By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Maryvale Baseball Park has been rechristened American Family Fields of Phoenix after a year-long project that brings together the Major and Minor League systems.
But Tyler Barnes, Milwaukee Brewers’ senior vice president, communication and affiliate operations, prefers not to call it a “renovation.”
“I hesitate to call this a renovation,” Barnes says.
“This was a rebuilding of almost the entire facility. The players are from night to day different. The clubhouse, the weight room and the trainer rooms, they’re not only state of the art for an Arizona facility, but for any Major League facility.
“We’re very, very excited about this. The challenge was the time frame to do this was very, very tight. We couldn’t start work until the end of last year’s Spring Training.”
Construction began in March 2018 on the project that includes a new stand-alone, two-story building that houses locker rooms, a flagship retail store and a primary ticket office at the new home plate gate.
“This used to be a facility that had separate buildings for Major and Minor leagues,” Barnes says.
“We demolished the Minor League buildings and put everything under one roof. It’s a $60 million project. We added 60,000 square feet under the new roof alone. That does not include a lot of the batting tunnels or parking lots. It’s exclusively under one roof.”
The north side of the building will be home to new concession stands and restrooms as the first base concourse has been widened to provide a better flow for pedestrian traffic. A second floor includes new offices for baseball operations.
The complex also features a new entry plaza, renovated space for sports science and psychological services, an eight-lane batting tunnel, an agility field, new pitching and catching mounds, a high-performance practice field matching Miller Park’s dimensions, field improvements and a new scoreboard.
“The building is now state-of-the-art in every way—form to function to technology,” Barnes says.
“It creates a lot of synergies between major and minor league players and staff. We developed new playing fields. We put in new seating and a new videoboard, which replaced the original 20-year-old scoreboard that was barely hanging on by a thread.”
Fans will also see new concession stands along the first base line, as well as cooking and food-prep facilities that were missing.
“We purchased a new smoker,” he says. “We couldn’t cook at the concession stands. We’d have hot dogs, but we’d just put it on a warmer. We couldn’t cook hamburgers, but now we can. Just those couple things alone dramatically expand what we do.
“We had a very small retail store that was on the third-base side and because we now have the flagship store, we converted the smaller one into a bar right by the home plate entrance.”
The home plate entrance is the new doorway to the park, which will prove to ease crowding.
“With the new concession stands and buildings, we moved them back between 10 to 30 feet, which significantly expanded the width of the concourse. It’s been great to see all this come together. I give the crews a lot of credit.”