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  • Meg 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

Oakland Athletics Spring Training website Hohokam Stadium website

Year Opened: 1997 Capacity: 12,500


Green and Gold

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. Rendezvous Park was their first spring training home from 1969 to 1976. Then they moved to the brand-new Hohokam Park in Mesa, just a mile and a half north, for the 1977 and 1978 seasons. Next, they moved to Scottsdale Stadium for four years. After that, they played their spring ball at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for thirty years (1984-2014).

Finally, the team relocated to Hohokam Stadium 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. No longer is it 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 down the left and right field lines, and 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 welcomed. Spring games here are more laid-back than at some of the other newer stadiums in the Cactus League.

Food & Beverage 3

Plenty of food and drink are available at Hohokam at prices comparable to other spring training venues. Permanent concession booths line the interior concourse and there’s a Right Field Lounge down the first baseline and several concession tents, carts and trucks are parked on the left field outer concourse.

Both Burger Prime and Grill Masters sell cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, fries ($6 – $15). Hudson’s BBQ provides hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches and other assorted snacks ($4.50 – $12). Oakland Links offers hot dogs with sauerkraut and chile cheese dogs ($8 – $9.50). A Grab-N-Go shop is in house 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. At this review in 2022, Hungry Hill sausage, Slickables (ice cream), Boca Tacos, Mustache Pretzels, Awake Zen (specialized coffee), Corndogs (with honey), and beer carts are a few of the choices.

Tents selling lemonade, kettle corn, gelato and other snacks are also available to hand over your legal tender. Soft drinks are Pepsi brands and run $5.75 – $7.50.

Traditional domestic brews like Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Michelob Ultra, Blue Moon, etc. ($13 domestic; $14 premium) are offered at beer concession stands. Craft beers include 805, VooDoo Ranger, Huss Brewing (local brewery), and more. Beers are only served in cans this 2022 season; though spigots are available for on tap brews. Perhaps because of the shortened season, there wasn’t the time to get those set up.

Queues do form at all concession stands so 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; no cash.

Atmosphere 4

The Oakland Athletics spring training provides an impressive afternoon/evening out in Feb and March.

For starters, three entrances are open, with Gate D the central (or behind home base) 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 entering into a lively concession area. Except for the left and right field lounge and patio areas, the concourse is behind the seating area and one 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 history the team has.

As for seating, two levels of seating with a small walkway between the two, plus a few suites are present. The seats are green stadium-style, fold-down seats with cupholders and decent legroom. The seats are not angled toward home. 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 outfields. A paved pathway allows fans to walk the circumference of the stadium.

New in 2022, the organization extended the nets across all the infield seats (vs just to the end of the dugouts in previous years). Only the very far sections down each baseline (section 123 on the first base side and 124 on the third base side) are net-free now. The third base/left field gets the sun. Sit in the upper level (200’s) behind home and on first base for the shade (especially during days 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. Stompers Kid Zone with slides and bounce house is beyond center field and is free of charge.

A crisp, clear video board shines in left field and shows the line score, the player’s name, number, photograph and some advertisements. Since Stadium Journey’s last visit in 2020, a new stat is on the scoreboard: EV – Exit Velocity. The speed the ball comes off the bat when it is hit (over 100 is excellent).

Fortunately, music is no longer played loudly (or even at all) when the announcer calls the starting line up and when calling relief pitcher and player changes. The announcer is a female whose voice isn’t deafening and is quite pleasant. Nice job!

Something a bit unusual is “horizontally stacked” bullpens in right field.

Neighborhood 4

While not a whole lot 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 (12 West Brewing – serves tasty food, Desert Eagle Brewery, Beer Research Institute – has a classic arcade in it, and Oro Brewing Company) are downtown as is a cidery (Cider Corps). Chupacabra Taproom is also downtown and offers beer and wine and a place to hang out before or after the ballgame as is Diamond’s Sports Grill and Bar which has traditional sports bar food.

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 St in downtown.

Tourist things to see and do in Mesa are the Arizona Museum of Natural History or the engaging i.d.e.a Museum (excellent for kids) or visit 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.

Hotels are not 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 have 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 located 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. Paved parking is reserved for season ticket holders and handicapped parking. Gate D is the primary entrance to the stadium. All gates open two 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. Public transportation is available via Valley Metro. Take the light rail to the Center and Main St stop then board either the BUZZ or bus 120. Check the Valley Metro site for maps, schedules and fares.

Bags are not required to be plastic nor 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 team and day of the week. Regular seats range from $19 up to $48, again depending on opponent and day. Ticket prices are lower here than some of the other spring training facilities in Arizona.

Concessions are the typical high stadium prices. Parking is $5.

Extras 5

First, the Mesa HoHoKams are a group of volunteers dedicated to Spring Training in Mesa, AZ. They volunteer as ushers and greeters, and 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.

And finally, opening up two hours before the first pitch is an added benefit for those of us who like to check out all the venue offers. Kudos!

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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