The last decade saw plenty of changes in the 10 Cactus League ballparks and training camps, ranging from Salt River Fields and Sloan Park openings to extensive renovations at Peoria Stadium and American Family Fields of Phoenix. But that pace slows down in 2020, with the San Francisco Giants unveiling changes this spring.
We’ve detailed all these changes in our Complete Guide to Spring Training 2020 / Arizona.
After a decade of change in Arizona, we’re seeing a slight slowdown when it comes to spring-training camps and ballparks—at least for now. There’s always talk of ballpark improvements coming down the pike, whether it’s the addition of more shaded seating areas or premium experiences or a more extensive overhaul of fan facilities. Road improvements in Glendale will improve accessibility to Camelback Ranch to and from the north. And the folks who run Cactus League ballparks always have something new on the concessions front, whether it’s a new beer offering or a unique spring-training cap.
This spring will see one notable ballpark improvement: Year One of a two-year renovation of Scottsdale Stadium, spring home of the San Francisco Giants, with a new clubhouse and entry area on tap for 2020. Year Two will see more extensive renovations, including additional and upgraded seating, berm changes and more second-level shade.
Next spring will see another significant facility change: the Giants are in the midst of overhauling the old Papago Park training complex once used by the Oakland A’s before their move to Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium and the Lew Wolff Training Complex (formerly Fitch Park when the Cubs trained there) in 2015. If you spent any time at the Papago Park training complex, you will surely remember the thick coat of dirt that appeared everywhere and the design motif being green-painted cinderblock. It was not a comfortable place for fans to watch training or for players to actually train. The A’s certainly enjoyed a quantum leap in facilities when shifting from Papago Park to the Lew Wolff Training Complex.
The Papago Park complex was used for youth games and tournaments after the departure of the A’s, but it’s being revived by the Giants as the site of a new $50-million training complex. The renovations are part of player-development overhaul by the Giants, who are training in 2020 at Scottsdale Stadium and an Indian School Road facility before shifting to the Papago Park complex. That revamped complex will see the installation of six training fields—including one with new Oracle Park dimensions and one with old Candlestick Park dimensions—as well as a new training center with the state-of-the-art in equipment, including room for both minor- and major-league players, weight and therapy rooms, lounge areas, batting cages, bullpen mounds, meeting spaces and dining facilities.
The Giants are basically tearing down most of the old Papago Park complex to make room for this new facility: the old cramped clubhouse will go away, with a few of the old diamonds retained. For the Giants, a centralized training facility finally brings a unified approach to spring training and player development, with the team adding a second rookie-level development team as part of the upgrades.
In the Grapefruit League, there are two major renovations nearing completion: TD Ballpark, the Toronto Blue Jays spring home in Dunedin, and Clover Park, the New York Mets spring home in Port St. Lucie. We’ll be profiling each in coming weeks.
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