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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium - Tucson Saguaros


Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium 2500 E Ajo Way Tucson, AZ 85713

Year Opened: 1998 Capacity: 11,000

 

Saguaros Back at Kino


The Tucson Saguaros are members of the Independent Pecos League (baseball). They joined the Pecos League in 2016 and immediately won the Pecos League Championship their first season. The team is successful as they won the championship again in 2020 and 2021 and have had winning seasons most of their years in the league.


They have not been as successful in finding a permanent home. They’ve bounced around a bit with games played at Kino Sports Complex (former home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox spring training), Reid Park Sports Complex #5, some games at Warren Ballpark in Bisbee, AZ, as well as games at historic Vargas Field in Winslow, AZ , and Amphitheater High School in northwest Tucson. This 2023 season finds them playing once again at Kino Sports Complex, specifically Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.


Kino Sports Complex is a multi-use sports and cultural event center, the largest in southern Arizona.


The complex also hosts the USL2 FC Tucson soccer team, though not on the same field as the baseball games.


Food & Beverage 3

The stadium operates one concession stand for Saguaros games. That stand offers the basics at reasonable prices: hot dogs, burgers, and chicken sandwiches run $4 - $6. Snacks of chips, candy, pickles, and nachos cost $2 - $5. Water and Coke brand soda bottles run $2 - $4. Beer choices include Modelo, 805, Michelob Ultra, and others for $8 - $10. Natural Light cans cost $2. Wine is $7.


Lines form, particularly pregame and during the early innings.


The choices are enough to get you by for a game and more than what a fan would expect at a Pecos League game.


Atmosphere 3

The Saguaros and the Sports Complex do a good job at providing comfortable, safe, entertaining baseball. Keep in mind, however, this is Arizona and temperatures easily reach the triple digits even for a 7pm game in late June and July. Bring sunscreen and water. The signs outside the entrance indicate no outside food or beverage but I was allowed to bring in a sealed bottle of water.


Fans enter the stadium on to the concourse then proceed down to the seating area. Wheelchair and handicapped seats run all along the top of the seating bowl on the concourse. The seats are faded green stadium fold-down seats with no cupholders but an excellent amount of legroom. They are much more comfortable than they look. Bring a towel or rag to wipe off any bird droppings, dust, and cobwebs. The outer concourses are closed off for Tucson Saguaros games.


The stadium’s scoreboard sits beyond the left field wall. It provides the line score and the number of the player at bat. Fans get a lovely view of the Catalina Mountains and beautiful colors as daylight transitions to dusk. Sit on the first base side to get the best view.

Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium Dusk, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Music is played often and is not intrusive. The speakers line the overhang just above the top row and handicapped seating. Nets extend all the way down the baselines. The stadium does not offer net-free seating for Pecos League games.


Neighborhood 3

The stadium’s immediate neighbor is a hospital. The stadium is on the southern end of Tucson, with several places to dine or drink within a mile and many more a little farther. Fast food places like In-N-Out Burger, Raising Cane’s Chicken, and Rudy’s BBQ are nearby. For local independent breweries a mile or less from Kino Stadium, try the Hardbottle Brewing Company or the Copper Mine Brewing Co. Tucson has loads of breweries and restaurants, so head more toward downtown (about 4 – 5 miles) for other choices.


The Pima Air and Space Museum is six miles south and worth a visit. Four miles in the opposite direction are the Reid Park Zoo and the Randolph Dell Urich Golf Course (an 18-hole public golf course). Although not really close at all, the Saguaro National Park is worth visiting for its impressive views and scenery.


Value hotels like Motel 6, Days Inn, etc., line the I-10 exits north and south of the stadium exit. For more upscale lodging, head closer to downtown. I stayed at the Hotel McCoy, an eclectic, artsy, welcoming, restored 1960’s motel about 5 miles from the stadium, and I highly recommend it.


Other spectator sports in Tucson during baseball season include the Tucson Sugar Skulls (indoor football) and FC Tucson (soccer).


Fans 3

The fans cheer well when the Saguaros make an impressive play defensively or at bat. Most fans throw out their own garbage vs. leaving it behind under the seats. Quite a few fans keep score which is always a pleasure to see. The Saguaro mascot is the biggest fan of all. She runs up and down the seating area, high-fiving fans when the team gets a hit or scores a run. Plenty of fans sport the good-looking baseball cap and Tucson Saguaros shirts.


Tucson Saguaros Mascot, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Access 4

Getting to and from Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium is easy via automobile as it is right off Interstate 10. The stadium provides plenty of free parking in front of the venue’s Gate B entrance, the only entrance open for Saguaros games. The gate only opens 30 minutes before game time which isn’t a lot of time for stadium journeyers especially if you want to get a bite to eat before the game.


Tucson Airport is five miles south of the venue. The city of Tucson has public transportation. Check SunTran for fares and schedules. Remember to check return schedules, as the bus system may shut down before the end of the game.


The ticket office is through the glass doors to the right of the ‘traditional’ box office. It is not marked. Just ask other fans, and they’ll direct you to the spot. Fans can purchase team apparel in there as well.


Get Tickets Through the Glass Doors to the Right of the Ticket Booths, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


The stadium posts all kinds of rules on sandwich boards in front of Gate B, but getting through the security check is actually quite painless. Just bring a 12” x 6” x 12” clear sports bag and no weapons, and you’ll pass right through security.


Since attendance is not high, congestion won't be an issue when walking around the concourse. Clean restrooms are open on both the first and third base concourse, as well as family restrooms. The accessible stalls are close to the entrance. The ladies’ room has a changing table (not sure about the men’s room).


Return on Investment 4

Tickets are $10 general admission. Fans can sit wherever they choose, can roam around, and switch seats as desired. Parking is free. The food is inexpensive for stadium fare. Even the t-shirts are only $20. Baseball fans get an enjoyable evening out.


Extras 3

Visitors still get a decorative ticket with the green and gold Saguaro logo. The team returning to play at Kino Memorial Stadium is a bonus, as it is a fantastic facility for the Pecos League. Another shout-out to the mascot for being approachable, friendly, and so supportive of the team.


Final Thoughts

If you’re a resident of or a visitor to the Tucson area in June and July, be sure to check if the Saguaros are playing at home. Watching a game is an enjoyable, affordable way to spend an evening out.



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