With training camps in full swing in a month, it’s time to look at the ballpark changes on hand for spring training 2019, which includes one major renovation and one new Florida ballpark—opening for a single game.
This season will have plenty of highlights on the facilities front, ranging from new college and MiLB ballparks to renovated MLB and MiLB facilities. The activity extends to spring training, as the continual upgrades to player facilities and the fan experiences will continue in February and March.
In fact, the two biggest developments in spring-training facilities will bookend spring training, with the Milwaukee Brewers unveiling upgrades to their Phoenix home in February and the Atlanta Braves unveiling their new home at the end of spring training in March. Maryvale Baseball Park is no more, as the team announced a new name, Brewers Fields of Phoenix, to go along with a renovated facility. The nicest parts of the old Maryvale will remain intact—the trellised, intimate seating bowl and the expansive outfield berm—but the rest of the complex is overhauled.
Renovations to the Phoenix spring-training facility began the day the Brewers broke camp in March and will be completed by the middle of February. The renovations include a new standalone, two-story building with new clubhouses, training spaces and support functions for the Major and Minor League teams, a new flagship retail store and a new primary ticket office at the new home plate gate. The north side of the building will be home to new concession stands and restrooms, as the first base concourse has been widened to accommodate better pedestrian traffic. A second floor includes new offices for baseball operations.
The complex also features a new entry plaza, renovated space for sports science and psychological services, an eight-lane batting tunnel, an agility field, new pitching and catching mounds, a high-performance practice field matching Miller Park’s dimensions, field improvements, a new scoreboard and much more. You can read more about the renovations here. A Feb. 12 ceremony will mark the opening of the complex, with the first game set for Feb. 26.
We’ll be doing a more detailed preview later, but the only new ballpark in spring training in 2019 is CoolToday Park, opening in North Port, Fl., for a single 2019 game in March 24, as the Atlanta Braves will spend most of spring training at Champion Stadium and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports (WWoS) complex at Disney World. The new spring training ballpark is expected to include 6,200 fixed seats, plus 1,000 berm seats. It will also feature some of the amenities found at many newer spring-training venues, including a 360-degree concourse and an outfield patio and bar area. For the Braves, it will be a huge shift from Wide World of Sports as a training site: instead of being one attraction in a rapidly growing complex hosting everything from pro baseball to amateur basketball and soccer to cheerleading and danceline competitions, the Braves will have control over their physical environment in southern Sarasota County, some 10 miles or so from Charlotte Sports Park, spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
One other change in spring-training facilities worth noting: Scottsdale is moving forward—albeit somewhat gingerly—with renovations to Scottsdale Stadium, spring home of the San Francisco Giants. While much more extensive changes to Scottsdale Stadium are being reviewed and budgeted, the city will move forward with a $80,000 installation of decking in the left-field berm and an extension of the corner concessions. The city has been working on a new master plan for the ballpark with the Scottsdale Charros and the Giants, which would feature more extensive renovations down the line.
For more information about spring training 2019, check out our sister site, Spring Training Online.
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