The Rockies and D-backs officially reached an agreement on Thursday to share a Spring Training complex within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community along the east border of Scottsdale, Ariz. The complex, which will open in 2011, will be the first Major League training complex built on Native American land.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with the two teams, under which the community will build and operate the two-team complex -- which includes an 11,000-seat stadium -- under a 25-year agreement with options to extend. The 140-acre site is near Indian Bend Road and the 101 Freeway, and will have views of Camelback Mountain, the McDowell Mountains, Four Peaks, Red Mountain and the Superstition Mountains.
"We're excited to partner with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Arizona Diamondbacks," Rockies president Keli McGregor said in a press release from the Council. "We know that this shared home will be one of the finest year-round training facilities in all of Major League Baseball and something that our organizations, fans and the Community will be proud of for decades to come."
McGregor was on vacation and was not available for further comment.
The decision means the Rockies will leave Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Ariz., the only training complex they've had since entering the Majors in 1993. The move was put into motion when the White Sox left Tucson Electric Park for Glendale, Ariz., leaving Tucson with just the Rockies and the D-backs.
The new complex will put the entire Cactus League in the Phoenix metropolitan area. For the Rockies and D-backs, they will have other teams to play in Minor League Spring Training and extended Spring Training contests. The new complex also could be used by the Arizona Fall League.
"More than likely, the players felt this a little bit, but as you go on through the course of the spring and it's just us and the D-backs in Tucson ... Depending on what day of the week it is, five or six hours you're spending in a bus to play a Cactus League game," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Early on, everyone is fresh and ready to go. But as you go on into the latter part of the spring, and you're spending five or six hours on a bus, it can get to you after awhile."
The new complex will be designed by HKS Architects, which designed the Glendale facility for the White Sox and Dodgers and Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. The community and the teams will make joint decisions on design elements, the release said. In addition to the stadium, the complex will have a total of 12 practice fields and office buildings that will include Major League and Minor League clubhouses, training areas and administrative offices.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.