Surprise Stadium- Surprise Saguaros

by | Nov 17, 2018 | Baseball, Meg Minard, MiLB, Steve Ohnsman |

Fanfare Score

Total Score
2.57

Crowd Score

Total Score
2

 

Saguaros in Surprise

Editor’s Note:  This review was written by Steve Ohnsman and Meg Minard in tandem.

Built in 2002, Surprise Stadium has been the spring training home for the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals since it opened. The stadium is part of the Surprise Recreation Campus in Surprise, AZ which is in the very northwest corner of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. The stadium has a capacity of 10,714.

In the fall, the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League call it home. The Arizona Fall League (AFL) is an instructional baseball league held in Arizona during the months of Oct and Nov for select rookies from all major league team affiliates.  The intent of the league is to give athletes additional playing time to further hone and develop their skills in their attempt to play longer and make it to the major leagues.

In 2018, the Saguaros are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers and St Louis Cardinals  Affiliations can and do change over the years.

Food & Beverage 2

Food offered at Saguaros games are hot dogs, bratwurst, polish sausage, nachos, popcorn, peanuts ($3 – $5).   Beer choices include Bud, Bud Light, Busch, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada and beer prices range from $5 – $10. One concession stand is open behind home plate and the lines are never too long. Coca-Cola (as well as Dr Pepper) is the soft drink provider at this venue.  Cash and credit cards are accepted; a minimum $6 purchase is needed to use a credit card.  

A unique feature found here at the Surprise Stadium AFL menu board is a listing of calorie grams per menu item.  While nothing unique in stadium food, there’s enough to get a fan by during a Fall League game.

Atmosphere 3  

The stadium has a Southern farm-like theme all over, including the Rangers offices down the first base line and Royals offices down the third base line. There are mock white picket fences all over, and all the buildings are the same beige/off-white color with brick pillars.

All of the seats between the bases are in the shade.   New netting is extended to the end of each dugout; beyond the dugouts, seats are often in the sun.  

The concourse goes all the way around the stadium, with the main seating area below the concourse, and the luxury suites located up the stairs and elevators (the upper level is not open for Fall League games). All of the seats have cup holders.

Surprise Stadium has a relatively new video scoreboard which, during AFL games, shows the line score, the pitch speed, ball, strikes and outs, has a cool analog clock (you don’t see those much anymore) and a bunch of advertisements.  The video portion is not used.

Neighborhood 2    

The stadium is part of the Surprise Community Parks area, where there is an aquatic center, tennis courts, parks and facilities, and a library among other things all around the main stadium area. The entire park area is isolated from Surprise, and Surprise is sort of isolated from the rest of the Valley of the Sun, so going anywhere for entertainment is going to take a little bit of a drive.

A Holiday Inn Express and a Residence Inn by Marriott have been built north of the stadium and are within walking distance (less than ½ mile) should you decide to stay the night.  Restaurants are a little further away on W Bell Rd or N Reems Rd. Suggestions include Irish Wolfhound Restaurant (sports themed Irish Pub), Rio Mirage Cafe (festive Mexican), and Lucky’s Pizza (NY-style pizza).

An AMC Surprise Pointe 14 movie theater is about 2 miles from the stadium and offers $5 Tuesdays.  A little further away is the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park which is a nice place to visit in the fall as the temperature not so hot.

The closest Arizona Fall League park is Peoria Sports Complex about 10 miles east.

Fans 3  

As with all Arizona Fall League games, many scouts attend the games, which can be an interesting experience for the more hardcore baseball fan.  The fans in attendance are what one would consider baseball purists – fans who attend for the game itself and not all the extras that occur in minor and major league parks throughout North America.

Access 3

At one point in time, taking surface streets was the only way to go and it was a long distance making it out to the stadium (either Bell Rd or Greenway Rd). Getting to Surprise Stadium has thankfully become easier with the opening of Loop 303 which runs from I-10 in Litchfield, through Surprise and Sun City West, intersecting with I-17; the Bell Rd exit is two miles west of the park.

The main parking lot is out beyond left field, and the main entrance gate is behind the batter’s eye in center. There is plenty of parking in the lots for Fall League and it’s free, but having the gate behind center field is definitely a drawback, forcing everyone to walk the entire concourse to get and from the seating area.  Note:  Fans can request a golf cart take them from the center field entrance to the seating areas, and then back to the gate after the game.

The only bathrooms that are open are on the first base side of the concourse, right next to where the concession stand is. The concourse itself is very wide open, and you can watch the game from everywhere along it, no major obstructions at all. So at least while you’re walking around to all the places you need to go, you don’t have to miss any of the game.

Return on Investment 3    

Arizona Fall League games cost $9 for adults, $7 for seniors (55+), and $5 for kids. To me as a baseball fan, the prices are reasonable given the opportunity to see talented young players facing their peers in great spring training parks.  

Surprise Stadium is a little further if coming from the metropolitan Phoenix area but is still worth a visit.  

Extras 2  

Rosters are available at all AFL games for $1, and a special scouts package available for an extra dollar. That will help if trying to learn your favorite MLB club’s up and coming stars. These are very handy at Surprise Stadium, because the players’ names and team affiliation are not shown on the scoreboard. So if you don’t have one, you may be a little lost.

They also have the names of the AFL Hall of Fame inductees from the team up on the fence by the Royals’ offices down the left field line so you can get a sense of the talent that has come through Surprise during the AFL’s 26 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.

Final Thoughts

A respectable stadium which provides baseball in the area during the fall months in Arizona. It makes for a rare treat when the rest of the nation is battling winter weather.

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

Babbo Italian Eatery

16433 W Bell Rd

Surprise, AZ 85388

(623) 825-1919

https://www.babboitalian.com/


Rio Mirage Cafe

 13863 W Bell Rd

Surprise, AZ 85374

(623) 975-1527


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Entertainment Recommendations

AMC Surprise IMAX Pointe 14

13649 N Litchfield Rd
Surprise, AZ 85379

(623) 584-3838

https://www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/phoenix/amc-surprise-pointe-14


Wildlife World Zoo

16501 W Northern Ave

Litchfield Park, AZ 85340

(623) 935-9453

http://www.wildlifeworld.com/


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Lodging Recommendations

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Surprise

16540 N Bullard Ave

Surprise, AZ 85374

(623) 975-5540


Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix NW/Surprise

16418 N Bullard Ave

Surprise, AZ 85374

(623) 249-6333

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phxsz-residence-inn-phoenix-nw-surprise/

 


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Crowd Reviews

Latest Crowd Reviews

Date: 2018-11-17 15:44:51
By: Legacy Review

Total Score
2

A respectable stadium which provides baseball in the area during the fall months in Arizona. It makes for a rare treat when the rest of the nation is battling winter weather.

Stadium Info

Surprise Stadium
15930 N Bullard Ave.
Surprise, AZ 85374

Surprise Saguaros website

Surprise Stadium website

Year Opened: 2003

Capacity: 10,714

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A Fan’s Guide to Arizona Fall League

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