Brewing With Distinction (Brewers)

Trip Start Mar 07, 2012
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12
Trip End Mar 20, 2012


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What I did
Maryvale Baseball Park

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, March 17, 2012

Maryvale Baseball Park is the Cactus League home of the Milwaukee Brewers. With some 10,000 seats this complex is a spectators' park. It has excellent and unobstructed sight lines, a wide and expansive concourse and a large lawn or berm covering most of the outfield. It is a comfortable place to watch a game. Nothing fancy, trendy or avant-garde. Definitely a meat and potatoes park which appears to suit the Milwaukee faithful quite nicely.

The Milwaukee Brewers were playing the Texas Rangers, with a 1:05 pm starting time.

Maryvale has a reputation of being a relatively easy place to score tickets, even on the weekends. The Brewers do not seem to have either the sheer numbers or the fanatical following enjoyed by teams such as the Cubs at Hohokam Park in Mesa, the Dodgers in Camelback Ranch or the Giants at Scottsdale. This may be due to the magnitude of population centres or geographic location or simple logic. In 2012, the loss of prized first baseman, Prince Fielder to free agency may have discouraged a few of the Brewers' fan base but such is the vagabond nature of star baseball players. The Brewers, like the Pirates of Pittsburgh and the Athletics of Oakland, are 'small' market teams who are used to star players departing for the bigger pay cheques and bright lights of 'large' market clubs.

Tickets for Brewers games are listed from $8.00 to $22.00 and can be purchased from their website (brewers.com), the Maryvale box office or 800-933-7890. My ticket for this day cost $16.00 for a good seat overlooking third base (section 112, row V, seat 20 - an end seat). The better seating is higher up in sections 103, 101, 102 and 104. Rows of seating seem to go from A (on field level) to Z (better view but further from the players).

The ball park is very accessible along 51st Avenue. If approaching from the south, come off the I-10 and head north until Mitchell Drive. Then, hang a left into the parking lot. Coming from the north on 51st Avenue, turn at Mitchell.

There are 2,000 spaces onsite for parking. The cost is $6.00. Do not park in the shopping mall directly to the north of the stadium as you may discover that your vehicle may been ticketed and towed while you were enjoying that tender hotdog and second beer at the game.

The field of play faces northeast. The field dimensions are quite different from most parks and are certainly not symmetrical. From left to centre to right, the field measures: 350', 365', 374', 378', 400', 364' and 340'.

A dark blue  wall dominates centre field (approximately 25' in height and 50' in length) with a field line rising about 8 feet from the playing field. When one of the Rangers tagged a line drive off the wall just above the line marker, the umpires quickly ruled it to be a home run.

Concessions offer the usual ball park fare including a jumbo hotdog for $4.50, Island Noodles, Bill Johnson's B-B-Q, Kettle Korn, lemonade and other tempting goodies. The addition of an fine bratwurst at $4.50 and a tasty $4.50 Polish sausage made this a stadium where the food is both reasonable priced and abundant.

Given that this is a Milwaukee based haven, the choice of beer is quite diverse: Leinenhugel's, Gordon Biersch, Blue Moon plus the usual Millers and Budweiser offering.

When the wind roared through and the skies opened up with a much awaited desert rainfall after 3 1/2 innings, it was the Brewers 6, Ranger 4.

Observations:
-This ball park is a sound, practical and functional place; it does the job of providing a comfortable place to enjoy the game of baseball
-Maryvale has presence but lacks character and distinctiveness
-Vehicle access to and exit from is smooth, rapid and efficient
-There is good value for a ticket to this park as the food, soft drinks and beer is reasonable priced
-A good place to bring a family since the wide concourses and lawn offer plenty of things to do besides watching the game
-Since Maryvale is close to 'downtown' Phoenix, there are plenty of places to visit afterwards
-SunUp Brewery is not far off;  this micro-brewery is situated at 322 E Camelback Road, about a 10 minute jaunt to the northeast; it is quaint, offers excellent food at reasonable prices and a fine selection of beer; try the IPA and the coffee porter (yummy)
-For a different kind of experience but where good food and a diverse selection of drinks might be found, try Alice Cooper's Cooperstown; it is downtown, just across the street from both the Us Airways Centre (Suns basketball) and Chase Field (home of the D-Backs); whether you are an aging rocker, a would be air guitar player, a chilled out Generation Xer or wish to show your family what the "1970s were really like", this is a welcoming place for all with parking just behind by the railway tracks

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