From The East Side Of The Bay (Athletics)

Trip Start Mar 07, 2012
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Trip End Mar 20, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, March 16, 2012

Phoenix Municipal Stadium was built in 1964 as one of the first air-conditioned outdoor stadiums with evaporation cooling that came through the floor of the inner bowl. This feature has since been removed. Why? I do not know and,sadly, had neither the wits nor the awareness to ask.

Phoenix Stadium is exclusive home turf to the Oakland Athletics during the March madness of Cactus League baseball. Games start at 1:05 pm during the day and at 7:05 pm when a night game occurs.

This stadium seats around 10,000 fans but has no lawn or berm for those family members who wish to spread out their gear and enjoy the sunshine.

 However, Phoenix Stadium has stood the test of time rather well. It is an old style facility but is a comfortable and pleasing place to watch a Cactus League ball game. It is also a great place to bring a family since the games are affordable.

The Stadium has received several rounds of renovations resulting in a trim interior and good sight lines. It has a no-slip floor type finish on the steps in the permanent stands. The aluminium ones heading into the outfield beyond third and first base are not so lucky.

Tickets for an Oakland A's game run between $12.00 and $25.00. They can be obtained at the stadium box office or through the web at: oaklandas.com. I got a pip of a seat for $18.00 in sec B, Row 6 (second level), seat 14 (an end one). This seat looked directly down the third base line from home plate. If it can be avoided, do not purchase a seat in the stands in far right field. Read further down and find out why.

The A's played the Seattle Mariners at a night game starting at 7:05.

Located about 10 minutes drive northeast of Phoenix Sky Harbour Airport, this ball park is very accessible from Hwy 202 (curving along the west and the south) and more around about from Hwy 101 further east. Coming from the west on Hwy 202, taken the Van Buren exit and follow the road to the park. From the east, take McKellips Road and follow along. This is far more of an adventure since you may wind up at the Phoenix Zoo or on a green at the Rolling Hills Golf Course by taking an uncalled for jog. So, take Hwy 202.

Parking is directly across the street although I parked on a side road east of the stadium, having approached the park from the east. Parking was free since business traffic along this road was negligible as the clock read 5:45 pm. Apparently there is light rail access to the ball park provided the eager fan gets off at the Priest/Washington station and walks the next half mile.

From the stands of Phoenix Municipal Stadium, there is a great view of Camelback Mountain, a 2704' edifice to the north. Plus, with Pagago Park stretching out to the northeast, it is easy to get the feeling that you are somehow out in the countryside. Considering that Tempe is south and east, Scottsdale is northeast and downtown Phoenix towards the west, this is no mean feat. But, at night and under the stars, anything is possible through the power of an imagination.

The field of play faces northeast with two outcroppings and three large hills facing down the third base line. Field dimensions from left to centre to right are 345', 410' and 345'.

The seats between third to first base are plastic green with backs. Shade is very limited during afternoon games so book seats in sections A to M and above row 5.

The Scoreboard is located in right centre field and is of the classic traditional design favoured a decade or two previously. What was attractive about the scoreboard was its tidy nature and the clock sitting on top, projecting outward into the night. However, scoreboard numbers can be a bit of a challenge since they are small and not easily discernible. One significant problem with this scoreboard: if you are seated in the far right field stands, forget about being able to decipher the scoreboard.

A large green wall is prominent in centre field; it looked to be about 30' in height and 70' in length.

There are no bullpens so pitchers warming up get to do so along the first and third base foul lines.

Concessions include standard baseball park fare. Foot-long hotdogs sold for $6.00, regular sodas were $3.00 and beer cost $8-$10.00.

During an evening where the temperature remained in the mid 70s, the A's defeated the Mariners 6-1. Time of the game was 2 hours and 34 minutes.

Attendance was 9,100.

Observations:
-This is classic ball park but an old one
-Modifications would make this park more user friendly
-Staff and volunteers were friendly, helpful and good humoured
-A good place to eat and drink sodas but beer seems to be a bit more expensive
-With a good hat and sun screen, watching an afternoon game here might get a little uncomfortable
-The A's run a low budget operation but offer a good product for an evening game
-Four Peaks Brewing Company is not far away in Tempe on 1340 E Eighth Street if you want to have a great meal and enjoy a pint of Kilt Lifter, IPA or a splendid porter. Go in the mid-afternoon since the place gets really filled up by 5:00 pm. It is close to Arizona State University. Alternatively, head off to Pinnacle Peak Brewery on E Jomax Road in Scottsdale.

Blog entry 11 out of 12

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