Phoenix Municipal Stadium – Arizona State Sun Devils
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Phoenix Municipal Stadium 5999 E. Van Buren St Phoenix, AZ 85008
Year Opened: 1964 Capacity: 8,775
Fear the Fork
The Arizona State Sun Devils baseball team has a long and storied history with only three losing seasons since its founding in 1959. The Sun Devils have the winningest baseball program in the Pac-12 conference. The team is first in the number of alumni who have played in MLB. The stadium’s outfield walls proudly display nineteen retired numbers, many College World Series (CWS) appearances, and five national championship years.
After playing four decades at on-campus Packard Stadium (1974 – 2014) in Tempe AZ, the Sun Devils moved to Phoenix Municipal Stadium (Phoenix Muni) in 2015. Phoenix Muni was built as the spring training home for the San Francisco Giants (1964 – 1981) and later the Oakland Athletics (1982 – 2014).
Since taking residence, the Sun Devils have made major renovations to the almost 60-year-old facility. These include a state-of-the-art indoor batting facility with a new patio deck down the right field line. Fans can see the entire field and look into the batting cage from the deck. Upgrades also include a new outfield fence. The field designers moved the bullpens behind the new fence and changed the dimensions of the field. The renovations include an elaborately redesigned clubhouse with a players’ lounge, nutrition room, and weight room.
It’s an enjoyable, historic park in which to watch some spring baseball.
Food & Beverage 3
Phoenix Muni offers traditional concession menu items with better options down the third base concourse. Lines can form at the concession stands.
Burgers, hot dogs, nachos, bratwurst run $5 – $10. Popcorn, pretzel, peanuts, and candy costs range from $5 – $12 depending on the size ordered. The third base concessions offer double cheeseburger, ultimate hot dog, chicken tender, ultimate bratwurst ($10 – $13) baskets as well as Brew City fries and garlic fries ($7.50).
Coke brands are the soda of choice and run $6/bottle or $6.50/$7.50 fountain. Bottle water is sold ($4/50/$9). Fans are allowed to bring in sealed bottle water so save a few bucks and bring your own. Beers (Blue Moon or Coors) cost $6.50 or $10. A drink-only table is set up on the third base concourse.
A Chick-fil-A and a Kona Ice stand are at the far end of the third base concourse with a regular chicken sandwich running at a pricey $9.50.
One staff member travels the stands selling lemonade, bottled water, and popcorn.
Attending a game at Phoenix Muni is a delightful, refreshing experience for any baseball fan. Green fold down stadium seats (with cup holders) makes up the seating behind home plate and the infield. Bleachers with backs (general admission) extend down the baselines. The bleacher area provides net free seating, though those sections do not have handrails or cup holders and the seating is very uncomfortable. A deck is down the first baseline and offers tables with stools, views of the field and the indoor batting area.
To sit in the shade, get tickets behind the home plate and infield area (sections 1 – 7 on the first level or in A to M on the second level), keeping in mind section 1 (and F and G) are directly behind home plate.
A fantastic amount of Sun Devil baseball fame and history surround the park. Plaques line the exterior of the park as well as the outfield walls. These include the number of players in MLB or made the MLB draft, All Americans, CWS appearances, number of conference championships and national championships, a plaque honoring Packard Stadium and plaques acknowledging former managers of the team.
The left field line is 333 ft honoring former coach Jim Brock #33; the right field line is 334 ft acknowledging former player Cory Hahn #34. Nineteen ASU retired numbers are visible on the outfield wall. The lights at the park are the ones from the old Polo Grounds. Chairs of Honor (two empty seats) recognize prisoners of war and those missing in action.
ASU Sun Devil Retired Numbers, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
The scoreboard provides excellent game day stats (including previous at bat results) and player information with some video tossed in when needed.
The announcer does a superb job calling the starting lineup and player changes (for both the home and away teams). The sound person even lowers the music enough that fans don’t have to strain to hear the names.
Music can get loud between innings so you’re forced to stop talking with friends around you while it lasts. Thankfully, minimal music is played between pitches.
A decent, not cramped, team shop on the outer concourse (turn right after entering the stadium) sells shirts, caps, trinkets, game programs, etc.
The stadium is adjacent to Papago Park, which also includes the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden. If you’re an outdoorsy person on top of a baseball fan, this area is the perfect place to spend the day. It also works out nicely to take your family to the zoo (which closes at 5 typically), and then head over to the ballpark for a night game. The zoo is so close, you can hear fans cheering in the stadium from inside almost the entire zoo.
Also next door is the Hall of Flame Fire Museum which provides exhibits on the history of firefighting.
While no places to eat or drink are within walking distance, a short drive (about 2 ½ miles) down Mill Ave will bring fans to downtown Tempe, which has a multitude of places to imbibe and dine. Pedal Haus Brewery (brewery with a full menu), Zipps Sports Grill, First Watch (breakfast), House of Tricks (contemporary American) are just a few of the recommended places. In the same area, Canopy by Hilton Downtown, Sonesta Select Downtown Tempe, AC Hotel are some hotels for travelling fans. Many more hotels are just two or so miles from the ballpark nearer the airport like a Residence Inn, Radisson, Marriott, and Holiday Inn.
For other sports to see when in town, check out ASU basketball at Desert Financial Center or several spring training facilities. Tempe Diablo (Angels), Sloan Park (Cubs) or Scottsdale Stadium (Giants) are the closest ones. Chase Field, where the Diamondbacks play, is about eight miles west of Phoenix Muni.
Since the baseball program is so storied, a large season ticket holder base across multiple generations is in attendance for games. You’ll see current students, families with kids, middle-aged and retired alumni and fans. All cheer and applaud loudly when the Sun Devils perform a good play. Many adorn ASU shirts and caps.
Attendance is always strong with a 70% – 80% capacity at most games, more on weekend games, or when the Sun Devils battle their archrival U of A Wildcats.
Fans get to the ballpark relatively easily by car, bike, light rail, or bus. It is about three miles from the ASU campus and a little over three miles from Sky Harbor Airport. If arriving by car, fans must walk over a bridge to get to the stadium. For fans unable to walk over the bridge, Ollie the Trolley provides shuttle service from the parking lot to the stadium (and back), free of charge. It is $5 to park.
Ollie the Trolley Shuttle, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
For visitors taking the light rail get off the stop at Priest Dr/Washington St, then walk .6 miles to the stadium.
The Sun Devils are serious about security and bag checks. Clear sports stadium bags are allowed; knapsacks are not. The security individuals are very pleasant; walking through the scanner and getting your bag checked is a breeze. Re-entry into the stadium is not allowed.
Select and order tickets at kiosks outside the ticket window. Buying a ticket is all cashless and ticketless; one must have a credit card and a working mobile phone to access their ticket. While it’s a nice idea, all parties must be present and enter together. The venue has benches near the main entrance for fans to sit and wait for friends.
Functional restrooms are on the concourse down both baselines and sometimes run out of toilet paper (at least the ladies’ rooms), be sure to check first before entering a stall.
Return on Investment 4
Because the game day experience is so welcome and pleasant, ticket prices are worth the investment.
Tickets generally run from $10 (general admission) to $22 (first level behind home plate). If you want a comfortable seat in the shade, it is worth paying a few extra dollars to sit in the infield seating area. Tickets are a few dollars more at the gate than purchasing online before the game.
The team offers military discounts for all veterans. Season tickets are probably a good bet if planning on attending multiple games; the Sun Devils even have an 8-game Sunday ticket package.
Concession prices are on the high side so eat before attending a game and bring your own water. Parking is $5.
Both the history of the Sun Devils baseball team and the venue deserve additional accolades. Ollie the Trolley shuttling fans from the parking lot to the entrance is a first-rate feature. Finally, all staff members, from those helping with tickets, to security individuals, to delightful concession workers and ushers, make visitors feel welcome at the venue and the game.
The background of Papago Park sets the overall ambience of visiting Phoenix Muni. It is a truly unique setting for college baseball and one that all baseball fans should try and experience. ASU Sun Devil baseball program is a premier one. We recommend all sports fans visit the legacy and history of the team and venue during the spring.