The Arizona State baseball program will be moving into into Phoenix Municipal Stadium for the 2015 college baseball season and beyond. After playing at Packard Stadium from 1974 to 2014, the program, headed by first-year ASU coach Tracy Smith, will go from a stadium that has a capacity seating of 7,875 to a capacity of 8,775 and served as the Spring Training home of the Oakland Athletics up until the conclusion of the 2014 Spring Training Season.
With the move to Phoenix Municipal, or Phoenix Muni as it is known colloquially, the Sun Devils will play in a stadium with bigger outfield dimensions than Packard Stadium (7 additional feet in left and right field and 15 additional feet in center field) forcing the team to adapt more of a line drive approach rather than relying on the home run to score runs. However, with the introduction of baseballs with lower seams this year in college baseball, the Sun Devils may not have to abandon their power game after all, as they were tied for third in the Pac-12 in home runs with 26 during the 2014 season.
In addition to the program moving into the stadium, Phoenix Muni will see changes and improvements to the physical stadium such as a new batting cage and practice facility, remodeled club house and lounge area, improved coaches offices, and new scoreboard, to name a few. The stadium will also see new paint, signage, and branding throughout the stadium.
Despite the increased seating and stadium improvements, Phoenix Muni is located 2 1/2 miles from ASU’s main campus in Tempe, which can make it difficult for college students to attend games, especially freshman that do not have cars on campus. However, the Phoenix light rail system connects the stadium to campus which will make travel to the stadium more convenient for students living on campus.
In addition to hosting to Sun Devils and the Athletics, Phoenix Muni has also hosted Major League Baseball’s Arizona Fall League, the Arizona Diamondbacks Rookie League games, and games for the former Class AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, the Phoenix Firebirds (the Giants have the Fresno Grizzles as their current Class AAA affiliate).
The program recently held its first scrimmage at Phoenix Muni on Nov. 1 and will hold its annual Maroon and Gold Tournament from Nov. 17-23 at their new home before their regular season kicks off in February with a series against the Oklahoma State Cowboys from Feb. 13-15.
*Section Photo credit to Scott Stuk, State Press; Featured Photo (above) credit to USA Today Sports