Crew celebrates Maryvale renovation landmark

Final steel beam put in place for Brewers' new clubhouse

August 27th, 2018

PHOENIX -- Back in 1998 when the Brewers moved their Spring Training facility from Chandler, Ariz., to Phoenix, Maryvale Baseball Park fit right in with other facilities in the Cactus League. But after other state-of-the-art complexes were built around Maricopa County, Milwaukee was in need of updates to Maryvale.

Last November, Milwaukee decided to invest in the facility along with the city of Phoenix. Construction began in March at the conclusion of the club's Spring Training.

Monday marked a big moment in the progress of Maryvale's renovations, as the Brewers hosted a "topping out" ceremony with the final steel beam being put in place for their new clubhouse at the facility.

"We were certainly cognizant of what the other facilities had to offer," Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said Monday. "We understood the need to make it a state-of-the-art facility with the biggest changes being behind the scenes for the weight room, the sports science department, physical training and classrooms. We are doing everything to help develop our Major League and Minor League players.

"This is a living and breathing facility, so we are operating in a go-forward basis and we are going to continually invest in it. This is Phase 1 and the biggest phase. This our home, and we want it to be great for fans, players and executives."

• Maryvale Baseball Park renovation project

The agreement between the Brewers and the city of Phoenix was the culmination of years of negotiations, and it put an end to a series of one-year contract extensions while Milwaukee weighed moves elsewhere in Arizona. The Brewers decided to invest in Maryvale and agreed to pay for most of the renovation with close to $65 million in funding. The city of Phoenix is contributing $2 million per year in each of the next five years, along with taking on the $1.4 million annual net operating cost. The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority is also contributing to the project with close to $6 million.

The renovation will continue through the rest of 2018 in preparation for February 2019, which is when the Brewers will report for Spring Training.

At that point, the club will hardly recognize Maryvale. There will be a new clubhouse on the first-base side that features sports science and psychological services and an agility field just outside of the clubhouse. Down the third-base line, there will be a new visitors' clubhouse, which used to be next to the Brewers' on the first-base side, and an umpire room.

"When you are trying to be a world-class organization, you can't skimp on any of your facilities, whether that is your Major League ballpark, the Minors, Dominican Republic facility or Spring Training," Schlesinger said.

Some of the other changes include a renovated press box, new stadium seats down the base lines to replace the old bench seating, a new digital scoreboard and an overhaul of the playing surface and warning track.

The fan experience will be enhanced with a new promenade plaza entrance area behind home plate, along with larger bathrooms, concession stands, a wider concourse area and a main team shop.

• New Maryvale to enhance player, fan experience

Something that is unique and shows how invested the Brewers are in the community is the "Learning Lounge," which is being created through a partnership with Grand Canyon University to offer tutoring services for the children in the surrounding neighborhood.

"That is an amazing part of this whole thing," said former Phoenix city councilman Daniel Valenzuela, who lives nearby the facility and is now running for mayor. "The Brewers showed the whole community how much they are investing in us in return for our continued support. These kids are receiving a huge opportunity that otherwise might not be possible for many of them."

When completed, Maryvale Baseball Park will be comparable to newer facilities like Sloan Park (Cubs), Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (D-backs/Rockies) and Camelback Ranch (Dodgers/White Sox).

"We like this location," Schlesinger said. "We did have other options, but this is our home and made the most sense for us. Spring Training has become a big economic boost for everyone involved, and now, we have a place that rivals some of the others in the Cactus League, and we will be here for a long time."