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
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. Grand Canyon University Antelopes, ‘Lopes for short, play their baseball games in the D1 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) at the newly 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, all athletic facilities were upgraded, 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 ballpark is nestled near the other sports facilities on campus: softball, soccer, track, etc. It fits quite well in the good-looking campus.
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university located in Phoenix, AZ offering classes on site and online. Founded as a Baptist university, today GCU is an interdenominational university that welcomes students from all backgrounds. The university is deeply rooted into community outreach and students volunteer for many nonprofit agencies in the Phoenix area, including a learning lounge on campus and at nearby American Family Fields of Phoenix, spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Food & Beverage 3
One food concession stand (two counters) is just inside the main home base entrance offering affordable snacks and beverages. A ‘Monthly Special’ is offered which may be the way to go. At the game of this review the special was a ‘Jalapeno Crunch Turkey Sandwich’ (850 cal) for $6. I’ve seen a ‘Bases Loaded Hot Dog’ monthly special, which comes with mac and cheese and bacon bits ($5).
Menu at GCU Ballpark, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Other choices include hamburger, bratwurst, hot dog, nachos ($4 – $7). Snacks offered are pretzels, popcorn, cracker jacks, candy, big purple churro, and a Load’d sundae ($3 – $5).
Sodas run $3 – $4. Alcohol is not served at this on campus facility.
Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark is a fine-looking sports venue as is the rest of the school’s campus.
A 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 the stands is different. Fans must walk up and down and around to get to seats. Handrails are available. Interestingly, a row of seats extends out over dugouts. The first base side gets the sun first for afternoon games.
The nets (medium to wide thickness) extend down both baselines. Nets are set up behind the outfield fence, kind of like 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 and it is net free so be on the look out for long foul balls if sitting there. The home dugout sits on the third base side.
An old dot matrix scoreboard is installed in the left field wall which still shows Home and Guest as team names. This looks like it was not part of the recent renovation.
A prayer is said before the start of the game. If attending an evening game, nice sunsets can be witnessed.
If you love the social aspects of attending a ballgame – spending time with friends and family and chatting about the game (and other things) – this is not the venue for you. The music is quite intrusive during the game because the sound system (although new) is played way too loud between batters and innings. The intervals between the deafeningly noisy tunes are too short to squeeze in any bit of conversation. It really spoils some of the fun, which is a shame at such a fine ballpark.
The ballpark is located in the northwest portion of Phoenix in what once was known as a not-so-safe neighborhood however, the safety has improved over time with the assistance of Grand Canyon University.
Several fast food restaurants are within walking distance like a Qdoba, Chick-fil-A, Pita Jungle, and Subway. The Great Wall Cuisine (Mexican) and Angie & Jimmies Italian Pizza are next door. A Habit Burger Grill is at the Student Union.
For something a little more formal try the Canyon Grill 49 in the GCU Hotel about 1 ½ miles from the stadium. Downtown Phoenix is just seven miles away and a vast variety of eating establishments are located there. Some recommendations are Pizzeria Bianco (Italian), Breakfast Club, and Angels Trumpet Ale House (gastropub). Within a few miles of the ballpark are the SunUp Brewing and the Huss Brewing Taphouse.
For places to stay, consider the Grand Canyon University Hotel.
Other sports to see in the spring time 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 Coyotes (NHL) play several miles southeast and the Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field (MLB) is seven – eight miles southeast.
For golfers, the GCU golf course is nearby. Not surprisingly, plenty of places to worship are in the area.
Attendance is not frequently abundant and often as many visiting fans can been seen and heard as ‘Lopes fans. Hometown fans can be seen wearing their purple GCU shirts. 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. All are respectful of the other fans and players.
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 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 free of charge. Stop at the security booth and just let them know you’re going to the game. The ticket booth is all the way past the field and away from the parking lot in a separate building.
Parking Garage at GCU Ballpark, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Entrances into the seating bowl are on either end of the concourse with an elevator and steps going all the way up 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.
Clear bags are not required though there is a bag check.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are $5. All seats are general admission. Can’t beat that in Feb/March in AZ – compared to spring training prices. GCU students get in free. The souvenir shop closes early (before 7th inning so you’ll save some bucks if waiting to visit that later in the game). Parking is free and concessions are reasonable. All-in-all an inexpensive way to spend a few hours on a spring afternoon or evening.
Be sure to pick up a brochure upon entering. It shows the players’ names, a little information about them, and has the home schedule listed.
Ballpark Digest named GCU Ballpark the top ballpark improvement across all baseball in 2018.
An admirable display of GCU baseball history is provided in an alcove on the concourse. Lopes in the Pros (arranged by MLB team), Dr David Brazell – Honoring a Legend, and a stadium renovation description are all available to enjoy and appreciate.
In recent years, Grand Canyon University’s efforts to revitalize west Phoenix have been felt throughout the community – from renovating hundreds of homes in the neighborhood to reducing crime.
For a more affordable baseball experience than spring training in Arizona, check out a game at GCU Ballpark. Though the music volume is brutal, good baseball can be witnessed.