‘Complex is unbelievable:’ American Family Fields of Phoenix puts ‘everything at our fingertips’ for Brewers

PHOENIX -- It's always sunny in Arizona, except when it isn't. In previous years, the rain would wash out a day's work at spring training for the Milwaukee Brewers, but not anymore. The Brewers found that out on two days during spring training.

Josh Tomlin

"I think with this new facility, with all the cages you have around, it's easy to get your work done even though it's raining outside," said Josh Tomlin, pitcher.

Jimmy Nelson

"Obviously, we have enough room with this new facility to get our work done in the weight room. It's just one of those things we work on. Occupational hazard I guess," said Jimmy Nelson, pitcher.

The new facility is exactly what Mark Attanasio, Brewers owner, was looking for when he decided to invest in a complete renovation of what was known as Maryvale Baseball Park.

Mark Attanasio

"I had to make a decision. Are we going to sequence it, or just do everything at once? And we did everything at once," said Attanasio.

The cost was $65 million.

"But who's counting?" said Attanasio.

"The complex is unbelievable. I think we got a little spoiled, but what the workers did for 10 months to get this place up and running is unbelievable," said Josh Hader, pitcher.

The facility is now known as the American Family Fields of Phoenix.

"They did an extraordinary job of integrating all the practice fields with the facilities. They did an extraordinary job of melding the buildings that we kept that looked like, you know, the new buildings and the old buildings were always together," said Attanasio.

Ben Gamel

"It makes everything more convenient. Everything flows better. You know, we've got our training rooms right here. Everything's at our fingertips. We just got to utilize them," said Ben Gamel, outfielder.

Craig Counsell's message to the team has always been one of connectivity. At the new facility, everything a player needs is steps away.

Zach Davies

"Everything that you need is here. You don't have to go to the local gym. You don't have to go to the doctor for anything. You have all doctors on site. You have all the training staff. You have all the hydro-therapy tubs and stuff to make sure your body is ready to be on the field. You couldn't ask for anything more," said Zach Davies, pitcher.

The facility allows the players to excel with the least amount of obstruction possible, even clearing away any mental hurdles that used to get in the way.

Travis Shaw

"It's fun to come to a facility like this. It just kind of fits perfect with where we are right now. We're an exciting team. We got a brand-new complex now, and I feel like everything right now is trending upward for the Milwaukee Brewers and the whole organization," said Travis Shaw, third baseman.

While the facility has received praise from everyone in the organization, there have been some changes to adjust to.

"First of all, I can't find my way around because it's so big," said Attanasio.

Christian Yelich

"You might lose some guys. You feel like you go some days without seeing some people if you're not all in the same room at the same time, but it really is great. Spread out -- a lot of things that we have here now that we didn't in the past," said Christian Yelich, outfielder.

"You feel like you need a walkie-talkie trying to talk across this clubhouse. It's so big," said Hader.

And come October, Brewers officials hope that their experience at the American Family Fields of Phoenix in February and March made all the difference in the world.

The renovations took 10 months, and when spring training ends, the facility will still be used for player development.

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