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The A’s may move their spring training home to Mesa, Arizona

Nov 28, 2011, 2:08 PM EDT

Via about 12 different reporters in my Twitter feed a few minutes ago, we hear that the Athletics have announced they’re in negotiations to move their Spring Training operations from Phoenix Municipal Stadium to HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Arizona.  HoHoKam will be empty starting in the spring of 2013 because the Cubs are vacating it for a megaplex elsewhere in Mesa.

This disturbs me a little bit. Why? Because this is Phoenix Municipal, where the A’s reside in February and March, and which I had the privilege of visiting last spring training:


To your less-than sophisticated eye it may appear to you as some random 1960s public stadium, but it is so much more. Note the poured concrete facade. Note the proletarian seating You can’t see it in the pic, but I assure you, there is speckled tile flooring and painted cinderblock walls all over that joint.

Now, this may be off-putting to you — it may put you in mind of some government building in Brasilia or something — but I not-so-secretly love buildings like this.  Yes, they can be hideous in their Brutalism, but they’re comforting to me.  They remind me of my elementary school. They remind me of Denney Hall on the Ohio State campus, where I probably spent most of my in-class time as an undergrad.  They remind me of the state office building I used to work in.  I have good memories of those places, as rotten with 1960s-70s poor design choices and asbestos and stuff as they are.

Put simply: I really liked Phoenix Municipal. It probably fails on just about every level from the perspective of a team wanting to make the most out of the spring training experience. And I’m sure if I spent more than two days there I’d have my own complaints. But selfishly speaking, I’d be sad if the A’s moved out and no one else moved in.

  1. clydeserra - Nov 28, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    I am with you craig.

    • nmfan - Nov 28, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      I have been to numerous A’s games at Phoenix Muni-perfectly fine place to see a ball game. I have, however, seen more Cubs games at HoHoKam-probably my favorite Cactus League ballpark (haven’t been to the newest ones though)

  2. bloodysock - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    The Brewers have an option to exit their lease in Maryvale after the 2012 season. Perhaps they could replace the A’s and fill Phoenix Muni.

  3. gustavov8 - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Funny that you mentioned Brasília, such a coincidence that i live in Brasília and i’m an A’s fan.

  4. Old Gator - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Socialist realism. Meh.

  5. qcubed3 - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    It’s not really a piece of Brutalism, but is more in line with the late International stylings of Saarninen’s TWA terminal and Khan’s Kimbell Art Museum.

    No matter what, it’s still the best place to watch Sprint Training with the Papago Mountains as the backdrop. Here’s hoping the Maryvale Brewers move over to Phoenix Muni.

    • qcubed3 - Nov 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM

      Spring Training that is. Sprint Training is boring, with all the cell phones and data plans and whatnot….

  6. APBA Guy - Nov 28, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    There is only one reason the A’s are contemplating moving, and that’s to save a few pennies. Either by the threat of a move from Muni, or by being pursued by HoHoKam’s directors, the A’s just want to feel wanted by someone, even if only for Feb and March.

  7. azvikefan - Nov 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    I’ve seen lots of games in Phoenix Muni, and a few concerts in the ’70s. 10 cent beer nights with the AAA Phoenix Giants were always a good time. I still go to a couple of A’s games in the spring because I really like the stadium.

    • tuftsb - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:44 PM

      As an ex-Phoenix Giant (’78, ’80 and ’81) and one of the people who helped plug 10 cent beer nights on morning radio in 1981, I feel responsible for your liver.

      Great park. Dammit!

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