Scottsdale Stadium – Scottsdale Scorpions
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Scottsdale Stadium 7408 E Osborn Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Year Opened: 1992 Capacity: 12,000
Scottsdale Stadium in the Phoenix East Valley opened in 1992; the Arizona Fall League Scorpions (baseball) have occupied it every October and November (except 2020). Designed by HOK, the city built the current stadium on the same site as the old Scottsdale Stadium which opened in 1956. It is operated and maintained by the city of Scottsdale.
The Scorpions brought in a lot of national attention in 1994 when Michael Jordan played for the team as he prepared for the 1995 baseball season. In 2011, the Scorpions featured an outfield that included Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.
In addition to hosting the Scorpions, Scottsdale Stadium has hosted the Arizona Fall League Championship games in years past. During the spring, the MLB San Francisco Giants call the stadium home for Cactus League play. During the summer, the AZL Giants play their games in the stadium.
Food & Beverage 3
One concession stand is open during a Fall League game. It offers hot dogs, bratwurst, and nachos ($5 – $7). Snacks include pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sandwiches ($3 – $6). For drinks, Coca-Cola brand sodas ($5) and bottled water ($4) are available. A canned beer selection is also available at the concession stand: Domestic beers are $9, super-size Lagunitas, Dos Equis, and 805 run $12.
Unfortunately, the stand-alone craft beer stand is no longer available at Fall League games in 2021.
The selection is quite basic. A recommendation, just get a snack if needed and skip the food at the ballpark. Head to one of the many restaurants in nearby downtown Scottsdale before or after the game.
Traditional green fold-down stadium seats are available in two levels with a walkway between the seating areas. Nine to ten rows of metal bleachers with backs are stationed after row O in the second level. Handrails are available to get up the steps but they don’t go to the top rows. Seats beyond the baselines do not face towards the infield (the stadium was built just a few years before that innovation was implemented).
Bleachers are at the end of the baselines. Drink rails and a standing room area are down the first base side but that area is closed for Fall League games. An updated two-level party deck was installed in right field after recent renovations. Scottsdale Stadium does not offer any cup holders in any of the seating areas. The seats are tight. Rows have average legroom. Nets taper to the end of the dugout. Fans can watch net-free baseball when sitting down the lines.
For Fall League games, it is first come / first served general admission seating. The sun shines down the first and third baselines with shade offered behind the home plate area and in the second level for day games. Pick your preference and/or move around to different seating areas during the game.
Scottsdale Stadium received a much-needed new scoreboard in 2016. For Fall League games, it does not show a whole lot of information: the AFL and team logos, the line score with the balls, strikes, and outs, displayed vertically vs the traditional horizontal view. The scoreboard has an analog clock, not seen very often these days. The bullpens are in left and right field behind the outfield walls.
Starting lineups and rosters are no longer available for paying fans (just scouts); common across all teams in the AFL in 2021. An 8 1/2” x 11” game day lineup sheet is taped to the wall down the first base concourse and player stats and team roster QR codes are posted for photo scanning.
The ballpark is adjacent to a thriving downtown neighborhood. Within just blocks (walking distance – up to but no longer than a mile) are many areas to eat, drink, shop, and sleep. It is a very safe neighborhood in which to stroll and visit.
Recommended places to eat in downtown Scottsdale are Karsen’s Grill (an exceptional small bar/eatery), Los Olivos Mexican Patio (Mexican and margaritas), and The Mission Old Town (modern Latin cuisine). Goldwater Brewery (an independent local brewery) is a half-mile walk from the stadium. For many other restaurants and bars in the neighborhood; check here for a directory to find others that might suit your tastes.
For places to spend the night, Old Town Scottsdale has many hotels; many within walking distance of Scottsdale Stadium. The Courtyard Scottsdale Old Town, the Holiday Inn Express, and the Comfort Inn Old Town Scottsdale are within a mile of the stadium. Prices during the Fall League are more affordable than during spring training.
Besides strolling through the downtown area, other things to see and do within walking distance of the stadium are the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Other sports to visit when in town are the two other East Valley Fall League stadiums: Salt River Fields and Sloan Park. A little farther away, hockey fans can catch a Coyotes game (Glendale as of this writing), or basketball fans can watch a Suns’ game at Footprint Center downtown Phoenix. Just five or so miles south of Scottsdale, fans can catch some ASU football, basketball, or soccer matches.
Attendance falls between 300 – 500 fans a game with more fans attending on weekends and as the season progresses. As with most AFL games, fans consist of major league scouts, retired folks, and fans of the game of baseball. You’ll see parents or grandparents of the players in the stands as well. It is quite easy to strike up a conversation as most fans have baseball in common.
Scottsdale Stadium is located at the corner of Drinkwater Blvd and Osborn Rd in downtown Scottsdale. None of the major highways in Phoenix go near the stadium. The Loop 101 Pima Fwy is easily the closest, a few miles to the east of Scottsdale Stadium. The city suspended the Scottsdale Trolley service between the ballpark and downtown because of the pandemic. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the closest airport (only nine or ten miles from the stadium).
Once at the stadium, the closest public parking area is the Civic Center Library Garage, located next to the ballpark on Drinkwater Blvd. It’s one block away beyond the third base side of the stadium. That garage is free and should not fill up for Scorpion games. The stadium and city do a poor job of identifying and providing handicapped parking. Only three wheelchair spots are noticeably available at the parking area just in front of the stadium. The sign at that parking lot says the lot is full and reserved for players and staff, which is unfortunate for those who really need to park close.
Entrance into the seating area is limited as fans are required to walk through tunnels to get to the seats and field. However, since AFL games draw small crowds, these tunnels do not cause a bottleneck. Handicap seating areas are near the tunnels on the walkway dividing the seating area and down the baselines.
Serviceable bathrooms are open along the concourse near the tunnels.
Bags are allowed in the stadium, a notable positive aspect these days.
Return on Investment 3
Arizona Fall League games, especially in Scottsdale, are just about baseball; not all the other extra entertainment and commercialization that happens during spring training games. And, there’s not a whole lot of music to ruin hearing the natural sounds of the game.
A game is affordable: $9 for an adult and $7 for kids (3-17) and seniors (55+), and fans can sit anywhere they want. The AFL sells season ticket packages (single or double) which are worth the investment if you and a friend are planning on attending more than 10 games.
Parking is free; food is the traditional higher stadium-priced amounts.
Several items are worth noting. Fans can watch net-free baseball at Scottsdale Stadium. Bags are allowed in this East Valley stadium in 2021. The organization hires extremely friendly guest services entry personnel and staff.
Note: The West Valley stadiums are not allowing fans to bring in bags (even handbags or the clear stadium bags) this 2021 season.
Scottsdale Stadium boasts the Arizona Fall League Sports Hall of Fame. Plaques are on the wall of the main concourse near the bathrooms on the first base side. Newly retired Buster Posey’s plaque is top and center of the display. There’s a lot of great baseball history on that wall.
Stadium operations play minimal music during the game and none between pitches and batters, which is a pleasant relief for the baseball purists who attend games here. Visitors can have conversations without having to be overheard by music.
For all the baseball purists, an Arizona Fall League game is just the ticket. Scottsdale Stadium provides lots of baseball and sports history. If in town during the season, be sure to stop by and take in nine innings.