|A Fan's Guide to Goodyear Ballpark|
|The Fan Experience|
Goodyear, located on the far western edge of the greater Phoenix area, isn’t the first place to come to mind when brainstorming for ideal spring-training locales. True, it’s growing like mad – the population rising from 18,911 in 2000 to an estimated 55,954 in 2007 – and many large businesses, including Lockheed, Macy’s and Lufthansa, have large-scale operations there.
And any city experiencing rapid growth in the Valley of the Sun sets their sights on one thing: spring training. For the Cleveland Indians, a spring-training match was made in heaven: the city is named after the Ohio-based tire manufacturer, and the firm had operations in the city for decades.
Besides having a growing population, Goodyear has two other things important to landing spring training: money and land. Both play out in the city’s spring training district, which features an 8,000-seat ballpark and training complexes for the Indians (already open) and the Cincinnati Reds (slated to open either at the end of this year or early next year, in anticipation of the team moving spring operations to Arizona in 2010). Once an entertainment/retail district is added to the mix—and we’re confident it will, despite some issues with the original developer, as there’s plenty of new development popping up along Estrella Parkway – you have the makings of a great spring-training atmosphere.
Goodyear Ballpark is a deceptively simple ballpark, even for a spring-training facility. The ballpark consists of a grandstand, seating extending down each line to the foul poles, wraparound concourse, concession booth as part of the batters’ eye, a large outfield berm, and a right-field party deck sitting on top of the clubhouses and batting cages. Within the grandstand’s main level are a team store, concessions and restrooms. As you can tell from the accompanying photos, the grandstand is a very vertical space, creating a nice little tension with the horizontal lines that so dominate the local landscape.