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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Scottsdale Stadium – Scottsdale Scorpions

Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Scottsdale Stadium 7408 E Osborn Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Year Opened: 1992 Capacity: 12,000


Fall Scorpions

Scottsdale Stadium in Phoenix’s East Valley opened in 1992; the Arizona Fall League’s Scottsdale 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. The city of Scottsdale operates and maintains the facility. The city upgraded the seating area of the stadium over the past summer (2023), enhancing fan comfort and safety.

The Arizona Fall League is a developmental instructional baseball league played in various spring training complexes in the Greater Phoenix area. The season lasts six weeks during October and November. Major league teams send some of their most highly touted prospects to play in the league for additional practice. The 2023 Scottsdale Scorpions host players from the Angels, Phillies, Giants, Cardinals, and Nationals. The Scorpions last won the Fall League championship in 2015.

In addition to hosting the Scorpions, Scottsdale Stadium has hosted the Arizona Fall League Championship games in years past and will do so again in 2023. During the spring, the MLB San Francisco Giants call the stadium home for Cactus League play.

Major League Baseball changed the starting times of the games this 2023 season. Unfortunately, fewer afternoon games are offered and those games start at 2:30pm (vs. 12:30pm in prior years). Evening games continue to start at 6:30pm. This start time change makes it difficult to travel to two stadiums to see a doubleheader (especially with rush hour traffic), which is disappointing.

Food & Beverage 2

Several kiosks at the main concession stand are open for Fall League games and sell the standard ballpark fare. They offer hot dogs, bratwurst, and pizza ($7.49 - $7.99). Snacks include Bavarian pretzels, nachos, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, candy, and chips ($4.49 - $6.99). The concession area also includes a frozen yogurt stall.

For drinks, Coca-Cola brand sodas ($5.99) and bottled water ($4.99) are available. A variety of canned beer is also available at the concession stand, both regular size and super-size ($9.99 - $13.99). Brands include Coors, Michelob, Lagunitas, Modelo, 805, and Truly. Wine and canned cocktails are also for sale.

The selection is basic but enough for the crowd. I find the hot dog tastes better than the bratwurst, but neither are delicious. We recommend just getting a snack, if needed, and heading to one of the many restaurants in nearby downtown Scottsdale before or after the game.

Atmosphere 3

The city has done some amazing upgrades to the stadium over the summer, making it look spiffy.

Traditional green fold-down stadium seats are available on two levels with a walkway between the seating areas. The upgrades included replacing all seat backs and bottoms, and cup holders were added. Nice! The seats are still tight but are clean and shiny.

Scottsdale Stadium New Seats and Railing, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Seats beyond the baselines do not face toward the infield (the stadium was built just a few years before that innovation was discovered). Rows have average legroom. The inner concourse floors were repainted making the stadium look fresh and spruced up. The old green rails and banisters were replaced with new aluminum ones.

For the 2023 season, the stadium closed the top level of seating, so fans can only sit in the 100 level. The city is continuing its upgrades and is awaiting the arrival of more banisters and handrails to complete the 200 level upgrades. They hope to have this completed for the 2023 Championship game on Nov 11, 2023.

Nets taper to the end of the dugout. Fans can watch net-free baseball when sitting further down the foul 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 (the second level is not available in 2023). Pick your preference and/or move around to different seating areas during the game.

The scoreboard at Scottsdale Stadium shows the line score with the balls, strikes, and outs displayed vertically vs the traditional horizontal view. When the PA announces a home player’s at-bat or a pitching change, the scoreboard shows a photo of that player, his name, and his MLB team affiliation. This is not done for the visiting team.

The scoreboard has an analog clock, not seen very often these days. The bullpens are in left and right field behind the outfield walls.

Fortunately, printed starting lineups and rosters are available again (this was discontinued during COVID). Visitors can find these at the merchandise stand near the entrance.

Lastly, the music volume is perfect. The PA staff only play it pre-game and between innings (not between at-bats or pitches). It’s like heaven being able to hear the sounds of the game, the crack of the bat, the snap of the ball in the glove, and to be able to talk baseball with your neighbor.

Neighborhood 5

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 and sells a good variety of craft beers. Brat Haus is right next door to Goldwater Brewery and offers artisan sausages, Belgian fries, and 25 varieties of craft beer. There are 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 and the Holiday Inn Express 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, or basketball fans can watch a Suns’ game at Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix. Just five or so miles south of Scottsdale, fans can catch some ASU football, basketball, or soccer matches.

Fans 3

Attendance is 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 baseball scouts, retired folks, and true devotees 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.

Scorpion Fan Keeping Score, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Access 3

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. Loop 101 (Pima Fwy) is easily the closest, a few miles to the east of Scottsdale Stadium. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the closest airport (only nine or ten miles from the stadium). Check Valley Metro for bus options to 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-designated parking spots are noticeably available at the parking area just in front of the stadium. The sign at that parking lot says the lot is reserved and not for public parking, which is unfortunate for those who really need to park close.

Getting through security is painless. Fans walk through a scanner and give their bags and phone to a security person.

Clean, serviceable bathrooms are open along the concourse near the tunnels. Stadium operations automated them (touchless) during the pandemic.

Clear sport bags are allowed in the stadium.

Return on Investment 4

Arizona Fall League games, especially in Scottsdale, are just about baseball, not all the other extra entertainment and commercialization happening during spring training games.

Not a whole lot of music is played to ruin hearing the natural sounds of the game. Fans can talk baseball to just about anyone and strike up a friendship, if at least for a few innings.

A game is affordable: $12 for adults, $10 for kids over 12 and seniors (55+), children under 12 get in free.

Fans can sit anywhere they want. The AFL sells season ticket packages (single or double), worth the investment if you and/or a friend plan on attending more than 10 or 15 games.

Parking is free; food is the traditional higher stadium-priced amounts.

Extras 5

Several items are worth noting.

Fans can watch net-free baseball at Scottsdale Stadium.

The organization hires extremely friendly guest service entry personnel and staff.

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. A lot of great baseball history is on that wall.

Stadium operations play minimal music during the game and none between pitches and at-bats, which is a pleasant relief for the baseball purists who attend games here. Visitors can have conversations without being drowned out by music.

Finally, we give extra honors for the upgrades to the stadium seating area. It’s fresh and inviting.

Final Thoughts

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 in October or November, stop by and take in nine innings.

For those who attend Scottsdale Stadium for SF Giants spring training games, be on the lookout for additional improvements down the first baseline. The upgrades include constructing a new patio with shade covering to provide a fantastic place for fans to hang out during games and to host events outside of baseball season. This area will be open in time for the 2024 spring training.

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