Behind the scenes at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

11:16 AM, Feb 14, 2011   |    comments
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"This is the first Major League Baseball facility built on Tribal land," says David Dunne, General Manager of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

The new home of the Colorado Rockies during February and March isn't just another Spring Training facility.

"We are on Salt River Field Pima-Maricopa community land," continues Dunne. "This is their land, they paid for the project, so the teams (Rockies and Diamondbacks) are their partners and their guests."

The Rockies couldn't ask for better hosts.

"It just speaks volumes to all the hard work that's been put in by a number of people," says Rockies manager Jim Tracy.

There isn't a bad spot in the 11,000 seat stadium, which will be shared by the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. The place seats 7,000 in reserved and 4,000 in two grassy knolls. All will be able to see the giant scoreboard featuring the Talking Stick

"The talking stick is very important to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa community," explain Dunne. "On the stick marks certain historical dates or occurrences, one of them is our logo at Salt River Fields. There' is a snake and a mountain together."

The Rockies and Diamondbacks are joined by the stick and the stadium, but that's about as far as the sharing goes. Each team has its own entrance, complete with special touches, and easy accessibility to watch players, like batting cages alongside the walkway.

Both organizations also have separate and very different 85,000 square foot facilities. The Rockies' Colorado personality is evident throughout their complex. For instance, the beetle kill walls in the front lobby and clubhouse. Not to mention their overall philosophy in regards to players.

"The Rockies have batting cages, dining room, kitchen, and weight room as all one for major and minor leaguers," says Dunne." The Diamondback have separated that out."

"There is no separation between minor league and major league," says Tracy. "We are all one family."

Players will be pampered in the training room between the four hot tubs, an underwater treadmill and plenty of space in clubhouse. They will be downright spoiled, however, in the Keli S. McGregor Training Center. The weight room is named for the late Rockies President who spent countless hours designing the facility."

"Keli McGregor's finger prints are all over this place," says Tracy.

The two story weight room resembles an upscale athletic club, with one big difference: a giant World Series mural from Game 3 of the 2007 Fall Classic.

"It's a beautiful reminder that each and every year we come here in the spring, there is only one goal," says Tracy.  "Ultimately it's to get back to where the Colorado Rockies were in 2007. (And this time) win the last game of the year instead of just playing in it."

And the road to winning that final game starts in Scottsdale. Tracy's advise to fans:

"Pack now."

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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