It’s official: Arizona State University and the City of Phoenix held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that the Sun Devil baseball team will begin playing at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at the start of the 2015 season.
Phoenix Muni is familiar ground for long-time Arizona State baseball fans. Located in Papago Park just a short distance from the Tempe campus, the stadium was home to the Sun Devils during the 1960s and early 1970s. It has been the Spring Training site for the Oakland As since 1982.
Many ASU die-hards have mixed feelings about the move to Muni. But it’s hard to deny the obvious advantages of the new facility: 8,000 seating capacity; convenient location near the light rail; additional ticket windows; expanded concession stands; improved lighting for television; a large, modern press box; expansive practice field and batting cages; a pair of well-equipped party suites; and the opportunity for general alcohol sales.
Despite its promise for ASU baseball, Phoenix Muni replaces beloved Packard Stadium where countless Sun Devil memories have been made since 1974. Names like Jackson, McDowell, Brooks and Monday hang in the outfield at Packard, which is recognized as one of the most storied ballparks in all of college baseball. Indeed, many past and current Major League stars called the stadium home.
Regardless of their reaction to the impending relocation, ASU supporters should be optimistic about the Sun Devils’ long-term prospects at Phoenix Muni. “We’re excited to work with the City of Phoenix on this project…our baseball team has played some great games at this stadium,” Vice President for University Athletics Steve Patterson said. “This move is both a nod to our tradition as well as a dramatic leap forward to an exciting future. We expect to continue Sun Devil baseball’s prominence and success at Muni.”
ASU head baseball coach Tim Esmay also praised the relocation plan. “The new stadium is exciting for players, coaches, alumni and fans alike,” said Esmay. “A long list of great players, a winning tradition and a rich history made Arizona State the preeminent program in the nation.”
The move to Phoenix Muni is just over a season away, so now’s the time for Sun Devil faithful to enjoy the environment at Packard Stadium and pay tribute to this great facility as we anticipate an existing future.