- Jason Bartel
Hi Corbett Field – Arizona Wildcats
Photos by Jason Bartel, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Hi Corbett Field
3400 E. Camino Campestre
Tucson, AZ 85716
Year Opened: 1937
High Expectations at Hi Corbett
The Arizona Wildcats moved into Hi Corbett Field prior to their 2012 National Championship season. Built in 1937, Hi Corbett Field has played host to several professional baseball teams. Primarily used for minor league baseball, Hi Corbett has seen the Tucson Toros, Lizards, Javelinas and Cowboys. It was also the headquarters for USA baseball from 1997-2003, and has played host to spring training for the Cleveland Indians (1947-1992) and Colorado Rockies (1993-2010).
The University of Arizona now calls it home after moving out of on-campus Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium. In fact, the football program has sort of taken over Sancet as part of the expansion of its practice facilities.
Originally named Randolph Municipal Baseball Park, the stadium was renamed after Arizona State Senator Hiram Stevens Corbett in 1951. Corbett was the key player in getting the Indians to move their spring training facilities from Florida to the Tucson locale.
Hi Corbett is located in central Tucson within the Gene C. Reid Park area, which also includes two 18-hole golf courses, many parks and recreation offices and facilities, and Reid Park Zoo. It has a current capacity of 9,500, which is a major upgrade from the 6,500 and not as up to date facilities at Sancet Stadium.
The movie Major League was mostly filmed at Hi Corbett before the Indians moved out. A lot of the extras used in the movie were University of Arizona baseball players at the time.
Food & Beverage 3
There are several concession options at Hi Corbett Field. There are three general concession stands that offer hot dogs ($3 or $4), peanuts, soda, nachos, pretzels, and of course, beer. The ability to sell beer at baseball games was one of the reasons for the move to an off-campus facility. PAC-12 schools are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages at on-campus venues, but can do it when away from the actual campus. Beers run $4.50 for 16 oz. and $8 for 32 oz. There are also several beer carts located all around the concourse offering several different options.
Behind the first baseline is a small concession stand that sells Mexican food. Burritos run around $8, with a couple of other choices like loaded nachos.
Sundays are “Sunday Fundays,” where select items are 50% off (hot dogs, popcorn and soda). Also, when there are Wednesday home games, hot dogs are just $1.
After winning the national championship in 2012, U of A really put in a lot of work to make Hi Corbett look and feel more like the home of the Wildcats instead of just another spring training facility. The walls are painted blue, with a red stripe as the homerun line. The newly painted wall also came with newly painted National Championship “banners” that are actually painted on the wall in left-center field, and the honored numbers being painted on the wall in right field. In addition, there is a huge reminder of the program’s rich history in right-center with the amount of tournament appearances (37), CWS appearances (16) and National Championships (4).
The seats face west, which allows fans to see the beautiful Tucson sunsets at the beginning of night games or towards the end of afternoon games. If you haven’t seen a Sonoran Desert sunset, it really is something to see if the clouds are just right. That added with the palm trees all over Reid Park provide an incredible view. The seats facing that direction does create the problem of the sun shining on you the entire game if it’s an early start. Friday and Saturday games typically start at 6 PM. The only shade during the day is found right in front of the press box behind home plate. Just remember to bring some sunscreen for day games!
There is artificial turf right behind home plate. It’s only right behind the plate; the rest of the field is natural grass. But it’s definitely made a difference in how the block A logo looks later in the season, and how the area around the plate looks. The grass used to be dead and looked terrible when April rolled around, but this year it looks just as good as it did in February.
The seats are not too comfortable. The majority of them are normal seats without cup holders. There are metal bleacher seats farther down each baseline, but unless it’s a very crowded day, general admission will get you a regular seat along the infield baselines. The only reserved seats are right on the field, and the upper level behind home plate. The rest of the stadium is general admission. The Wildcats’ dugout and bullpen are on the first base side with the visitors on the third base side. There’s not really a better place to watch the game, but the sun does shine right in your eyes in the early evening when you sit on the third base side.
The scoreboard does not have very much on it, just basic baseball stats. There is a video board that plays a pregame video every game, and shows each player’s picture and stats for that day. They also use the video board for the hat scramble game, where a little kid plays, and has never, ever lost. There are several regular promotions, including a fly-ball contest, the “Wildcat Roar” where little kids do their best roar for the crowd. And in the middle of the third, sixth, and ninth innings, the game day staff throws free T-shirts into the crowd. Marketing also gives away a free box of cookies during the middle innings. Another giveaway is the #moundball giveaway. In between innings, if a baseball lands on the mound, you can win a prize by tweeting #moundball @ArizonaBaseball.
The press box keeps it interesting with the music and sound choices. There’s always some kind of sound effect when an opposing pitcher throws over to first a lot or a mound visit. It’s always interesting to hear what noise comes next. Down the first baseline, the Strike Out Counter gets updated manually, which can be interesting at times.
In the immediate area of Hi Corbett are two 18-hole golf courses, Reid Park, and Reid Park Zoo. This gives visitors from out of town a lot of options if they are there with their family, or looking to get out of the cold weather and play a little golf before taking in a baseball game.
Just down the street is El Con Mall, which has several fast food options including In-N-Out Burger, Rubio’s, Panda Express, Smash Burger and others. El Con Mall also has a movie theater.
For more upscale dining, Claim Jumper is the closest option. Alvernon Way, which is just east of Hi Corbett and where the golf courses are, offers several options as well including Javelina Cantina and Chariot Pizza. For those who like sushi, Sushi Garden Restaurant is nearby at the corner of Broadway and Country Club.
Most Friday and Saturday games have an attendance of over 3,000 people, including several games of 5,000+. These numbers were unheard of at Sancet, where there would hardly ever be a crowd of more than 1,000. Winning the 2012 National Championship helps of course, as well as being off-campus. Fans are into it though, heckling the other team constantly during the game, and even heckling each other if someone drops an easy foul ball. It’s always been fun to go to Arizona Baseball games, but now it’s a lot more crowded, and a lot louder.
Hi Corbett is located in the middle of a park area, so for the highly attended games, traffic can be an issue as there are only small roads that lead to the actual parking lots; and Tucson traffic at 5 PM is not exactly fun to drive in.
There is a lot of parking at Hi Corbett, but sometimes it fills up and people have to park a little farther down the road, either towards the zoo, or towards Country Club Rd., but there is always enough parking in the Reid Park complex for everyone. You may have to walk a little bit, but it’s not too long of a walk. All of the parking areas are free all the time.
The concession lines can get kind of long during games, but the concourse is so wide that it doesn’t really affect the flow at all. The bathrooms are found at each end of the concourse, out of the way of the concession lines, so that breaks up the lines and makes it easier to get around as well. The bathrooms are old so they look kind of dirty a lot of the time. They’re really just extremely old.
There is handicap seating near each dugout, and getting to those areas is easy because the concourse feeds out to those walkways at ground level. Getting through security check is quick and easy as well. There are plenty of security people for the amount of people expected for that particular game.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets cost anywhere from $5-$10, $8 for an adult general admission ticket. I would recommend using the U of A’s P@H (Print at Home) system so you don’t have to wait in line at the field, and it’s also cheaper to buy tickets the day before than the day of the game. Food is the typical stadium prices that you would expect. If you are planning on going to multiple games in a season, I recommend getting a souvenir cup as it is just $3 for a refill. I recommend that for football and basketball as well. Plus, baseball is the only sport at U of A where parking at the stadium is free, which just adds to the value of going to a baseball game over the other sports.
With all of the history at Hi Corbett Field between the Indians and the Rockies, you would expect to find some sort of information about it. And there is. Behind home plate in the concourse area is a huge plaque which has the names of every Baseball Hall of Fame member that has ever played a game at Hi Corbett Field. Across from that plaque is a trophy case which has the National Championship trophy and PAC-12 Championship trophy from the 2012 season in a cool little display with an iconic picture of that 2012 team. The 2012 National Championship logo is everywhere now too, including having all four national championship years (1976, 1980, 1988 and 2012) listed on the pillars in the concourse. In addition to the championship banners on the outfield wall, there are also flags with each national championship flying above the press box. The move off-campus was huge for the program, and it showed by winning a National Championship in the first year at Hi Corbett. The increased revenue has also changed the landscape of PAC-12 baseball, as Arizona State is now moving out of Packard Stadium to Phoenix Municipal in 2015. In 2012, the stadium looked very generic, but now Hi Corbett looks like it is part of Wildcat Athletics, and will be for a long time to come. You can follow along for updates from Tucson with my Wildcats Baseball blog here.