Thursday, March 12, 2015

Salt River Ballpark

Salt River at Talking Stick (I know, it’s a mouth full, which is why I’ll just call it Salt River), is a lot like Goodyear in that it is built in the middle of the desert...only nicer desert. This complex is near Scottsdale which, for those of you that don’t know the area, is the nicer part of the greater Phoenix area. The name kind of has an Indian ring to to it doesn’t it? That might be because it is the first MLB facility to be built on Native American land. And for those of you still mired in winter let me give you a quick weather report. It rained really hard just before I arrived in Phoenix and then the sun struck with a vengeance. The result is that EVERYTHING is blooming and giving anyone with seasonal allergies fits. That is why I only lasted 2 innings before I had to get somewhere to recuperate. Still time enough to see the ballpark and eat a dog. Nothing stands between me and the dog.

This ballpark rivals Sloan Ballpark for slickness and beauty. It has the best landscaping job of any ballpark I have ever visited. From the creek that runs in front of it to the tiered batter’s eye in center field that has a row of cactus or native plants in each row. The colors, structure and remaining landscape scream southwest and if you were kidnapped by aliens and then dropped off at the ballpark in the middle of the night, once the sun came up and you regained consciousness you would know you were in Arizona.

Frank-plump, delicious Ballpark frank-5
Toppings-only relish, onion and mustard-4
Price-$5 is not bad for that quality of a dog-4.5
Portability-ahhhhhh! the cardboard boat-3
It Factor-they have the Sonoran and a Salt River Dog to book as well as a few others-5

Location-somewhere remote-3
Access-if you don’t drive, you ain’t comin’-2
GA Ticket Price-slightly more than others 4.5
Ambiance-this ballpark would make a great replacement for either Oakland or Tampa; it is that nice-5
Fans-nice crowd that enjoyed the game-5

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability3GA Ticket Price4.5
It Factor5Fans5

An overall score of 51 is not the top of the pack but close. Location hurts this ballpark, but if you don’t mind driving to the middle of nowhere this is a great baseball venue with a tasty dog lineup. I highly recommend a game here. A special note that Salt River is the only ballpark I have noticed that has pump dispensers that dish out free sunscreen; excellent idea.

I was able to spend a few minutes with the General Manager of all things food at Salt River. Rob Brackett is a veteran of food service what starting waiting tables when he was 7 (his parents owned a restaurant). This Maine native runs a tight ship and is proud that there is not foil involved in food prep at Salt River; everything fresh. And the dude puts out a mean dog.

With its exquisite landscaping, Salt River holds the distinction of being the only ballpark I recommend for both baseball fans and horticulturists.

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