A’s plan spring training move to Mesa

In April the A’s and the City of Phoenix were set to extend a lease at Municipal Stadium and Papago Park, assuming that the parties could figure out a way to pay for around $10 million in improvements. Unfortunately the deal fell through, which led to discussions with neighboring Mesa, where the Cubs are building a new, $99 million facility on the west side of town to replace HoHoKam Stadium (ballpark) and Fitch Park (training facility). The A’s would move into HoHoKam/Fitch after the Cubs leave in 2014.

It’s terribly unfortunate that the A’s and Phoenix couldn’t come to some kind of agreement. Muni is the most transit-accessible Cactus League facility and it has a ton of parking around it. The Phoenix Zoo is within walking distance, and the views of Papago Park beyond the outfield are excellent. HoHoKam’s best attribute is its size, with a capacity of 12,623 (nearly 4,000 more than Muni). It also has a berm in the outfield, a feature never built into Muni.

By 2016, Valley Metro will extend its light rail line to downtown Mesa, putting it roughly 1.5 miles from HoHoKam. It’s unclear what improvements would be needed or requested by the A’s to move to HoHoKam/Fitch. With the A’s leaving Muni for good, only one Cactus League team will remain within Phoenix city limits, the Milwaukee Brewers (at Maryvale). The Brewers may leave Maryvale at some point because the neighborhood is a bit sketchy. That would leave Phoenix with zero Cactus League sites, which is strange considering how big the city is.

20 thoughts on “A’s plan spring training move to Mesa

  1. Great move for the A’s! HoHoKam is far and away a nicer more modern ballpark being only 20 years old as opposed to 45 like Phoenix Muni. And more importantly it has everything one would expect from a modern spring training venue including berm seating, bigger seats, and a video board.

  2. I’ve also been to both and HoHoKam is a lot nicer… neither is on a par with the best new ones. Papago was a great site for a training facility, they’re going to miss that and the central location. At least they’re staying on the west side, Phoenix’s east side is very depressed, the traffic crawls on overstressed surface streets, and you kind of feel sorry for the players stuck out there.

  3. from what i’m reading hohokam park is just over a dozen years ago as it was completely rebuilt and opened for spring training of 1997 for the cubs. agreed that the a’s need a modern complex as a whole as phx muni is i think the oldest park and although some may love the charm of old time baseball, the a’s needed a new venue as features for both the fans and especially players were sub standard compared to these palace caliber complexes buiit in recent years like the one that col/arz are sharing.

    do love that there will be outfield bleachers and even a lawn area beyond the outfield wall for fans which phx didn’t offer although the panaramic view made up for some of that.

    quite fitting that in 2015, could be a whole new era for a’s baseball and the franchise could be moving into a new complex for spring training and then also moving into cisco field in a few months later in downtown sj.

  4. from what i’m reading hohokam park is just over a dozen years ago as it was completely rebuilt and opened for spring training of 1997 for the cubs. agreed that the a’s need a modern complex as a whole as phx muni is i think the oldest park and although some may love the charm of old time baseball, the a’s needed a new venue as features for both the fans and especially players were sub standard compared to these palace caliber complexes buiit in recent years like the one that col/arz are sharing.

    do love that there will be outfield bleachers and even a lawn area beyond the outfield wall for fans which phx didn’t offer although the panaramic view made up for some of that.

    quite fitting that in 2015, could be a whole new era for a’s baseball and the franchise could be moving into a new complex for spring training and then also moving into cisco field in a few months later in downtown sj.

  5. Interesting… I wonder what the Brewers will do (I had pictured them teaming up with the A’s on a dual-team facility at some point, but now I’m not so sure.

    Nice move for the A’s though, I was surprised about the Cubs ditching HoHoKam because it is still a nice facility. Muni isn’t nearly as good, although it does have a Lost in Space charm about it that will be missed.

  6. I think the Brewers ultimate plan was to build a new facility elsewhere as it’s the neighborhood around Maryvale more than anything that they object to right now (and now that the A’s have beat them to the punch on HoHoKam). There were rumors of another Grapefruit League team looking into the western move like the Dodgers did a few years ago. Maybe that’ll end up being the answer, the Brewers partner with the incoming team to make it happen out on the Gila indian reservation where they were offering space for a facility. That would leave the A’s and Angels as the last two teams playing at single team facilities.

  7. I love Phoenix Muni and am really bummed about this. Despite it’s age it has held up quite well. I loved the hike between Muni and the Papago facility. Also further from Honey Bears BBQ.

  8. It had it’s charm and will be missed, but Phoenix Muni was the Coliseum of the Cactus league with alot of the same issues. Boring 60’s stadium made of all concrete with no character in the stadium itself beyond the view, that was pretty small by Cactus League standards and lacked most of the modern touches like video boards and grass berms, club style seating, etc… It’s deficiencies were made that much more apparent after the last two new facilities opened at Camelback Ranch and Talking Stick with the latter being so elaborate it would make a half decent full time home for the A’s compared to where they are forced to play today. And as nice as the scenery around it was, Papago Park as a facility was a toilet from my understanding. Leaky pipes, crumbling infrastructure, etc…

    Glad they’re moving into a park that’s at least on par with the other “mid level” nice facilities at places like Peoria, Surprise and rebuilt Tempe.

  9. Actually the Brewers option may be more obvious than I realized. The Cubs are building a whole new 100 million dollar facility. Wouldn’t it make sense to combine forces with another team like the Brewers on it?

  10. @Dan – The Cubs are the biggest draw in the Cactus League and they are positioning their new facility as Wrigleyville West. They have enough leverage that they don’t have to share with anyone.

  11. “Coliseum of the Cactus league” says it all.

    All hail the Cubs, kings of Spring Training.

  12. I have been to both Phoenix Muni and HoHoKam more than once and I think Muni is the better park. The game day experience at Muni is a lot of fun. It has a lot more character than HoHoKam Stadium and is a perfectly fine venue for Spring Training. Some of the newer parks are quite nice, but that does not make them better per say. Afterall I am there to see a baseball game, not marvel at the fact that there is a grass berm beyond the outfield or newer concession stands. Papago Park is also better than Fitch Park for the practice fields.Hopefully another team will move into Muni, after the A’s leave

  13. If this happens, it will be good for the A’s. I will miss the ease of access and locale of the Muni but a new venue is sorely needed. The college and sinlges crowds attend alot of spring training games these days. If you don’t have party zones or grassy hills to help attract the young adults, you won’t sell as many tickets as the competition. Just being able to walk completely around the park is a huge plus. Too bad it couldn’t be done in Phoenix.

  14. i think this has to do more with player comfort than possibly fan comfort. comparing muni to hohokam for players isn’t even close from locker room size to just player amenities in the training complex.
    ….
    also for somebody whos been to both, here are a reviews and this guy basially said PHX Muni ranks near the bottom of all the spring training sites in arz.
    ….
    http://www.ballparkreviews.com/phoenix/municipal.htm

    http://ballparkreviews.com/mesa/mesa.htm

    if there are arguement one could relate this to the coliseum as it is now to a potential new park although hohokam wouldn’t come near close to what cisco field will likely be being it’ll probably be one of the last baseball only parks to be built in this country for many decades to come and you gotta think they’ll put a ton of bells and whistles in it.

  15. If the A’s move away from Phoenix Stadium I will stop being a fan of the team.

    Also: Get off my lawn!

  16. OT: check out today’s Merc. Nice field-level suites being added to the Quakes SSS. Suites being added due to demand, requests from fans and the business community. Hmm? I wonder if there will be demand for suites at Cisco Field? Speaking of which: RM, why not incorporate this field-level concept at Cisco Field? Perhaps somewhere down the left/right field lines?

  17. Hecanfoos, what does which Phoenix Area stadium they play at have to do with you being a fan of the team? Phoenix Muni is THAT important to you? It’s an aluminum grandstand with poor seat placemetn and no roof. What’s so great about it?

  18. I think he was poking fun at Oakland only fans.

  19. I hope they don’t tarp off 4,000 of the seats!

    I’m sure the A’s have their reasons, but I’m a bit disappointed they are considering this move. Whenever I go to Spring Training, it’s usually with Giants fans, so it’s nice that Muni is a pretty short cab ride from Old Town Scottsdale, where we normally get our hotel. I guess HoHoKam is only another couple of miles or so away, though.

  20. I hope if the A’s move to HoHoKam they’ll keep the Chicago-style hot dogs they serve there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s