Just back from Arizona

Reds Spring Training in Goodyear, Arizona
Top 5 things I loved about Goodyear Ballpark

(Note: Some of my photos are linked in my list but click here to check out the entire gallery.)

5. Very easy to get in and out of the parking lot and back on the road. Especially compared to the Dodgers’ game we went to at Camelback Ranch (in Glendale), which was a complete nightmare. It took an extra hour to get to the park when we were 1/2 mile away, and it took about an hour to get out of that parking lot afterward. Goodyear, on the other hand, was a breeze getting in an out of; I know there was a difference attendance-wise that accounts for some of it but Goodyear’s access to parking area just seemed laid out much better.

4. Re-entry to ballpark possible. Sure, this may seem like a minor detail, but the parking lot is so close that it makes sense to take souvenirs you’ve purchased before the game to the car if you don’t want to lug them around with you for the rest of the game. And they’ll give you a hand stamp and allow you to re-enter the ballpark if you wish to go to your car, smoke, run to Wal-Mart or whatever – which a lot of parks won’t do.

And if you think “re-entry possible” is way too weak a No. 4, they’ve got a really nice scoreboard. So you can consider that an alternate No. 4.

3. Huge field (just beyond the table where George Foster was signing autographs) on the first base side where you can toss, run around, whatever. Again, you might think it’s silly to want to have a catch when you paid however much to come watch a game, but it’s great for before or after the game and/or playing catch with a young child who may be bored or need a change of scenery.

2. A lot of shade. If you’ve been to Spring Training in Florida or Arizona, you know that a lot of these ballparks offer very little shade. We had some kickass seats behind home plate that were somehow in the shade for the entire game! And there’s an enormous canopy on the third-base side that a lot of these types of ballparks lack that keeps most of sections 106 and 107 in the shade throughout the game.

1. Fat Tire on tap! That’s right. If you are a fan of the beer, you know what a big deal this is. You can’t even buy the stuff in Ohio, not even at Jungle Jim’s (though I’ve heard it’s finally gotten as far east as Indiana). But you can get a Fat Tire draft at Goodyear Ballpark. AND (this I was impressed with too) there are places where you can stand – just above the reserved sections pretty much all the way around – and set your beer, margarita, soft drink or whatever.

Oh, and if you’ve never had a Fat Tire, it’s pretty outstanding.

3 disappointments

1. Well, attendance. Ouch, I know, and this is the only disappointment I’ve got that’s a thorn in the side of the Reds.

We saw the Giants and Angels on Friday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium; it was very sold out and it was basically a huge party in the lawn area. Lawn tickets are $16, and there were people there who had no idea whatsoever there was a ballgame going on; it was basically a $16 cover charge for them and they were there to socialize. Fun atmosphere out there, if you don’t mind that they weren’t exactly hard-core baseball fans.

Saturday we saw Dodgers-Mariners at Camelback Ranch and it was WAY sold out. TONS of Dodgers fans. But I don’t know why those fans didn’t make the trip to Goodyear the following day to watch their Dodgers again. It’s not like Goodyear is that far from Glendale. But Goodyear Ballpark had entire sections that were empty. Announced attendance was 6,970 (capacity is 10,300). On an absolutely GORGEOUS Sunday afternoon. Couldn’t ask for a better day. I don’t get why Goodyear isn’t drawing bigger crowds like other parks.

2. Surprisingly long lines for concession stands considering the attendance. Line going out the door for the team store behind home plate (which I’m sure is a good thing for the club/park that fans are checking out the merch) and for a couple of the concession stands, including one behind home plate where people must’ve waited at least 1/2 hour in line during the game. Which we’ve all unfortunately done during a ballgame but it was definitely the type of line I try to avoid. If I were standing in line for a hot dog, I could’ve missed one or more of the 11 times Reds’ batters struck out Sunday afternoon.

3. You may know what the name of the exit is (Estrella) where you’re supposed to get off to get to the ballpark, but that doesn’t mean there’s a sign when you reach that exit. Everything in Goodyear is so new that they haven’t even got proper signage on I-10 all the way out there. We passed up the unlabeled exit and had to turn around at the next exit, right after a weird, huge cardboard cutout of a baby next to a a tractor in a field. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to snap a photo but this link has a photo and proves others have been fascinated/puzzled by it.)

4 Comments

  1. DanNo Gravatar

    That baby cut-out is so weird!

  2. D.NelsonNo Gravatar

    Yes that beer has made it to Indiana.

  3. doofyNo Gravatar

    you guys know april fools day isn’t until thursday? well, can i at least have some of those swell buttons since you’re shutting down the blog? …………………

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