The Brewers have had the most nomadic existence of any team in the Cactus League. They began as the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969 when that franchise played their first game at brand new Tempe Diablo Stadium (then called Pilots Field). In 1970 the Pilots spent spring training in limbo as they went through the exhibition season not knowing where the team would end up when the regular season started. Court battles played out throughout the spring as the players and coaches waited to learn their fate.
The bankruptcy court ordered that the team be sold to Milwaukee Brewers Inc. for $10.8M. Meanwhile the Pilots gear had been packed on a truck after their last spring game and the truck went to Utah to await instructions whether to go to Seattle or Milwaukee. When the sale was completed on April 1, the truck and the equipment headed for Milwaukee. It was much too late to have new uniforms ready for opening day, so when the truck arrived, the uniforms and caps were stripped of their Pilots logos and the new Brewers name was hastily applied. The Brewers opened the season under new manager Dave Bristol on April 7 in front of 37,237 fans at County Stadium. The Pilots saga had ended and the Brewers story began.
The Brewers continued to call Tempe their spring training home through 1972, but problems with the ballparks private management company forced the club to a new stadium in Sun City that was built by Del Webb. They stayed there for 13 years. In 1986 the Brewers moved to brand new Compadre Stadium in Chandler. The park was the first to have lawn seating on an outfield berm. That feature has become standard in every new ballpark built for Cactus League teams since.
In 1998, the Brewers were on the move again. As part of an effort to revitalize the Maryvale area of Phoenix, developer John F. Long donated 56 acres to build Maryvale Baseball Park and a adjoining complex featuring eight fields, two half-fields, a clubhouse and training facilities. The architect for the park was the award-winning firm of Ellerbe Beckett of Phoenix.
Maryvale Baseball Park FAQs:
The Brewers open their 19-game home schedule on February 23 against the Oakland Athletics.
Maryvale Baseball Park: 3600 North 51st Avenue;Phoenix, AZ 85031
Capacity: 8,000 (7,000 fixed and 1,000 lawn)
Dimensions: LF 350’; CF 400’; RF 340’
Tips: If you aren’t a sun worshiper, Maryvale Ballpark provides more shaded seats than most other Cactus League parks, Of course if you are so inclined; there is plenty of sun on the lawn and the right and leftfield bleachers.
There are seven dates to circle on your calendar; if you want star power, then be there on Saturday March 2 when the Angels visit Maryvale and bring Mike Trout, Luis Pujols and Josh Hamilton. The Halos have a return engagement against the Brewers on Tuesday the 19th. For international flavor, Tuesday March 5 is your day as Team Canada visits the Brewers. They are in town for the World Baseball Classic. Thursday March 7 will be the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks only spring visit to Maryvale. On Sunday, March 10, the World Champion San Francisco Giants come to town and the star studded L.A. Dodgers visit the following day. The Cubs come to town on Friday, March 22 and the battle of the Midwest always draws big crowds when these division rivals hook up. All games at Maryvale Ballpark start at 1:05.
Brewers in 2012:
Regular Season; 83-79,
ERA 4.22; BA .259; HR 202.
Spring training, 15-17;
ERA: 5.19; BA .274; HR 39
More about the Brewer last spring…In all of baseball, only the Detroit Tigers (46) and San Diego Padres (42) hit more spring training home runs last year that the Brewers (39). The Cubs also slugged 39 spring long balls. Jonathan Lucroy and Alex Gonzalez led the team in hitting by both batting at a .473 clip (26 for 55). On the mound, Randy Wolf was the club’s top winner with a 3-1 mark in 30.1 innings.