The Brewers have been holding spring straining at the Maryvale complex since 1998. In recent years, there has been frequent talk about the need for updating the facility in Maryvale or moving the team to a new location. There has even been speculation about the Crew moving to Florida, according to old Brewer expert Noah Jarosh. (Noah isn’t old, and has kept up on the Brewers, but this article is old, as is Noah’s connection to BCB...but he is still much revered on the site. Just ask him.)
The latest rumors have explorations of a site in Gilbert, Arizona. This article, by Jessica Boehm at azcentral.com, describes the pluses and minuses of a community from a financial side. Ms. Boehm does a good job, and I’m not going to rehash it here...suffice it to say that building a facility is not a panacea of financial reward for a community.
Another option, of course, is upgrading the Maryvale site. In 2014, the facility underwent $1.6 m in renovations. Phoenix doesn’t seem interested in contributing to any major renovation, and a significant investment would seem to make more sense in building a new full site. The Boehm article puts the team investment at $20 mil in the $90 mil Gilbert project, but it seems to me that those are likely beginning negotiation numbers as the Brewers attempt to leverage competing sites against each other. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Attanasio consortium needing to invest more to get the improvements they desire, whether new or existing.
I have been at the Maryvale park and facilities, and found them inviting and pleasant. I have never been to any others, so I can’t compare it with any other team’s facility. In a 2015 Journal Sentinel article (by ASU student-at-the-time Antonio Venegas), other issues in the Maryvale area are an issue: “The ballpark is in a working-class neighborhood and while the area has seen increased development, it still lacks many of the modern amenities that the newer facilities in Arizona have.”
Venegas’ article points out that the players he talked to liked the Maryvale site, and appreciated the fans and their interaction with them. Any changes would really be for the development side of the team; the stadium itself is just fine. My guess is that the Brewers continue with incremental improvements in Maryvale while they work on the uncertainties of their minor league system. Change seems to be the norm in the minors, with different levels moving to different locations frequently. It would be nice to get some continuity in that area before major decisions are made at the spring training level.