Cactus League Stadiums – Cubs Park

I know it’s March Madness (Go Badgers!) but baseball players can have fun too with the the tourny and as we go into the final stretch before opening day 2014, I continue my Cactus League Stadiums reviews. I’ve already reviewed Diablo Stadium and Municipal Stadium but the Phoenix/Tempe area holds one more park that I have visited:

Cubs Stadium

    The newest of all Cactus League complexes and it can be classified as a Super Park among spring training diamonds. This park was made for the Cubs… literally… just read the stadium name. And it captures all of the unique characteristics of the Cubs real stadium, Wrigley Field. It has the ‘Wrigley style’ welcome to the ball park sign. It has the Budweiser 76 suite in leftfield which is supposed to give the rooftop experience to the fans. It has the old school Wrigley field clock. It even has bleacher seats (which probably come with the Wrigley drunks). This place is new, huge, and build in a great location.

    The stadium was built with fan comfort in mind. The lawn seat section is ginormous with a gentle slope which allows for plenty of fans to enjoy the game from the outfield. Almost the entire infield and outfield box seats are built with shade where rightfield has steel shaders above the seats and the rest of the box seating is shaded by the 2nd level of seats and press-boxes. The concourse area around the infield offers a lot of standing room with plenty of bar rails to set drinks and food on. There are party decks on the 2nd level of the concourse but are for party deck ticket holders only. And sitting along the 3B line offers a great look out to the mountains in the distance.

    There are drawbacks to the stadium. One being that it feels very, very large. You feel far away from the game and the players and it also leaves little interaction with the players other than the bullpens in left and right field which are 8-10 feet lower than the grass seats. The scoreboard is located in left field and seems distant from the field and small. I think it would be very difficult to see from anywhere on the right side of the stadium. But the stadium compensates for this a bit by including small box score scoreboards around the concourse. I mention the little interaction with players earlier but it seems like there is only a small section behind the home plate area for fans to collect autographs, which is difficult at the end of games when all the players are walking through and so many fans around.

    The Cubs moved from Mesa which is further East to the middle of Tempe/Phoenix. The area chosen for the stadium is brilliant. Easy access off of several interstates. The surrounding area is a small mall area with plenty of restaurants, bars, hotels, and food choices (look out for Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill). When you enter the parking lot, it feels as if you are going to buy a car because of all the dealers in the area. But the mall like setting isn’t even visible from the stadium and it allows for fans to enjoy some pre and post game fun without having to drive very far. I can’t really complain about this field other than it feels large and like you are removed from the game (and that the Cubs play there). But because of that it isn’t a stadium I really enjoyed watching a game at but I did enjoy walking around and seeing the various angles of the park. There are just other stadiums in the area that I really enjoy which I will be reviewing next.

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