2017 Cactus League: Scottsdale Stadium sees record year in attendance

A view of Scottsdale Stadium in the heart of downtown Scottsdale just south of City Hall. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Spring training 2017 wrapped up several weeks ago and while the San Francisco Giants’ record was just above .500, Scottsdale Stadium had a banner year in attendance.

Stadium supervisor Jeff Cesaretti presented a recap of this year’s spring training at Scottsdale Stadium — spring home of the San Francisco Giants — and some of the statistics and improvements to the stadium throughout the spring season. Most of the improvements were paid for through capital project funds, Mr. Cesaretti explained.

The update came during a Wednesday, April 19 Scottsdale Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.
Mr. Cesaretti said the Giants hosted 18 games at Scottsdale Stadium this season, eight of those games selling out. The team drew a total attendance of 182,518 spectators this season, averaging out to a little more than 10,000 people per game.

These numbers ranked the Giants third among attendance behind the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park in Mesa and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

The Cactus League saw record-breaking attendance across the board not including games against college teams. In total, the league saw about a 40,000-spectator increase from its previous record set in 2015, according to a press release.

“We’re grateful for Major League Baseball fans who flocked to ballparks across Maricopa County this spring,” Cactus League president Jeff Meyer said in a release. “These numbers show that the Cactus League is as robust and popular as ever.”

As far as improvements, Scottsdale Stadium adhered to Major League Baseball’s recommendation to utilize metal detectors.

Mr. Cesaretti said the stadium was one of few that took the recommendation to heart and rented walk-through metal detectors as well as hand wand metal detectors.

He also said the Giants brought in some security guards to perform inspections at the gates of Scottsdale Stadium.

“That was a learning curve for us, but once we got moving along, everything went along smoothly,” Mr. Cesaretti said during the April 19 meeting. “The fans, I’m pretty sure, are accustomed to going through this process, security screenings, going into any professional sporting event nowadays. It was pretty smooth for the most part.”

The stadium also featured replacing backstop netting and extended it down to the dugouts on each side of home plate. Mr. Cesaretti said the MLB mandates these nets to stretch at least 70 feet from home plate and the stadium went beyond that minimum requirement.

“We did see a big difference with foul balls especially with, above the dugouts, where they are usually coming fairly quickly and we did notice many times where the balls were caught in the net,” he said.

The stadium also featured new wall pads because Mr. Cesaretti said they had passed their safety recommendation and needed to be switched out.

Stadium staff also completed a project that started when the stadium was renovated in 2005. The renovation brought metal grates to the trees and Mr. Cesaretti said staff replaced about a dozen two years ago and finished replacing them this year. Staff also replaced brick pavers with stamped concrete.

Staff also retrofitted its exterior lighting with LED lights, which should cut electricity costs between $10,000-$11,000 each year. Mr. Cesaretti expects those to pay for themselves in a little over two years.

The Giants also installed a 5,000-square-foot temporary structure during the course of spring training.

The team used about 3,000 square feet of the temporary facility for weight training, about double what it had before Mr. Cesaretti said. The Giants also used 1,800 square feet of the facility as a dining area.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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