Goodyear Ballpark

The circumstances that made Goodyear Ballpark possible are similar to those that built Camelback Ranch. Both opened in 2009. Both are two-team facilities involving recent Grapefruit League exiles. And both are on the West Valley outskirts, where nothing is tall and the desert is endless. That’s where the similarities end.

Goodyear’s design is contemporary and unlike Camelback, doesn’t seek to be at one with the desert. Nor is Goodyear’s complex as prettily integrated as Camelback’s, with the separate team facilities two large blocks away from the ballpark.  Much of the area immediately surrounding the ballpark is undeveloped, but could be built up when the economy is good enough to pull the trigger. Perhaps that’s what came with the much lower price tag of $108 million, $50 million less than Camelback Ranch. If Camelback tries for authentic Sonoran desert feel, Goodyear tries to be more authentically Arizonan, with human input making its own mark. Not far beyond the complex to the east is the Phoenix Goodyear airport, home to an impressive aircraft boneyard. Camelback likes to be referred to as a campus, not a complex. Goodyear has no qualms about being the latter.

Other than the green grass and seats, the prevailing color scheme at Goodyear is gray and a dark, rust red. This makes sense because both Cleveland and Cincinnati have red in their uniforms, but darker to avoid any direct association. I entered from the the first base side instead of home plate, where a lengthy gate entrance aligned with the team store leads to the single concourse. One unique element of this ballpark is that the press/suite level is some 20 feet or more above the concourse, give the whole place a much more airy feel than many other Cactus League parks. It also isn’t very extensive, making the concourse even more open. The downside is that the press level looks rather disjointed and not unified. There’s a lot of unpainted steel used here, giving the place an industrial chic look. I would say that it works, except that everything’s so scaled down here that it almost disappears. That really just leaves the baseball game being played, which I suppose is just fine for most fans. It would’ve been cool to orient the field southeast so that the boneyard would be in view, but considering Camelback’s problems with that orientation and sun/shade, the traditional arrangement is probably for the best.

Besides the outfield lawn seating, there are huge flat lawn areas on either side, great for games of catch. Then the concourse abruptly meets its outer limit. Beyond the steel fences are plain dirt with no landscaping. I went to a night game, where the lacking view was saved by some clouds providing a great sunset and moonrise. It reminded me of West Texas.

At some point other stuff will come in to surround Goodyear Ballpark. For now it’s a rather lonely place, in and out. I didn’t see any distinctive food or beer options. If you’re a Reds or Indians fan coming in the morning to watch workouts, it’ll do fine. Other than that, Goodyear is a pretty ho-hum ballpark. The good thing is that there is room for improvement.

4 thoughts on “Goodyear Ballpark

  1. you going to make a topic about the a’s “new” home at mesa? saw a couple of pics and facts about the a’s plans for the faciilities but i guess until the renovations are done not much to talk or write about as of now.

    i think for fans and especially the players the move from phx to hohokam will be a upgrade.

  2. As I understand it the renovations just started last week at Hohokam… so there isn’t much to see just yet.

    As for Goodyear, I like the place, but something about it always seems a little off to me. It may be the predominantly grey steel/aluminum look it has that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s not a bad park, but it’s not the best the Cactus League has to offer either. That said it’s got fairly easy access despite its distance from the heart of Phoenix. Parking and ingress/egress is easy. And the boneyard is a particularly cool touch for a plane junkie like me.

  3. The worst is closest public transit is three miles away and none of the drivers could tell you the closest they get or know where the stadium is. Luckily for me I knew more than the locals. I was determined to get there to see the reds on a day where my friends were doing family stuff. But yeah the ballpark needs more around it and both goodyear and suprise should have trollies from one of the close by towns. Maybe more folks would show up .

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