February 27, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Let me take you down, 'cause we're going to Salt River Fields. Everything is real nice and something to write home about.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies new spring training complex, set on 140 green acres of Native American resort land called Talking Stick, appears to be worth every bit of the $130 million it cost to build. It already has been referred to as the "Ninth Wonder of the World," a "modern marvel" and the "Versailles of spring training facilities."
Both teams have said they liked training two hours southwest in Tucson, but where they're at now is the place to be. The Rockies have facilities down the right-field line, the D-backs have left field.
"This place is frickin' unreal," D-backs left-hander Clay Zavada(notes) said. "It’s better than a lot of big league places, you know? The quality of the playing field's even pretty nice. This has everything. They give you everything here.
"Like I told a couple of the other guys, if Walt Disney or Willie Wonka built a baseball complex, this would be it."
And if any team in the National League needed to punch a golden ticket and make a fresh start in a new place — the happiest place on baseball Earth? — the Diamondbacks would be a prime choice.
Arizona went 65-97 in 2010, firing the field manager and, later, the general manager along the way. Later today, I'll give you a look at where the D-backs stand. But for now, check out more of the ballpark.
The D-backs and Rockies stood shoulder to shoulder, respectively, just like opening day of the regular season. Only, at spring training, the lines stretch well beyond the bases. To infinity, almost. Not really.
Looks like a major league scoreboard in left, doesn't it? This is right before the D-backs rallied against the Rockies for a five-run ninth.
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The bullpen along the left-field line allows fans a rare bird's eye view — only from up close — of the relief corps. This is Daniel Stange(notes), who appears as though he's going to pitch from his glove hand. But he's just going through the motions.
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Huge concourse for spring training. Huge. Many of the 12,514 fans had scattered by the time I took this photo. One of the unique features for fans is a party deck behind home plate, above the media/suite level.
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With the Rockies trying to close it out, this guy's got the rally cap working for Arizona. Little help?
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It was lively after Paul Goldschmidt went deep for a score-tying three-run homer.
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Just like when Luis Gonzalez won the 2001 World Series!
Speak of the devil!
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The next time you're near Scottsdale, bring a blanket and sit on the lawn and watch a game at Talking Stick.