Salt River Fields ups game for '14 season
D-backs' Spring Training ballpark has even more in store for fans
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nearly three weeks after pitchers and catchers first reported for Spring Training, the D-backs will open their Cactus League schedule on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. MT against the Dodgers at Salt River Fields.
The facility has drawn rave reviews during its first three springs, as the D-backs have led the Major Leagues in attendance during that span.
"Salt River Fields has been an organizational point of pride for the past three seasons," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said. "The feedback from our fans has been tremendous and has been reflected in our record attendance."
Here's a look at some of the new things in store this spring:
Concession additions: The Home Plate Hot Dogs stand will offer the D-backs Sonoran Dog for the first time.
A new stand, Sonoran BBQ, will offer beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and a custom sauce bar that allows fans to concoct their own barbecue sauce.
101 Cattle Co. has added the new "Flame Thrower" burger, which features pepper jack cheese, fried jalapenos and chipotle salsa, while Crust has added two new gourmet pizzas -- the Hot Hawaiian and the Blonde Bombshell.
Island Noodle will offer a gluten-free menu, located down the first-base concourse.
Fans who are at least 21 years old will be able to enjoy the new Absolut Bar. Located at Section 210, the bar will feature four flavors of Absolut vodka and enough mixers for bartenders to create more than 100 different vodka drinks.
A new shade structure at Budweiser Bow Tie near the left-field line will allow fans to escape the heat and enjoy Anheuser-Busch products.
For those who choose to stay in the sun, complimentary sunscreen will be provided at several stands on the concourse along the Banana Boat Lawn and free shuttles, courtesy of Honda, will pick fans up in the parking lots and take them to the main gate.
Special promotions: Cactus League Opening Day against the Dodgers will feature a flyover by four planes, and there will be another flyover Feb. 28 before the D-backs face the Rockies.
The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales of Super Bowl commercial fame will be at the March 6 game between the D-backs and A's. Fans can have their photos taken with the horses prior to the game and watch the Clydesdales parade around the warning track before the game.
The March 13 game will be the first Zero-Waste Game. Fans will be asked to recycle or compost all solid and food wastes generated. It is a first for Arizona and is a part of the city's new sustainability initiative, Reimagine Phoenix.
Also on March 13, fans will have the opportunity to take photos with the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards won by outfielder Gerardo Parra and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Autographs: Select D-backs players will sign autographs for free at a designated area before each home game from 11:45 a.m. until noon for day games and 5:45-6 p.m. for night games.
Fans, even those who do not have a ticket for the game, are free to wander the walkways of the team's practice fields behind the stadium.
Making the practice fields accessible to fans was a guiding principle for the D-backs.
"We designed and built this Spring Training facility with the fans in mind," Hall said. "Our players understand that and have embraced the concept of accessibility, providing autographs and interaction at a level unlike any other team."
Spring Training tickets at Salt River Fields start at $9 and can be purchased at Dbacks.com.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.