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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Hohokam Stadium – Oakland Athletics Spring Training


Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Hohokam Stadium 1235 N Center St Mesa, AZ 85201

Year Opened: 1997 Capacity: 12,500

 

Mesa's A's

The Oakland Athletics played their very first spring training games (as Oakland) in Bradenton FL before the 1968 season. Since then, they’ve been in Arizona and the Cactus League. Prior to moving to Hohokam Stadium, they played their spring ball at Phoenix Municipal Stadium (now home to ASU baseball) for thirty years.

The team moved to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa in 2015. Hohokam Stadium had been the Chicago Cubs spring training park since 1979 (though reconstructed in 1996) until they moved to the brand-new Sloan Park in 2014. Major renovations were done to Hohokam Stadium in 2014 prior to the A's taking residence. It is no longer a dark, crowded venue but one that is bright and wide open. Renovations included:

  • a crisp new video scoreboard

  • new player locker rooms

  • an expanded weight room

  • installation of party decks with shade coverings down the left and right field lines

  • a new coat of Oakland A's green paint


It is a fine venue to watch some spring training games, so if headed to Arizona in March, be sure to visit this stadium. Staff will make you feel warm and welcome. Spring games here are more laid-back than at some of the other newer stadiums in the Cactus League.


Food & Beverage 4

Plenty of food and drink are available at Hohokam at prices a tad less than at other spring training venues in Arizona. Permanent concession booths line the interior concourse; a Right Field Lounge is down the first baseline; and several concession tents, carts, and trucks park on the left field outer concourse.


Both Burger Prime and Grill Masters sell cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and fries ($6.50 - $15.50). Hudson’s BBQ provides hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches, and other assorted snacks ($4.50 - $15). Oakland Links offers hot dogs with sauerkraut and chile cheese dogs ($9 - $10.50). A Grab-N-Go shop is an in-house vendor selling bottled and canned beverages.


The best bet for food is to head to the left field patio and choose from the variety of food trucks and kiosks. These offerings can change from season to season. For 2023, Hungry Hill Sausage, Slickables (ice cream), Modern Tortilla, Mustache Pretzels, Chick-fil-A, Luanne’s (specialized coffee), and beer carts are a few of the choices. The hand dipped corn dogs (with honey) seem to be a fan favorite.


Tents selling lemonade, kettle corn, gelato, and other snacks are ready to accept your hard-earned money. Soft drinks are Pepsi brands and run $5.75 - $7.50.


Beer concession stands and kiosks offer traditional domestic brews like Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Michelob Ultra, Blue Moon, etc. ($13.50 domestic; $14.50 premium). Craft beers include 805, VooDoo Ranger, Huss Brewing (local Phoenix brewery), and more. New this 2023 season is a Beer Me permanent concession (first base side of the concourse) which sells all varieties of canned beer and cocktails ($10.50 - $14.50).


The Athletics opened their upper third base deck to all fans for the 2023 season with local Mesa brewery 12 West providing the only tap beer in the stadium. This is a fantastic feature that helps support local businesses.


Queues do form at all concession stands; plan on spending a few minutes waiting to place and receive your order. Prices do not include tax, and payment must be via a debit or credit card.


We recommend getting tacos from Modern Tortilla or a hand-dipped, honey-glazed corn dog from the Corn Dog Company. Then head to the 12 West deck for a local brew and a great view of the game.


Hohokam Stadium 12 West Deck, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Atmosphere 4

The Oakland Athletics spring training provides an impressive afternoon/evening out in February or March.


Three entrances are open, with Gate D the central (or behind home plate) entrance. Starting lineups and game day promotions are in this area. Gate C is near the ticket office, with Gate A on the left field concourse that leads into a lively concession area. Except for the left and right field lounge and patio areas, the concourse is behind the seating area, and fans cannot see the field. However, do check out the inner concourse. Plenty of Oakland Athletic player photos and murals line the inner concourse walls celebrating the team’s history.


Two levels of seating, with a small walkway between them, are available, as well as a few suites. The seats are green stadium-style, fold-down seats with cupholders and decent legroom. They do not angle toward the infield. Handrails are available for striding up and down the seating areas. Bleachers with backs occupy the last three sections on each side in the 200 level. Lawn seating is abundant beyond the left and right outfield fences. A paved pathway allows fans to walk the circumference of the stadium. The lawn seating has an extension called The Bullpen that has chairs and umbrellas (it costs a few extra bucks to sit there).


Hohokam Stadium The Bullpen Seating, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Nets extend across all the infield seats except the very far sections down each baseline (section 123 on the first base side and 124 on the third base side). The third base and left field stands get the sun. Sit in the upper level (200s) behind home plate and on the first base side for the shade (especially during day games in March).


A superb merchandise store with not only Athletics gear but ‘spring training’ t-shirts, pins, etc. is next to the Gate C entrance. It’s not too crowded and there’s plenty of room to look and meander.


For kids 12 and under, the stadium has the Stomping Ground down the first baseline which has activities such as a scavenger hunt and Stomper (the mascot) tries to learn Take Me Out to the Ballpark.


A crisp, clear video board shines in left field and shows the line score, the player’s name, number, photograph, and some advertisements. It also shows the pitch MPH and the batting EV (Exit Velocity). Exit Velocity is the speed of the ball as it comes off the bat when it is hit (over 100 MPH is excellent).


The music person does not play tunes loudly (or even at all) when the announcer calls the starting lineup or relief pitcher. The games are delightfully pleasant.


Neighborhood 4

While there is not a whole lot to do in the immediate area, the stadium is less than two miles from downtown Mesa which has developed significantly over the last several years. Four breweries and a cidery are downtown: 12 West Brewing (serves tasty food), Desert Eagle Brewery, Beer Research Institute (with a classic arcade), Oro Brewing Company, and Cider Corps. Chupacabra Taproom (beer and wine) and Diamond’s Sports Grill and Bar (traditional sports bar food) are both near downtown and offer a place to hang out before or after the ballgame.


For local restaurants, we recommend the delicious New Mexican fare Blue Adobe Grille which is only a four or five-minute drive from the ballpark and the Que Chevere (Venezuelan cuisine) on Main Street in downtown Mesa.


Tourist things to see and do in Mesa include the Arizona Museum of Natural History or the engaging i.d.e.a Museum (excellent for kids), or a visit to the popular cultural Mesa Arts Center. The Mesa Historical Museum has an exhibit on the Arizona Cactus League and Arizona Spring Training as well as Mesa-specific historical exhibits. Though a little distance from Hohokam Stadium (about 5 miles), fans may want to visit Organ Stop Pizza with its Wurlitzer theater organ, which some say is the world’s largest pipe organ.


No hotels are within walking distance of Hohokam Stadium. The team website recommends Doubletree Guest Suites and Delta Hotels by Marriott Phoenix Mesa. Both are on the pricey side (especially during spring training). A few lower priced hotels like Quality Inn or Baymont Inn are three to five miles from the stadium.


Other sports near Hohokam Stadium in the spring include Sloan Park (spring training for the Cubs), Tempe Diablo Stadium (spring training for the LA Angels), Salt River Fields (spring training for the Rockies and the Diamondbacks), ASU baseball or ASU basketball.


Fans 3

I just love Oakland Athletics fans. I admire them as they have followed their team through thick and thin these past several years. Pre-Covid, greater than 6,000 or so fans a game visited Hohokam Stadium to watch the A’s in the spring.


The fans are engaged, respectful, energizing, easy to talk with, and very knowledgeable of their team and the game. They are helpful when asking questions about the play at hand and/or Athletics information. Fans applaud good defensive plays regardless of team. The crowd wears plenty of green and gold, the team’s colors.


The staff (and I consider them fans) at the spring training games are exceedingly friendly and helpful.


Access 4

The ballpark is in a neighborhood and roads getting there are two or four lanes, so traffic getting in and out can be slow, especially closer to game time. It is 1 ½ miles south of the 202 (Red Mountain Freeway). The best bet is to get there early and stay late to avoid traffic headaches.


Five-dollar cash parking is in grass lots on both sides of the stadium. Season ticket holder and handicapped parking are paved. Gate D is the primary entrance to the stadium. All gates open 1 ½ hours prior to the game.


The closest airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (about 12 miles distance); a smaller regional airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, may be another pick if arriving via Allegiant Airlines. The stadium has a specified Uber/Lyft drop off on Center St near the Athletics sign.


Security does not require bags to be plastic or clear, but they must be no larger than 16” x 16” x 8”.


The bathrooms are old but clean. Moving around the concourse and walkways is easy. The concessions lines may extend into the passageways, causing some slight interruption in movement.


Return on Investment 4

As with all spring training in Arizona, ticket prices have increased. That said, the Athletics offer berm seating for as low as $10 or $12 (up to $19 or $20) depending on the visiting team and day of the week. Regular seats range from $19 up to $48, again depending on the opponent and day. Ticket prices are lower here than in some of the other Arizona spring training facilities.


Concessions are the typical high stadium prices but lower than other spring training sites. Parking is $5.


Extras 4

First, the Mesa HoHoKams are a group of volunteers dedicated to Spring Training in Mesa, AZ. They volunteer as ushers and greeters, assist with parking, and run a 50/50 raffle throughout the games. All proceeds are donated to local charities and kids’ sports in the East Valley.


The merchandise shop deserves an extra mention because of the variety of items offered and because of the space available to browse without feeling cramped.


Not all that common are the stacked bullpens in right field.


The extremely friendly staff merit a shout-out. I have not been to a spring training facility where the staff (including concession and merchandise staff) just wave hello and strike up conversations just to greet and chat. Nicely, nicely done.


Final Thoughts

Although not one of the newer, fancier spring training venues in the Cactus League, Hohokam Stadium is definitely worth visiting when planning a trip to the Phoenix area in February and March. Good baseball, plenty of warm weather, remarkable staff and good fans and food round out a trip to this ballpark.



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