SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Scottsdale Stadium is about to start a new chapter in its storied history.
The Scottsdale City Council approving plans for a $50 million renovation to the ballpark. The City will pay $35 million. The Giants will add $15 million, with the Scottsdale Charros adding $2.7 million and the concessionaire, Arizona Sports Services, chipping in $2.5 million.
The work will be done in phases.
Phase one includes:
- a new clubhouse
- additional shaded areas for the Charros Lodge in right field
- upgrades to the main stadium entrance
- an expanded press box
- upgrades to the right field concourse.
Phase two improvements will be announced once phase one is underway. The new chapter begins in the spring of 2020.
The Baltimore Orioles first took the field in Old Town in 1956. The neighborhood looked a little different back then. The Red Sox arrived to train in 1959, with Ted Williams working out in the desert for the final two years of his career. The Cubs called the stadium home for a decade, with the A’s taking over in 1978. The Giants have used the facility as its Cactus League home for the last 35 years.
“I attended games in college,” said Cactus League president Jeff Meyer. “This is a photo most likely in the late 60s or early 70s when Leo Durocher was manager.”
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“The Cubs were here through ’78. Word has it on the street that this trailer, they would count the proceeds at the end of each game. Sometimes during the third or fourth inning and somebody would walk up to the top of the stadium here and give a thumbs up to Leo, saying, “Yep, we’ve got our proceeds so let’s keep playing the game.’ Lot of fun. Obviously, today is big business now, comparison to the humble beginnings of the Cactus League. Excited to partner with the Giants for last 35 years.”
Meyer’s affiliation with the Cactus League started as a Charro. The service organizations were the original ticket takers and vendors at the ballpark. These days they operate the Charro Lodge in right field, raising money for local charities. The Charros donated over $2 million to the Scottsdale School District and other initiatives this year.
“Spring training has become more of a business,” said Jose Leon, the Charros Baseball Chair. “It’s gotten more expensive but with that comes the opportunity to make an impact in the Valley business community, both here and in the Valley. And with what we do as Charros, giving back to the school district, the funds that we are able to raise here.”
Believe it or not, the Cactus League was once in danger of leaving Scottsdale. Stadiums needed an upgrade when Rose Mofford was Arizona’s governor. Arizona passed Proposition 302. Thirty years later the Cactus League generated $373 million gross domestic product, according to the W.P. Carey School of Business.
Some long for the old days though. Beer at Scottsdale Stadium is $14. You can still find the feel of the old days by choosing your games wisely.
“I grew up in Scottsdale and it was in the old wooden stadium and things were slow,” said Dennis Robbins, the Charros executive chair. “Now it’s turned into a huge business and entertainment. I think the Giants, City of Scottsdale and Charros try to do a good job price pointing. If you pick the right games during the middle of the week, you can find good pricing.”
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