Progress Continues at Spring Training Facility

November 16, 2009 seems like an eternity ago yet it has been less than a year. The memories of that day are still fresh in my mind. The Arizona Diamondbacks had graciously invited me to the ground breaking ceremony for their new Spring Training Facility in Scottsdale.

On that day we stood on a large and spacious mound of dirt. They had marked out where the bases would be and there were architectural drawings to help those in attendance understand what it would look like when it was finished.

As we left that day it was difficult to understand how they would transform that wasteland of dirt into anything that would even loosely resemble a baseball field let alone a stadium and multiple practice fields.

Over the next several months I would make a note to travel up the 101 highway past the Spring Training site and check on progress of construction. Each time I would look out and see mounds of dirt that had been moved from one area to another but nothing that really resembled a Spring Training facility.

So when my brother called and invited me to his house I eagerly accepted. Not because I had a strong desire to visit my brother but it gave me an excuse to check out the progress at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my brother and his wife but hey we are talking about baseball here and since he’s known me his whole life he has to understand a guy has to have his priorities set right.

As we drove up the 101 Freeway towards Indian Bend, I immediately noticed that you could now see structure rising above the dirt. The steel light posts and other structure that will make up the Spring Training stadium is taking shape.

There are still mounds of dirt being moved and the adjacent property to the Spring Training facility is likewise under construction getting ready for the hoards of people that will make their way to the area next February and March.

It was rather difficult to get close enough to the site to really see what was going on. Most of the surface roadways were closed or under construction. This is likely the result of the proposed six or seven entrances to the area that will minimize traffic flow before and after the games.

I was finally able to skirt the construction and get near enough to take a few photos. What was most shocking was that the turf had already been laid on several of the Colorado Rockies practice fields on the south end of the property.

I was not prepared to see perfectly manicured green grass practice fields already in place. Although we visited on a Saturday there was a full crew of construction workers at various points in the property moving dirt, welding steel, and surveying areas.

I could not find a road that would allow me to get to the north side of the property where most of the Diamondbacks practice fields are located so I am not sure whether they are in the same state as the Rockies with fences and turf laid.

The buildings that will house the two teams and their training staff are still a ways away from being finished. It appeared that some exterior walls were nearing completion but it would be several weeks before everything was enclosed.

It will also be quite some time before the roadways and parking areas are to a point where traffic will flow smoothly around the construction site. But as soon as I say that it will be finished before you know it.

I was hoping the complex would be done by the first of the year so that the Diamondbacks would hold their annual fantasy camp at the new stadium. Unfortunately that is not going to happen so the 2011 Fantasy Camp will be in Tucson at Tucson Electric Park one final season.

Given the amount of progress that has been completed to date, I am going to have to find a lot more excuses to drive to Scottsdale if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity and make the off-season go by a little more quickly.

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