the customer service area. The one open concession area on the concourse offered beer: cans of Bud, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra. It had a different selection of draft both nights I attended: Sierra Nevada IPA was offered one night, and a Shock Top the next for $6.50.
My bag (backpack) was checked when entering the stadium but I never did figure out for what they were looking. I honestly couldn't tell you if outside food or drink was allowed to be brought in.
There was a beautiful sunset beyond the scoreboard during the first part of the game.
It is H-O-T when watching an outdoor baseball game in Arizona in August. There is no breeze or any kind of wind in Scottsdale Stadium. If hot weather without a breeze is not your thing, I'd recommend going to a D-backs game with the roof and the AC to enjoy a game in the Phoenix area.
The seats are comfortable; no cup holders. There are bleachers down each baseline.
Since this is the first season of this league, attendance was at a minimal (44 in the stands at the one game; 50 at the next)
For the Freedom Pro League, one can sit about anywhere they want at Scottsdale Stadium. There are nets behind the home plate but do not extend beyond a section or two. The home dugout is on the first base side of the diamond; the bullpen is in a fenced area in right field.
There is no mascot which, in this author's opinion, is a relief. There is one 'throw a t-shirt into the stands' promotion. One t-shirt is thrown by one player on each team so be alert, jump up, and I'm pretty sure you'll catch the player's eye.
The PA called all player changes. Music was played minimally. There were times one could hear a pin drop. Depending on your preference, this may or may not be a good thing.
The ballpark sits adjacent to a thriving neighborhood. Just blocks away (walking distance - up to but no longer than a ½ mile) are many areas to eat, drink, shop, and sleep. It is a very safe neighborhood in which to stroll and visit.
I went to Karsen's Grill, a small bar/eatery worth visiting before the game. It's air conditioned and service is friendly.
Another close eating option might be Los Olivos Mexican Patio. This appears to be a highly recommended eating establishment in Scottsdale and it is just a few blocks from the stadium.
There are several trolleys in Scottsdale worth visiting to get around and tour the downtown area.
As mentioned above, attendance was minimal (44 in the stands at the one game; 50 at the next). It appeared most fans were family or friends of the players.
I ended up rooting for Adam on the opposing Sonoran Explorers team (his parents were sitting close to me both games). He is a left hander reliever and ended up with 6 outs over two innings; giving up only two hits and has a perfect ERA. This was done in the first professional game he has ever played.
The stadium is located just on the outskirts of downtown Scottsdale.
For a Freedom Pro League game, just park in the front lot of Scottsdale Stadium. It's easy and there is no fee. The only gate that is open is near that parking area. There is plenty of other free parking options close by. The Scottsdale Trolley mentioned above does stop near the stadium. Recommendation: check the trolley link if you're planning on visiting Scottsdale.
Ladies restrooms are clean and operational.
Seeing a professional baseball game for $5 is fantastic. There is also the free parking and $1-$2 snacks. Meeting parents of the players is an added bonus. Seeing a game in a newly developed league is something that not many fans get to witness.
One can walk around the entire stadium and see the game action the entire trip.
The service was excellent. The usher (there was only one usher at the games I attended) was the one who recommended I walk around the entire stadium to take photos from different perspectives. The 'inside the seating area merchandise table' rep eagerly went out of her way to check for additional t-shirt sizes and styles when asked.
Rosters of each team were provided at the 'inside seating area concession/merchandise table'. Be sure to ask for them when attending a game as the names of the players are not displayed on the scoreboard.
Currently (2012), these games are for fans that simply enjoy the game of baseball. They are not for individuals who desire all the extras (promotions, game contests, etc.).
Like this website, the league has to start somewhere, somehow and I'm glad I was able to experience the beginning.
I wish the Freedom Professional League very much success in their endeavor.
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7246 E 1st St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
3311 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
3131 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251