ASU fans know something special happens at the cross streets of Rio Salado and Rural. It’s where sluggers like Bob Horner, Barry Bonds, and Kole Calhoun made drivers a little more cautious for flying objects on the road. It’s where the tiniest of MVPs emerged in Dustin Pedroia, and proved talent did translate from size. It’s where Mike Leake and Floyd Bannister toed the rubber, and Paul Lo Duca guarded the plate.
That was then. This is now. The Sun Devils new home is a short drive down Mill Ave. to Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the most recent spring training home for the Oakland A’s. It’s a new era with a brand new stadium and brand new coach, Tracy Smith, at the helm. Arizona State has put in over $1 million in renovations to convert this ballpark into a destination when college baseball’s regional and super regional tournaments roll around. The new home of the Devils holds 5,300 fans, with the capabilities to go upwards of 8,000.
Packard Stadium was the baseball coliseum built by Horner, Bando, Bonds, and the laundry list of big leaguers built. Are the architects of the new legacy of ASU baseball at Phoenix Municipal on this year’s roster? Those questions will begin to be answered Friday as the Sun Devils open their season against fifth-ranked Oklahoma State.