The City of Tempe gives $20 million in corporate welfare to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California!
Newly renovated Diablo Stadium ready for spring-training fans
by Kelsey Perry published on Thursday, March 2, 2006
Tempe's Diablo Stadium, the spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, will debut its new look today at a charity game after undergoing a 10-month renovation.
The $20 million facelift began last spring after the city of Tempe struck a deal to keep the Angels at Diablo Stadium until 2025, said Nikki Ripley, a city spokeswoman.
"We had some catching up to do as far as modernizing," Ripley said.
Diablo manager Wil Gorman said the renovation was long overdue.
"The amenities just weren't there," he said of the stadium prior to renovation. "It wasn't as fan-friendly, and now it will be."
One of the biggest changes the facility made was seating, Gorman said.
"We had aluminum seating, which held the heat pretty good," he said.
The stadium will now have plastic seating, he said. The seats will also have backs and cup holders for the first time.
Other changes included a new and expanded concession stand and an expanded party deck, where ASU students often hang out, Gorman said.
The backstop will no longer contain poles, so there will be nothing obstructing fans' views, and the stadium has a new box office, Ripley said.
"It's the little details that will make the fan experience better," Ripley said.
Diablo stadium was built in 1969 and renovated in 1993. But since that renovation, several stadiums had been built or renovated around the Valley, putting Diablo out of date, Gorman said.
The new look should bring Diablo up to par with other stadiums that lodge Major League Baseball spring-training programs, Ripley said.
"I think with this renovation, now Diablo Stadium will rival any of the other cities' Cactus League stadiums," she said.
Gorman said he anticipates a warm reception from fans.
"They're going to love it," he said. "We're already getting positive feedback."
Ripley said other changes that will benefit the Angels include four new practice fields, three of which are lit so that the teams can practice at night.
The renovated stadium also has a 20,000-square-foot minor league clubhouse, which will allow the Angels' minor league team to join the major league team for the first time.
Previously, the minor league team -- known as the Mesa Angels -- had practiced at the Gene Autry Park in Mesa, 20 miles away.
The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority contributed $12 million to the renovation, while Tempe gave $8 million and the Angels gave $2 million.
She said the top-to-bottom renovation would be well received by fans.
"I would expect that the fan reaction would be very positive once spring training begins this week," she said.
But the fans are not the only ones who will benefit, Gorman said.
"It's a step forward not only for the Angels, but for the city of Tempe as well," he said.
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