Think Baseball meets State Fair. The official Spring Training home of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, The Peoria Sports Complex opened in 1994 and seats 11,333 fans. It’s one of the further commutes from Sky Harbor Airport (roughly 30 miles / 30 minutes, depending on traffic), but it’s worth the trip. Compared to the other parks of the Cactus League, the facility itself does a nice job of feeling modern, clean and somewhat representative of a Major League park, while still maintaining the charm and modesty fans often crave when they head to the desert to soak up Spring baseball. And beginning 2015, fans get to enjoy the fruits of a $10 million renovation on the park, part of the $30 million in upgrades that were agreed to keep both the Mariners and Padres in Peoria for another 20 years.
The food at Peoria Sports Complex is incredible, year-after-year receiving the unanimous vote of the Cactus Leaguers for Best Ballpark Food of the Cactus League. Just outside the field resides a series of fair-food like food tents offering everything from gyros to funnel cakes to incredible hand-dipped corn dogs. And if you don’t want to miss out on the game action while you head off for grub, a collection of gourmet food and drink tents reside along the outfield line. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks, but when attending Spring Training, your goal should be to pack in as many games as possible. Throwing a change-up to your stomach starts to become a necessity, and Peoria has that pitch in it’s food arsenal.
The Peoria Sports Complex is an ideal environment to watch a game, but is also a “roamer’s park”. Arrive early and take a leisurely stroll around the exterior of the field, and if your arm’s feeling strong, test your pitching speed and accuracy in the pitching trailer. At last check, three out of four pitches into the catcher’s mitt will score you a jersey. We’re still trying for it. Been to Peoria Sports Complex? Leave a review here!