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Cactus League Stadiums – Diablo Stadium

We continue the review of the Tempe/Phoenix area stadiums. The second stadium, Diablo Stadium, is about 5 miles to the south of the first stadium I reviewed, Municipal Stadium.

Diablo Stadium – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim??? of California???

Diablo Stadium

    I’ll be honest. This stadium is a bit blurry in my memory. I know some of the guys will say its because we hit up a local OTB/Bar early in the morning and then had cab races, but I’m going to blame it on my visit being two years ago. The first thing you will notice about this stadium when you walk up to it is the amazing front entrance. It looks and feels like a professional MLB park. But after that, it’s hard for me to get too excited about this park. The games are typically packed as well do to the close proximity to Los Angeles which gives easy access to weekend trips to baseball games. So you may want to try to get in a weekday game at this stadium.

    Like most of the other Cactus League stadiums, there is lawn seating at Diablo Stadium. The problem with the lawn seating is that it is only in left field which makes it crowded and sometimes sold out. The rightfield foul line has bleacher style seating but I can’t vouch for how comfortable they are. And for the most part, the concourses are open but are more narrow than some of the other stadiums. Once you get near home plate, the concourses are covered which provides some shade for fans with pasty white skin. The open areas of the concourse allow for views of the surrounding foothills, but business always trumps nature and there are several office buildings too close for my liking.

    If you want to get close to the players, stick to the leftfield lawn seats along the foul line and the right field foul line bleachers. The bullpens are located here out on the field but the seats are so close it almost feels like you are in the bullpen. And because you can get so close, you can have conversations with the players and easily snag game balls from them.

    The surrounding area has a lot to be desired as well. There is plenty of parking and is typically well policed to allow for quick entry and exit. Another option is to park further away and take one of the many peddle cabs outside the stadium. As mentioned earlier, there are more office buildings than anything. You can find plenty of options of fast food in the nearby blocks, but if you are looking for a sports bar or restaurant, get ready for a drive. The expressway is right by the stadium, so getting to other locations in the city is easy. Perfect for going to a different game.

Cactus League Stadiums – Municipal Stadium

As I begin my reviews of the Cactus League Spring Training Stadiums, we start with the three teams located inside the Tempe/Phoenix city limits. These three teams are within 5 miles of each other which makes it easy to see many games during your stay without requiring a vehicle.

Munincipal Stadium – Oakland A’s

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Phoenix Municipal Stadium

    We start with the Stadium in downtown Tempe. If you haven’t been to this stadium yet, you probably never will. This season was the last scheduled season for the stadium to be used by the Oakland A’s since they are moving to a different stadium in 2015. You can feel disappointed but most may call you lucky. I actually enjoy this stadium (but I am also the size of a thirteen year old). It’s quaint, it has some great views, it’s very open, and there really isn’t a bad seat. But it does have some pitfalls. It’s missing newer amenities, the seating is very tight, there are no outfield seats, and there is no shade.

    I like the coziness the most about this stadium. It feels like you are sitting on the field with the players. The coziness also allows for a stadium without a bad seat in the house (with the exception of sitting behind one of the light poles). Most of the seats are bleacher style seats which means you are most likely sitting on your neighbor if the game is packed. But I have met a lot of interesting and neat baseball fans while sitting on their laps at Municipal Stadium. We like to play ‘Pass The Cup‘ at games and have had plenty of strangers join in at this stadium.

    One of the downsides to this stadium is that there are no outfield or grass seats. That doesn’t mean you can’t get cheap tickets here, but it does mean there is no sun bathing for you or others (male or female, whatever you are in to). No outfield seats leads to a lot of advertising in the outfield but it also opens up the outfield to amazing views of the Arizona mountains and deserts (even though it’s downtown). What also helps with the views at this park are the very open concourses. A lot of the other stadiums have covered concourses or second level seating, but this stadium is completely open with nothing ever blocking the view of the fields (except the light poles… again). But this also has a drawback because even though you can’t sunbath in the outfield, you can bake your knees and shoulders in the hot sun while sitting on the bleachers with no shade.

    Also with the older and open design, its easy to find players, GM’s, owners, announcers, etc. I can still remember seeing Billy Beane in is personal box suite directly behind our seats. And if you want an autograph or game ball, make sure you sit further down the left or right field foul lines by the bullpens. They are directly on the field similar to Wrigley which allows you to talk to players and get game balls from them. One of the other benefits of this stadium is that its directly off the light rail public transportation. This allows you to ride to the stadium with a lot of other fans (which may lead to trash talking each other), avoid the hassle of parking (which if I remember, is not fun at this stadium), and you get a ride back to downtown Tempe where you can walk around ASU campus, streets, shops, and bars.

    Again, I’m sad to see this stadium taken out of the rotation but if’s time for every team to get a baseball super park.

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