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Spring Training Ballpark

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Bringing Baseball Home

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian CommunityThe Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is writing a new chapter in its history of ball courts as it announces Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the new Spring Training facility for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.

For our Community, building Salt River Fields is like, "bringing baseball home."

For more than 2,000 years, people have played ball games in the Americas. In Arizona, more than 200 ball courts have been discovered. During the period of history when the ancestors of the Pimas, the Huhugam culture, flourished, dozens of ball courts were in action in the valley.

Huhugam ball courts were constructed in semicircular to oval shapes and surrounded by earthen embankments. The raised areas served as gathering places for people to watch the games being played. The games Huhugam men played differed from women's games.

The men played in teams and used a hard rubber ball that they threw through a hoop. Since latex trees grew in southern Mexico and Central America, it is thought that the rubber balls originated from there. However both hollow and solid ball forms have been found in and near ball courts in this area. Courts were usually 20 to 30 feet wide and 40 to 50 feet long and surrounded by 8 1/2 foot white washed walls on which the hoops were mounted. A line on the ground divided the court into two parts.

The women's game was very different. The game, called "thaka", is played in teams but the women use sticks made from native trees like mesquite and willow to hit the balls. Unlike the men's game which is more like modern-day basketball, the women's game is similar to field hockey that is played today. While both men's and women's games involved an element of sport, games played always carried a spiritual significance. In addition, ancient ball courts were also used for ceremonial events.


A History of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
  • On March 27, 2009: The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community submitted a proposal to the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks to build the teams a new home for Spring Training on the Community. If accepted, this would be the first major league Spring Training facility built on tribal land.
  • July 16, 2009: The Community announced that it had signed a Memo of Understanding with the teams to pursue building this project.
  • July 23, 2009: The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks announced the location for the new Spring Training facility on Community land. The location, at Indian Bend and Pima Road, is served by two major freeways and is minutes away from Sky Harbor Airport and Scottsdale Airport.
  • November 16, 2009: In a formal ceremony, ground was broken to construct the newest enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Designed by HKS architects, the Spring Training facility would be built by Mortenson Construction.
  • June 4, 2010: The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks announce that the new facility will be called Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. It joins Talking Stick Golf Club and Talking Stick Resort as the latest entertainment venue in the Community's Talking Stick brand.
  • July 23, 2010: The final pieces of structural steel were added to the roofs of the Rockies and D-backs clubhouses, respectively, and were celebrated in a traditional topping-off ceremony.
  • Spring, 2011: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick will open as the Cactus League's newest and finest Major League Baseball Spring Training facility.