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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark – Grand Canyon Antelopes


Photos by Meg Minard , Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark 3300 W Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85017


Year Opened: 2018

Capacity: 4,000

 

Grand Canyon Baseball

Upgrades and renovations often make a remarkable impact on a sports venue, and this is certainly true of GCU Ballpark in Phoenix, AZ. The Grand Canyon University Antelopes (‘Lopes for short) play their baseball games in the D1 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) at the recently upgraded Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark.

 

GCU baseball began in 1953.  The existing stadium first opened at its current site in 1962. Grand Canyon University started transitioning from DII to DI in 2013. As part of this, the university upgraded all its athletic facilities, including the ballpark. Gone are the metal bleachers, and in their place are purple chair back seats around the entire diamond, a roof, a turf berm, and a right field patio. Other amenities include a multi-room press box, wireless internet access, and an upper-level concourse.

 

The university installed a new video board in 2022. It looks like the school upgraded the traditional, inning-by-inning scoreboard in the left-center field wall too. 

 

The ballpark is nestled near the other sports facilities on campus: softball, soccer, track, etc. It fits in quite well on the good-looking campus.

 

The team has done remarkably well in the WAC and has won seven WAC regular-season titles and reached the NCAA Regionals in 2021 and 2022. 


Food & Beverage 3

Two food concession stand counters are just inside the main home plate entrance, offering affordable snacks and beverages.

Choices include hamburger, cheeseburger, bratwurst, hot dog, and three kinds of nachos: regular, thunder, and brisket ($5 – $9.50). Snacks for sale are pretzels, popcorn, Cracker Jack, candy, big purple churro, and ice cream ($3.50 – $6). Sodas run $4 – $5. The school does not serve alcohol at this on-campus facility.

 

Sadly, the concessions no longer sell a ‘Monthly Special.’  Those were yummy specialty items or sandwiches offered a few years back. 


Atmosphere 3

Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark is a fine-looking sports venue, as is the rest of the school’s campus.

A distinguishing white awning covers purple, fold-down stadium seats. The seats are quite wide (22”) and comfortable, with average legroom between the rows. Some seats are angled quirkily, and maneuvering through some of the stands is different. Fans must walk up and down and around to get to some seats. Handrails are available. Interestingly, a row of seats extends out over the dugouts.  The first base side gets the sun first for afternoon games.


Brazell Field Odd Angle Seats, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

 

The nets (medium to wide thickness) extend down both baselines. The school set up nets behind the outfield fence, like at a driving range, to keep balls from going on the street or into the neighborhood. A picnic area is down the right field line with open space, tables and chairs, and a ledge to sit on.  It’s a good place to get some sun.  It is net-free, so be on the lookout for long foul balls if sitting there. The home dugout sits on the third base side.

 

The team installed a new video board and a new traditional line scoreboard along the outfield.  The video board shows both team’s players’ names, photos, and statistics.  Intro videos are also broadcast.   Whoever operates the video board does an excellent job at updating the board with player changes promptly.


A student shares a short prayer before the start of the game. If attending an evening game, fans can witness some beautiful sunsets.

 

The game day operations have done a fantastic job lowering the music volume so you can enjoy it and still have conversations with your neighbors without yelling.  They offer promotions like a t-shirt toss or a ‘find the ball under the moving hats’ game on the video board.  The announcer’s voice is clear, strong, and easy to understand.


Neighborhood 3

The ballpark is located in the northwest portion of Phoenix in what once was known as a not-so-safe neighborhood. However, safety has improved over time with the assistance of Grand Canyon University.

Several fast-food restaurants like Qdoba, Chick-fil-A, Pita Jungle, and Subway are within walking distance. The Great Wall Cuisine (Mexican) and Angie & Jimmies Italian Pizza are next door. A Habit Burger Grill is at the Student Union.

 

Downtown Phoenix, just seven miles away, has a vast variety of eating establishments. Some recommendations are Pizzeria Bianco (Italian), Breakfast Club, and Angels Trumpet Ale House (gastropub). The SunUp Brewing and the Huss Brewing Taphouse are within a few miles of the ballpark. 

 

Hotels are not close to the stadium.  We recommend driving four or five miles to mid-town where a Hilton Garden Inn Midtown or a Hampton Inn are affordable places to stay.

 

Other sports to see in the springtime nearby are GCU basketball (men's), GCU basketball (women's), and several of the Cactus League spring training ballparks, like American Family Fields (Brewers) or Peoria Sports Complex (Mariners and Padres). The Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field (MLB) is seven – eight miles southeast.

 

For golfers, the GCU golf course is nearby.

Fans 3

Attendance for  ‘Lopes baseball games is not as strong as at its basketball games.  The more popular games are those against in-state rivals ASU Sun Devils and U of A Wildcats.  Depending on the opponent, you may see and hear as many visiting fans as ‘Lopes fans. 

 

Fans run the gamut from old folks to parents to students to those wanting a bit more affordable game of baseball than the surrounding spring training venues.  The biggest fans are those in the dugouts.

 

All are respectful of the other fans and players and cheer good plays, regardless of team. 

Access 4

Getting to the ballpark is relatively easy as it is a mile west of I-17 on Camelback Road. It’s very easy to get to from all parts of the valley as it’s just a couple of exits north of the I-10/I-17 interchange. Several buses stop at Grand Canyon University. Check Valley Metro for fares, schedules, and routes. Sky Harbor International Airport is 12 – 13 miles from the field.

A five-story garage is right next door on 35th Ave and is free of charge. Stop at the security booth and just let them know you’re going to the game.  They'll direct you to the parking garage.  The ticket booth is way past the field and away from the parking lot in a separate building.


Brazell Field Parking Garage, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

 

Entrances into the seating bowl are on either end of the concourse, with an elevator and steps behind the home plate area. A ramp is down the right field concourse. The concourse (under the seating bowl) is spacious and does not get crowded during a ‘Lopes baseball game.

 

The stadium has clean restrooms on each baseline under the seating bowl.

 

Clear bags are required for stadium entry.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets are $5.  The team does not charge an additional transaction fee if you purchase your tickets online. 

All seats are general admission.  GCU students get in for free.  You can’t beat that in Feb/March in AZ, especially compared to spring training prices. Parking is free, and concessions are reasonable. All-in-all, it’s an inexpensive way to spend a few hours on a spring afternoon or evening.


Extras 3

An alcove on the concourse provides an admirable display of GCU baseball history. ‘Lopes in the Pros (arranged by MLB team), Dr David Brazell:  Honoring a Legend, and more are available to enjoy and appreciate.

Brazell Field Murals, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


The new video board and scoreboard are worth mentioning again. 

 

Lastly, turning down the music volume makes this a much more enjoyable venue to visit.


Final Thoughts

For a more affordable baseball experience than spring training in Arizona, check out a game at GCU Ballpark.  The talent on the field is decent; the stadium looks and feels pleasant.


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