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Rockies and D-backs move spring training to Phoenix area

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – This coming spring, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks baseball teams will move spring training to the newly constructed and recently named, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The name of the stadium and logo was unveiled to the public June 4, more than six months after the tribe broke ground on the $100 million project. Both teams, part of the Cactus League, were training in Tucson.

SRPMIC Vice President Martin Harvier said coming up with a name was a collaborative effort, shaped by community members. “It was very important to work on coming up with a name and a lot of work went into it, and everybody’s really pleased so far with the naming of the stadium.”

The name “Salt River Fields” reflects the tribe and lets visitors to the stadium know they are in the Pima-Maricopa community. “Talking Stick” represents Pima tradition. Carvers used a calender stick to record important events and milestones.

The logo was designed by local Pima artist and calendar stick carver Royce Manual. The rattlesnake forms the shape of a mountain to represent both teams. Additionally, the logo represents the sweeping view of the mountains from the stadium, and the significance of the rattlesnake in Southwest American Indian storytelling.

“It’s a first in Indian country, and we’re just excited about what’s being created, and what other things that can happen in that area,” Harvier said.

Located on a 140-acre parcel, adjacent to the Scottsdale Pavilions shopping center, the stadium seats up to 11,000 fans. Plans also call for 12 practice fields, major and minor league clubhouses, and training facilities and offices for each team. Fans can either purchase stadium seats or pay general admission to sit on the lawn berm area beyond the outfield fences.

HKS Architects designed the facility, the creative minds behind Glendale’s Camelback Ranch spring training facility for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, and the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. It was also fitting that the tribe selected Mortenson Construction to erect the facility, the same firm that built Camelback Ranch.

Harvier credits the tribe’s experience and handling of its business ventures, a total of seven, for streamlining the latest project.

“I think with just the experience here in the community, as far as our other enterprises go, has really helped us out. I really feel like we have professional staff that works in our government department and that has worked with developers and land owners, and in turn has worked with the BIA.”

During the training off-season, the tribe plans on opening the facility to powwows, concerts and amateur league baseball.

“We have Native Americans playing professional baseball right now in the major leagues,” he said. “That’s something hopefully some of our community members will be inspired by when they go to the park, and get them interested in playing the game.”

Marty DeRito, owner of DeRito Partners, the company that owns and manages Scottsdale Pavilions, located on Pima-Maricopa land, said the unique relationship was likely one of the first in Indian country. Originally built in 1989, DeRito purchased the aging property about two years ago and has already poured $10 million into renovating and adding new stores to the shopping center.

“The Salt River community is very progressive as far as economic development and that really intrigued us. We liked the fact it was near the freeway, and it was in a community that was progressive economically.”

For more information, visit www.saltriverfields.com.