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Monday, Sep 01st

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Goodyear Ballpark / Cleveland Indians

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Goodyear Ballpark / Cleveland Indians
Page 2: Touring the Ballpark
Page 3: The training facilities
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Goodyear, located on the far western edge of the greater Phoenix area, isn’t the first place to come to mind when brainstorming for the ideal spring-training locale. But the new spring home of the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds combines state-of-the-art training complexes with one of the more pleasant ballparks in the Cactus League, in a setup sure to please fans and management alike.

FAST FACTS

Capacity: 8,000 fixed seats, 500 premium seats, 1,600 berm seats, 400-seat party area, 6 suites
Cost: $100 million
Owner: City of Goodyear
Architect: Populous, Kansas City
Construction: Barton Malow
Tenants: Cleveland Indians (2009-present), Cincinnati Reds (2010-present)
Address: 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear.
Directions: Goodyear is located in the southwest corner of the greater Phoenix area. From I-10, take Estrella Parkway South. Continue on Estrella Parkway; you'll see the ballpark on your left after you pass Van Buren. Signage from the freeway may take you a slightly different route, but that's OK; pretty much anything heading south of the freeway will lead you to the ballpark.

Goodyear, located on the far western edge of the greater Phoenix area, isn’t the first place to come to mind when brainstorming for the ideal spring-training locale. True, it’s growing like mad – the population rose from 18,911 in 2000 to an estimated 55,954 in 2007 – and many large businesses, including Lockheed, Macy’s and Lufthansa, have large-scale operations there.

And any city experiencing rapid growth in the Valley of the Sun sets their sights on one thing: spring training. For the Cleveland Indians, a spring-training match was made in heaven: the city is named after the Ohio-based tire manufacturer, and the firm had operations in the city for decades.

Besides a growing population, Goodyear has two other things important to landing spring training: money and land. Both play out in the city’s spring-training district, which features an 8,000-seat ballpark and training complexes for the Indians and the Cincinnati Reds. Once an entertainment/retail district is added to the mix -- and we’re confident it will, despite some issues with the original developer, as there’s plenty of new development popping up along Estrella Parkway -- you have the makings of a great spring-training atmosphere.

Still, we’re guessing the planning of the ballpark represented a challenge to architects David Bowers and Steve Boyd. There is little more at the Goodyear ballpark site than, well, land. The site is next to a small commuter airport and Lufthansa training base, with the standard Arizona mountains and buttes in the background. Aside from housing developments on the other side of Estrella Parkway, there’s little else in the area past agricultural field. No context at all.

So it’s a little surprising how well Goodyear Ballpark works. With an emphasis on rough and natural materials, the ballpark features a unique three-story grandstand design, some curves reminiscent of Chain of Lakes Park, and intimate seating bowl where you’re never far from the action.

After a behind-the-scenes tour – thanks to Andrew Miller of the Indians – and attending several games, we came away with the following.