Peoria Sports Complex – Peoria Javelinas
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Peoria Javelinas Baseball
Editor’s Note: This review was written by Steve Ohnsman and Meg Minard in tandem.
The Peoria Javelinas are one of six teams to play in the Arizona Fall League, who play for a little over a month in October and November in various spring training complexes in the Greater Phoenix Area. The Javelinas play at the Peoria Sports Complex, which is home to the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners in the spring, and the AZL Padres in the summer.
Peoria Sports Complex opened in 1994, and is still one of the nicer spring training complexes in the Cactus League. The Padres and Mariners are both currently leased to use it through the 2034 season. In 2012, the Javelinas are affiliated with the Padres and Mariners, as well as the Reds, Twins and Phillies, who all sent some of their most highly touted prospects to play in the Arizona Fall League.
If attending evening games at Peoria Sports Complex expect to witness outstanding sunsets.
Food & Beverage 2
Peoria has only one concession stand open for AFL games right behind home plate. Since attendance for AFL games is very low compared to spring training, there is no issue with lines. There’s nothing special about the food, typical ballpark food and pricing that anyone would expect at a baseball game: hot dogs ($3 – $4), sodas – Pepsi ($4 – $6), and nachos ($4). The best value is the Peoria Special (hot dog, chips and small soda) for $6.
A new craft draft beer stand is near entrance and offers both tap and canned beers for $7 – $8 including local brewery Four Peaks.
Javelinas games are sort of unique when it comes to the baseball atmosphere. Since attendance is generally well below 1,000, it is a very peaceful baseball watching experience. The stadium itself is very easy on the eyes, and the field looks great. You can sit anywhere you want in the main stadium; the outfield lawn is closed off though.
The sounds of the game seem to be magnified with no one in the seats. The cracks of the bat, players calling for fly balls, calls by the umpire, you can hear it all. It’s a very different atmosphere than a typical professional game.
There’s also the choice of sitting right next to the field and dugouts in the sun, or sitting a few rows higher up and staying in the shade, depending on your temperature preference. Most games start at 12:35 local, so the sun is definitely out the entire game. The heat doesn’t get too bad though, but you are free to sit wherever and move around as much as you desire.
The scoreboard shows the name, number, position, minor league stats, and the MLB affiliate of each player, which is great for learning the players’ names that will likely be in the majors in the near future.
Be on the lookout for Danny, an older gentleman who is the bat boy and handles both dugouts. He averages 12 miles of walking each game. Some fans say Danny is the hardest working person in the AFL
Peoria Sports Complex is connected to the Arrowhead Entertainment District, which offers tons of shopping and dining choices, all right across the street from the stadium. There is a mall, the Arrowhead Towne Center, as well as a lot of restaurants on the outside such as: Texas Roadhouse, Famous Dave’s, P.F. Chang’s, Cheesecake Factory, and many others. Other restaurant recommendations are Chompies (New York Style Deli Restaurant) – great breakfast! and Leo’s Island BBQ (delicious Hawaiian).
A Harkins Theatre is just west of the main stadium parking lot, and an AMC theater is in the mall. And finally, there is an ice skating rink, AZ Ice Arena, just a couple blocks south on 83rd Ave.
For places to stay, several hotels are within walking distance of the stadium including a Residence Inn by Marriott, a LaQuinta Inn, and a Hampton Inn.
A good number of the people that show up to AFL games are scouts for all 30 MLB clubs, so there is minimal cheering and talking coming from behind home plate. The fans who attend are true baseball fans. It is easy make friends to talk about the rookie players and the play of game. Some chatter about spring training and the MLB postseason can also be heard.
Peoria Sports Complex is located just off of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Fwy at Bell Road. It is very easy to get to because it is so close to the highway. When you are on Bell, just make sure you turn south on 83rd Ave so you can get to the parking lot that is behind home plate.
Parking is free, and there is plenty of space in the parking lot. Only one men’s and one women’s bathroom are open, and they are both right behind home plate near the entrance. They are plenty big for the AFL crowds though and there are no lines.
The field and seating areas are not visible from the concessions area and one must walk through a small tunnel to get to the seats.
Return on Investment 3
All single game tickets for the Arizona Fall League are $9, $7 (seniors 55+ and children 3 – 17). Food and drinks range from $3 – $6 and parking is free. It certainly is a good deal for seeing professional baseball.
When you are going, remember that it is a developmental league, so some player that you want to see might not play for very long, or even at all. The AFL does a really good job of trying to give game notes couple of days in advance on their website so you can better plan when you want to attend especially if looking to watch a particular player.
Peoria Sports Complex has the best scoreboard in the Fall League as it not only shows the line score but provides information on the player at bat and is clear and easy to read.
Rosters are available at all AFL games for $1, and a special scouts package available for an extra dollar. That will help if you are trying to learn your favorite MLB club’s up and coming stars.
They also have the names of the AFL Hall of Fame inductees from the team up on the outfield fence so you can get a sense of the talent that has come through that particular team during the AFL’s 20+ years.
It’s also pretty cool that you can sit among the scouts and hear what they have to say about certain players, or just about something going on in the world of baseball. Definitely a great place to go if you are a die hard baseball fan.
Attending a Javelinas’ baseball game at Peoria Sports Complex is a baseball purist dream come true. If planning on visiting any Fall League venues, be sure to put Peoria on the list.
For additional information on the Arizona Fall League, please review A Fan’s Guide to Arizona Fall League.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
Chompie’s Restaurant, Deli, and Bakery
7700 W Arrowhead Towne Center #1145
Glendale, AZ 85308
Harkins Theater 18
16046 North Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr
Peoria, AZ 85345
La Quinta Inn & Suites Phoenix West Peoria
16321 N 83rd Ave
Peoria, AZ 85382
Comfort Suites Peoria Sports Complex
8473 W Paradise Ln
Peoria, AZ 85382
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