Something New at the Ballpark This Spring

Opening Day, even Spring Training Opening Day is always filled with pomp and circumstance. There is of course the introduction of the players from both teams, that special rendition of the National Anthem with the requisite flyover celebrating the military. There is of course red/white/blue bunting hanging from anything in the stadium giving the ballpark a festive mood.

What is normally missed in all the excitement of Opening Day is the subtle changes that have been made to the stadium getting it ready for another season of baseball. For the regular season, there are always changes to Chase Field but what about Spring Training? Is there anything different at Salt River Fields?

PI-MLB-Diamondbacks-Salt-River-Fields-Spring-010914Let me start by saying even if there was absolutely no changes made to the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies it would still be the best facility in all of the Cactus League even with the opening of the new Cubs Park.

Some of that might be attributed to the fact that the Diamondbacks play the majority of their games at Salt River Fields but even more importantly it was perhaps the most thought out facility in baseball.

From the wide concourses and enclave areas for food vendors to keep traffic out of the way the little details make it one of the best places to watch a baseball game. Salt River Fields is not content to sit on their laurels. There are some changes for the 2014 season.

The concessions at Salt River Fields have always been a little unique with such items as Island Noodles and Crust pizza. Both of those are back and in fact have been expanded. Besides the booth on the first-base side, Crust now has a pizza tent on the third base concourse making it quicker for Diamondbacks fans to get a piece of pizza.

Island Noodles has also expanded from the tent on the third base side they add a similar tent location on the first base concourse right next to the Cactus Corn booth (which is back again this season thankfully).

This year Salt River Fields adds a Sonoran BBQ stand which offers beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, and a custom BBQ sauce bar. The brisket and pork sandwiches are both served as sliders meaning they are smaller and easier to handle. The sauces are exceptional and it will likely take several games to get through all of the choices.

For fans over the age of 21 there is a new Absolut Bar located at Section 210 that features four flavors of Absolut and a variety of mixers that allow the bartenders to create more than 100 different vodka drinks. There is a new Budweiser Bow Tie structure near left field that offers shade against the hot Arizona sun. They also offer several Anheuser-Busch products.

Speaking of sun, the lawn seats at Salt River Fields have a new sponsor – Banana Boat. Not only is there signage signifying this sponsorship but there are also stations of complementary sunscreen located at the top of the lawn area to help protect you from the harmful rays of the sun.

There is a new larger commemorative program available at the team shops and kiosks around the ballpark. The new program is larger in format and content than in years past and includes more photos and places to get autographs. The cost of the program is $2.

A couple of items of interest for upcoming games – March 6th the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales will be on hand for photos and will march along the warning track before the game with the Oakland Athletics. March 13th will be a zero-waste game with fans being asked to recycle. The Rawlings trailer will be on hand that game with the gold glove trophies for Gerardo Parra and Paul Goldschmidt. Fans will be able to have their photo taken with the statues.

As you can see there are a lot of new things available at Salt River Fields. If you have not had an opportunity to see a game this season, I suggest you make plans to catch this incredible stadium and enjoy spring baseball in style.

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