The baseball park in Maryvale is a quaint facility, decked out in the blue hue of its major league tenant, the Milwaukee Brewers.
Completed just in time to host Cactus League games in 1998, the ballpark has a uniquely simple look, both inside and out, and can hold up to 10,000 fans between its seats and large grass berm, although only half the five-figure capacity is needed for most games.
Lacking a classic exterior facade, the ballpark has three entrances but only one of them gets much foot traffic. That’s the main entrance, Gate A, which admits fans into the stadium down the right field line.
The sole ticket booth is located to the left of the main entrance, where the signature Maryvale Baseball Park sign was erected and rises well above the stadium to greet fans. That sign is built with the same wrought-iron, painted white, that gives the ballpark its most distinct interior architectural feature: the trellised roof that covers the concourse.
As unique as it looks, the trellised roof was built for more than just aesthetic purposes as it was designed and installed to cast shade over the upper half of the entire seating bowl. Shade is a rare, but welcome, commodity at Cactus League ballparks, and fans in Maryvale enjoy more sun relief than anywhere else thanks chiefly to the concourse’s clever roof structure.
The trellised roof also protects fans from foul balls and, because it permits light to pass through, gives the ballpark a completely open feel unmatched in the Cactus League.
No matter where fans are at within the ballpark, they have a view of the recessed playing field. The concourse encircles it and provides plenty of great standing room options, including directly behind home plate, where a large food court is found.
For fans that love the sun (and a cheap admission), the ballpark has an enormous grassy berm that encompasses the entire outfield and extends inside of both foul poles. The berm is steeply sloped in the outfield – no Cactus League ballpark features a greater incline – and fans of average adult height can stand directly behind the outfield wall and still see the field. Fans in the berm within the foul poles will find will themselves directly behind the bullpens (Brewers in right, visitors in left), allowing them up close access to the relief pitchers.
The mean seating bowl provides seats, all painted blue, for 7,000 people. Fans sitting between the dugouts get to enjoy traditional plastic molded seats; those sitting beyond must watch the game from less comfortable bleacher-style benches with seatbacks.
The ballpark is absent of luxury suites, but does include one of the sleekest looking press boxes you’ll ever see. The building that houses the team offices and clubhouses down the right field line mimics the wavy design of the elevated-by-thick-white-poles blue press box, which also serves as a sun blocker, and thus shade provider, to the prime seats behind the plate.
Fans sitting or standing anywhere have something to look forward to following the sixth inning. That’s when the Klement's Sausage Race occurs. The five famously costumed sausages enter the playing field from the gate behind the Brewers bullpen in right field and race towards home plate, just as they have been doing at Miller Park in Milwaukee since 2000.
Comfortable and clean, Maryvale’s baseball park is a very pleasant place to watch a ballgame. Although less fans usually come through its turnstiles than at any other Arizona ballpark in March that has more to do with the Brewers’ small fan base and lack of national appeal. The ballpark itself is a beaut.
Refreshing it its design, Maryvale Baseball Park lacks only the mountain vistas of its Cactus League brethren. But everything is fine within its confines.
The ballpark actually resides within the city limits of Phoenix, in the Maryvale neighborhood on the west side of Arizona's capital city. Located about two miles north of I-10 on busy 51st Avenue, the ballpark is surrounded by small residences and larger commercial development but is easy to find.
Maryvale is one of the older neighborhoods in Phoenix and was named after the wife of its developer, John F. Long, who donated the land the ballpark was built on. Over the years, the ethnically diverse neighborhood earned a reputation for criminal activity, but the area around the ballpark is safe, especially during the day when the Brewers play all of their games.
There are plenty of chain and fast food restaurants within eyeshot of the ballpark and you can even see its light towers from a nearby Walmart. Lodging options are far more scare, perhaps due to the area's notorious past, which may be why the Brewers team hotel has always been located in locales like Glendale and Tempe.
A large paved lot and decent-sized grass field are near the stadium. The charge to park in each is the same ($5) and between them there are generally far more spaces available than needed for the typical Brewers game crowd.
On the occasional days large crowds are expected the team operates an auxiliary lot at the strip mall just north of the stadium. The cost to park there is the same reasonable rate as the stadium's official parking lots.
|The protruding white trellised roof and steeply pitched green outfield lawn seating are signature features of the dually very shaded and sunny ballpark in the Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale.
Maryvale Ballpark History
Initially planned to be the anchor of a two team complex, Maryvale Baseball Park had to settle for one tenant after the White Sox ended up choosing to share a stadium in Tucson with the Diamondbacks. That meant the Brewers, lured away from nearby Chandler, would have the facility all to themselves.
Built on 56 acres of land donated by prominent local developer John F. Long, the Brewers' complex cost about $23 million to build and was completed in less than a year. The ballpark was designed by Ellerbe Becket, the same architectural firm responsible for the Diamondbacks' Chase Field, which also opened in Phoenix in 1998.
Owned and operated by the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, the Maryvale spring training complex features the main ballpark, five full practice fields and two half-sized practice fields. The Brewers began training here in 1998, which coincided with their move from the American to the National League.
Of all the teams in the Cactus League the Brewers are considered the least stable, as they are the only team training in Arizona without a long-term lease. The original 15-year deal the Brewers signed to train in Maryvale expired after the 2012 spring season. The team is now essentially tethered to Maryvale on just a year-to-year basis, as the renewal agreement the Brewers signed with Phoenix in 2012 only committed them to the complex for 2013-14. From 2015 through 2022, the Brewers have a series of one-year options to stay in the only training grounds the team has ever had as a National League franchise.
Brewers Spring Training History
The Brewers have trained in Arizona since their inception in 1969, when they were brought into the league as the Seattle Pilots and set up camp in Tempe. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee after one year and the Brewers relocated their spring training base in 1973 to Sun City, where they spent 13 years training within the famed retirement community.
Prior to their move into the Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale, the Brewers trained for a dozen years (1986-1997) in Chandler, where they played their games at Compadre Stadium, a pedestrian facility that lacked showers or toilets in the visiting clubhouse.
Of their three previous home spring training stadiums, only one still stands and that's the one the Brewers used longest ago -- Tempe Diablo Stadium, which is now used by the Angels and has changed dramatically since the Pilots/Brewers played exhibition games there.