|Capacity||8,000 fixed seats, 500 premium seats, 1,600 berm seats, 400-seat party area, 6 suites|
|Dimensions||345L, 410C, 345R|
|Ticket Prices||To be announced|
|Tickets on Sale||Thursday, Dec. 1, at 10 a.m. MST — online only|
|Ticket Web Site||indians.mlb.com|
|Address||933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear, AZ 85338|
|Directions||Goodyear is located in the southwest corner of the greater Phoenix area. From I-10, take Estrella Parkway South. Continue on Estrella Parkway; you’ll see the ballpark on your left after you pass Van Buren.|
Cleveland Indians Spring Training: Ohio in the Desert
Goodyear, located on the far western edge of the greater Phoenix area, isn’t the first place to come to mind when brainstorming for ideal spring-training locales. True, it’s growing like mad – the population rising from 18,911 in 2000 to an estimated 55,954 in 2007 – and many large businesses, including Lockheed, Macy’s and Lufthansa, have large-scale operations there.
And any city experiencing rapid growth in the Valley of the Sun sets their sights on one thing: spring training. For the Cleveland Indians, a spring-training match was made in heaven: the city is named after the Ohio-based tire manufacturer, and the firm had operations in the city for decades.
So the historical ties between Goodyear and Ohio made a spring home for the Indians — and the Reds in 20010 — a natural.
Goodyear Ballpark is a deceptively simple ballpark, even for a spring-training facility. The ballpark consists of a grandstand, seating extending down each line to the foul poles, wraparound concourse, concession booth as part of the batters’ eye, a large outfield berm, and a right-field party deck sitting on top of the clubhouses and batting cages. Within the grandstand’s main level are a team store, concessions and restrooms. As you can tell from the accompanying photos, the grandstand is a very vertical space, creating a nice little tension with the horizontal lines that so dominate the local landscape.
The vertical grandstand features some of the nicest spots to watch a Cactus League game. On the second level are a smaller press box and six suites. The suites are nontraditional, more akin to a party zone than anything else. The only permanent fixture in the suite is a half-moon-shaped bar in the middle of the space, perfect for a group standing around and watching a game. A garage-door style set of windows can be opened to a table and chairs set up on the patio. The feel, we expect, will be that of a casual gathering, with groups circling the bar and watching the game from the inside of the suite. The suite layout is a nice touch for the spring-training feel.
On the top floor of the grandstand is a large group area. It can be sold in different ways – for larger or midsized groups, or as a general party area when nothing else is going on. The view of the field is great, as is the view of the surrounding area: you can see University of Phoenix Stadium in the distance.
The 400-capacity right-field party deck, where some all-you-can-eat events are already planned, should prove to be one of the more popular party areas in the Cactus League. It’s a nice, defined space with a good view of the action and a great vantage point for watching players come and go. (Keep in mind the Indians’ dugout is on the first-base side and the Reds’ will be on the third-base side.) The massive bar is on wheels, allowing the space to be reconfigured for different events.
Kids will be very welcome at the ballpark – and that’s not always so in spring-training facilities. A Wiffle-ball field in the right-field corner will provide a welcome diversion to kids bored with baseball, and a large open area in the left-field corner will be a good place to run around. There’s room on the berm for 1,600 or so, and we’re guessing a lot of families will be bringing the blankets and hunkering down for the day.
The Indians are moving from Chain of Lakes Park, a classic Florida baseball venue.
Spring Training History
The Cleveland Indians have trained in the following locations: Cleveland (1901); New Orleans (1902-1903); San Antonio (1904); Atlanta (1905-1906); Macon, Ga. (1907-1908); Mobile, Ala. (1909); Alexandria, La. (1910-1911); Mobile, Ala. (1912); Pensacola, Fla. (1913); Athens, Ga. (1914); San Antonio (1915); New Orleans (1916-1920); Dallas (1921-1922); Lakeland (1923-1927); New Orleans (1928-1939); Ft. Myers (1940-1941); Clearwater (1942); Lafayette, Ind. (1943-1945); Clearwater (1946); Tucson (1947-1992); Winter Haven (1993-2008); Goodyear (2009-present).
The new ballpark was built for the Indians and the Reds and opened in 2009.