(Abbreviated review: Full review coming 2016. Wanted to save some in the Valley for next year, since I’ll be there)
March 5th, 2011: Infield Box
March 11th, 2011: Infield Box
By: Cole Shoemaker
While the newer Salt River Fields at Talking Stick may have outdone the Ranch overall, this is still the most attractive ballpark in spring training, perhaps in all of baseball.
I’ll never forget being stunned by the two-acre lake center field entrance, which looked like a resort more than anything else. The exterior setup overall is unlike anything in baseball. The interior is even better. The creative color scheme, with its rustic brown façade and caramel colored seats, is incandescently brilliant.
The clubhouses are positioned in a certain way allowing for views of the mountains and local landmarks, something lacking at the engulfing Salt River Fields. The berms are shallow and minimized to allow for an intimate viewing experience. The outfield walls don’t have ads, at least went I went, which was an amazing sensation that let the color scheme take over. The landscaping and concourse signage is still the most attractive in the Cactus League. Heck, even the scoreboard is aesthetically pleasing. My favorite part is how the decorative walls in the outfield are made of rocks inside a mesh wire, which not only contributes to the desert ranch theme, but is also cheap and environmentally friendly. Genius.
Functionally, the ballpark is obviously excellent as well. Wide open concourses, wide seats, lots of suites and multiple party decks, all that jazz. I want to keep it short and sweet for now.
Check out the photo gallery and come back in spring 2014 for a truly epic review!NEXT - Setting