With full squads hitting the workout fields and exhibition games beginning at the end of the week, spring training is upon us. This year’s noteworthy renovation: American Family Fields of Phoenix, spring home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
After years of examining options for a new or renovated facility elsewhere in the Valley of the Sun, Brewers ownership decided instead to revamp Maryvale Baseball Park. The only spring-training facility in Phoenix proper, Maryvale Baseball Park (which opened in 1998) had been surpassed by other training camps both in terms of fan and player amenities, so some level of change was necessary. The Brewers went the community route, pitching the renovations as an investment and bringing in the likes of Grand Canyon University as partners.
The result is a renovated facility that kept the best parts of the complex—namely, the ballpark’s trellised seating bowl and expansive berm—while making over and expanding the workout areas and clubhouses, adding a performance center and larger team offices. Over the years Maryvale Baseball Park had turned its back on the surrounding area; the new American Family Fields of Phoenix literally opens its doors to Maryvale with an expanded concourse and entry area. Here’s what’s new at American Family Fields of Phoenix, according to architect HKS and contractor Mortenson:
- The new 106,298 gross square foot clubhouse includes baseball operations, sports medicine and psychology and executive office spaces.
- Baseball operational facilities are doubling in size: previously, Major and Minor League buildings were separate; now, the 82,000-square-foot expansion combines Major and Minor League operations under one roof.
- Sports medicine and psychology spaces, and executive offices total 24,000 gross square feet.
- Additionally, visitor and commissary spaces total: 6,606 gross square feet.
- The third base concourse has been replaced with new ticketing, fan concessions, back-of-house offices and restrooms.
- A new player agility field as well as an expansion of one of the half-fields into a full-size replica of Miller Park, allowing the players to practice on a field that mirrors the feel and dimensions of their regular season home.
Other upgrades to American Family Fields of Phoenix include new player clubhouses, executive offices and many fan-centric features: a more welcoming main gate entrance to the park, fixed seating to replace metal bench seating, widened concourses, a flagship retail store and practice diamonds designed so fans can watch their favorite players in an up-close and intimate setting.
The Brewers are chiefly responsible for the approximately $60 million in renovation costs; the city is allocating $2 million per year over the next five years and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority will contribute roughly $5.7 million.
We’ll be at American Family Fields of Phoenix next Monday and post an in-depth first look to Ballpark Digest on Tuesday.
The American Family Fields of Phoenix renovation is the only major 2019 project among Cactus League spring-training facilities. In the Cactus League, discussions about upgrades to Scottsdale Stadium, spring home of the San Francisco Giants, continue, with some small changes on tap for 2019.
In the Grapefruit League, there is one new facility opening — kinda. The Atlanta Braves will spend most of spring training at Champion Stadium at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports before ending the season with a March 24 game at CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida. The team will shift Florida operations to the new Sarasota County facility at the end of spring training.
Meanwhile. a renovation of Dunedin Stadium and the Bobby Mattick Training Center at Englebert Complex is already underway. The Blue Jays have closed off the Englebert Complex to fans because of construction, and the ballpark is slated to be shut down at the end of spring training to allow for extensive renovations. (Pending final approval, the Dunedin Blue Jays will be playing a partial home schedule at what’s left of Clearwater’s Jack Russell Stadium while Dunedin Stadium is being renovated.) A planned $57 million renovation of First Data Field and the adjoining training camp was approved by St. Lucie County Commissioners this morning, ensuring that New York Mets spring training is retained through at least 2042. A potential renovation of Spectrum Field and the Carpenter Complex is still under discussion, as is a potential renovation of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium and the adjoining training facilities.
For more information on the state of spring-training facilities, check out our sister site, Spring Training Online.
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