Scottsdale Stadium enters golden years

A view of the Scottsdale Stadium is 1959 -- four years after opening. (Photo by city of Scottsdale)

A view of the Scottsdale Stadium is 1959 — four years after opening. (Photo by city of Scottsdale)

Everything around it has changed, but the diamond remains — an elegant construct of grass, sifted dirt and chalked lines.

Scottsdale Stadium just feels like home,” once wrote Gwen Knapp, a sports columnist who considers it one of the most iconic sports venues in the nation.

On Saturday, Nov. 21, Scottsdale Stadium turns 60 and everyone’s invited to the family-friendly party.

It’s only fitting that the stadium will host a game that day; the Arizona Fall League Championship Game’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:08 p.m.  The contest will be nationally televised by the MLB Network, streamed online by MLB.TV, and broadcast across the nation on satellite radio via MLB Radio Network, according to a press release.

Before and after the game, fans will be treated to interactive baseball activities, historic memorabilia displays and exhibits delving into the science of baseball.

Gates open at 12 p.m. and the first 500 fans into the stadium will receive a limited edition, 60th anniversary commemorative pin.

Fans will be able to earn free admission by bringing four cans of non-perishable food items to the game; the donations will go to support Scottsdale’s Vista Del Camino Food Bank. Without a donation, tickets are $6 for seniors and those 17 and under. Adult tickets are $8.

Scottsdale Stadium opened in November 1955 and could comfortably seat the town’s population of 3,500. The Baltimore Orioles became the stadium’s first spring training tenant a few months later, one of four teams in the fledgling Cactus League.

The Scottsdale Stadium today. (Photo by city of Scottsdale)

The Scottsdale Stadium today. (Photo by city of Scottsdale)

Today, Scottsdale has a population of about 228,000, the Cactus League has 15 teams and spring training is a multimillion-dollar industry, the release stated.

The San Francisco Giants made Scottsdale Stadium their spring training home in 1982 and continue to be its marquee tenant. The stadium was completely rebuilt on its original site in 1992.

Besides Cactus League and Fall League games, the stadium annually hosts dozens of sporting and special events, including soccer, rugby, date nights and food festivals.

Columnist Knapp is not alone in her praise for Scottsdale Stadium. Bleacher Report, the Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times and others have all rated it the best venue in the Cactus League, the release stated.

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