Spring Training Guide: Colorado Rockies
Baseball fans will experience 158 days of withdrawal between the Philadelphia Phillies’ initial World Series clinch and the time that the opening pitch is thrown to begin the 2009 season.
In order to witness the action early and ditch the harsh Colorado weather, Rockies fans everywhere can travel to the beautiful Tucson, Arizona to catch baseball at its finest, at Hi Corbett Field.
Built in 1937, Hi Corbett Field is the oldest ballpark in the Cactus League. Originally named Randolph Municipal Baseball Park, it was later renamed to honor Hiram Stevens Corbett, a former Arizona senator who was a major part of bringing spring training to Tucson. Hi Corbett originally housed the Cleveland Indians.
In addition to being the spring home of the Colorado Rockies, Hi Corbett has been the home field for many minor league baseball teams over the years.
The stadium has been where the Rockies play their home games since the team’s expansion prior to the 1993 season.
Besides being served as a baseball field, the entire complex that Hi Corbett is located inside, Gene C. Reid Park, features a zoo, an aquatic center, two municipal golf courses and a popular concert venue.
The outside of the complex is a unique beige stucco design while the
Rincon and Santa Rita Mountains are visible in the distance of the outfield from all seats.
Tickets and parking:
Ticket prices for games at Hi Corbett are very affordable and a great way to witness a quality baseball experience. Ticket prices range from $4-17.
The cheapest tickets are found in section T of the stadium, known as the “Sandpile,” a takeoff of the Rockpile at Coors Field (Rockies home stadium for regular season games). The $4 Sandpile tickets are the cheapest seats in the entire Cactus League.
Other ticketing information:
The Rockies’ dugout is located on the first base side, near sections A-J, AA, and DD.
All seats have backs to allow comfort.
A patio is located along the left field line, popular for its tables with umbrellas and food.
No seats at Hi Corbett are obstructed, but make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen. Nearly all areas of the ballpark will be hit hard by the Arizona sunshine.
Parking is free, but limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, when the lot fills up (which it will), fans will be redirected to the El Con Mall, located a half-mile away. Complimentary shuttles are available to transport fans to the stadium and back to their vehicles.
Capacity and field dimensions:
Hi Corbett Field seats 8,665 fans while its outfield wall dimensions read: 366 feed to left field, 392 to center and 348 to right field. Center field features a mini “Green Monster” wall because of its 35 foot height.
Hi Corbett Field featured the first ever spring training game between Major League teams.
For those who enjoy watching sports movies, you may recognize Hi Corbett field from the film Major League. The 1989 film used Hi Corbett for all of its spring training scenes.
Seventy-four members of baseball’s Hall of Fame have played at Hi Corbett Field, including Mickey Mantle, Willey Mays and Ted Williams. Each players’ name is engraved on the Wall of Fame, located on the concourse behind home plate.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox also play their home games in Tucson. They play at Tucson Electric Park, located just minutes away from Hi Corbett Field.
In addition, the Rockies will host many American League teams most fans generally don’t get to see, including: Anaheim Angels, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers. The Rockies also played host to the Mexico team from the World Baseball Classic in an exhibition game earlier this month.
As a young child, there is no greater feeling than getting the chance to meet and receive an autograph from your favorite baseball player—essentially, your idol. Hi Corbett makes every intention to fulfill those child-like dreams.
With great opportunities for autographs along the right field line, while players play catch prior to games, the prime spot for autographs and live balls is the practice fields, located just outside of the stadium.
The four practice fields are often-times used for batting practice and drills several hours before games, and players are almost always willing to take time to sign a ball or meet a fan. The stadium opens two hours before game time, but fans can arrive to the practice fields prior to that in order to have more opportunities to watch and meet the players.
The athletes are much more willing to sign autographs at spring training than any other time in the year. Even some of the big-named stars will even sign on a consistent basis.
In addition, fans choosing to stick around after the game can sometimes catch a player leaving the stadium and walking to their vehicles. The gate is located along the first base line.
Food at the park:
Without a doubt, the most popular food choice served at Hi Corbett is the Rockie Dog. A famous, fresh footlong hot dog served with unlimited condiments, the Rockie Dog makes fans feel like they’re back at Coors Field.
In addition, the ballpark serves a variety of traditional ballpark foods plus multiple Mexican food options.
A variety of beer is always on tap in addition to Coca-Cola fountain drinks.
Where to stay:
There are multiple hotels located within two miles of Hi Corbett Field. The closest hotels are Doubletree, Clarion Hotel and Lodge on the Desert, all located on Alvernon Way.
What else to do:
A plentiful amount of restaurants area also located within a mile of the ballpark. A few of them are fast food chains, but many are unique Mexican restaurants that add to one’s Arizona vacation. Rubio’s, Tacos Don Juan, Las Brasas, and Mariscos Chihuahua are all popular venues located on either Broadway Boulevard or East 22nd Street.
Many, however, consider Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen one of the best Arizona offers. Famous for its chimichangas, tacos, and enchiladas, Macayo’s has been a tradition since 1946.
Tucson is the second largest city in the state of Arizona and is full of several clubs, bars and nightlife.
If you have time to squeeze in more than baseball, other ideas to finish your trip include hiking Sabino Canyon, walking through Old Tucson Studios, visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, witnessing the beautiful San Xavier Mission or touring the nearby University of Arizona campus.
Hi Corbett is considered by many, the most intimate spring training site in all of baseball. It has been compared to fields like Wrigley Field, not for its architectural structure, but instead for its rich history. The comfortable Tucson weather allows fans to get away from the Colorado winter and get a first glimpse of how their team is shaping up.
The prices are very affordable and the access to the players is remarkable. There are still many uncertainties regarding the 2009 Rockies’ lineup, so you’ll want to make sure that you get the chance to see the players fighting for roles first-hand.
Grab your closest friends, family, or fellow baseball fans and take a weekend trip to Hi-Corbett Field—the most intimate spring training ballpark.
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