Cactus League tour: Hohokam Stadium

Hohokam Stadium in Mesa.

After 20 years at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the Oakland Athletics this spring returned home to Hohokam in Mesa. The newly renovated stadium has the same intimacy and traditional charm the A’s enjoyed in the late 1970s, but new amenities were added to give fans a more modern ballpark experience.

One thing the A’s didn’t have at Phoenix Muni? A lawn. And the large outfield berm at Hohokam Stadium already is a fan favorite. When we visited the park on a Wednesday, the grass was filled with fans playing catch, watching the game and enjoying a spread of ballpark food.

Speaking of food, there’s plenty of grub from which to choose. Grab a unique (and messy) sandwich from Ike’s Love and Sandwiches behind the stands on the first base line or snag a classic hot dog from Oakland Links just across the concourse.

Whatever you do, though, don’t miss out on Mustache Pretzels. The food truck is tucked away in the back of the concourse on the first base side. Here you can purchase a delicious, fresh baked pretzel shaped like a handlebar mustache — a homage to A’s legendary reliever Rollie Fingers. Mustache enthusiasts have a variety of flavors to choose from, including original, cinnamon sugar, garlic parmesan and the "Nut ‘Stache" (coated in salted caramel and nuts).

Just beyond third base, a picnic area is open for all fans to take a seat while they enjoy treats — including kettle corn, ice cream, jalapeno poppers and craft beer — from the nearby stands. Also in the picnic area, fans can test their skills in a game of Speed Pitch. For $1, contestants hurl baseballs into an inflatable cage. Employees track the speed of the pitch and if your throw is impressive enough, your name will make the leaderboard for the day. Employee Danika McIntire says the fastest fan pitch she’s seen so far is 85 mph … underhand.

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Unlike some Spring Training facilities, there is plenty of parking at Hohokam Stadium. Just bring $5. And it sure doesn’t hurt to get there early. A’s players will sign autographs during practice and up to 20 minutes before first pitch.