On a picture-perfect afternoon, spirits were high as the Scottsdale Charros celebrated the start of a new era at Scottsdale Stadium --- and ultimately the group’s philanthropic endeavors.
Prior to the Feb. 24 spring training game featuring the San Fransisco Giants vs the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Scottsdale Charros commemorated the completion of renovations at the Charro Lodge, a section of casual seating at Scottsdale Stadium.
Numerous cowboy-hat-donning Charros members --- including Mayor Jim Lane and Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Stanton --- were present and excited during their ribbon-cutting event to begin the next phase of fundraising through the spring training entity.
“It’s a pretty historic time for our organization,” said Brad Douglass, who serves as baseball chairman for the Charros.
“Every one of my brothers right here assisted with putting this whole thing together. [Thank you to] the city for all that they’ve done, and the partnership we’ve had. We’re so excited for years to come of what this facility is and all of the lives we will be able to touch through the charities and our foundation that the revenue from these games brings to the community.”
Scottsdale Stadium, which opened in 1956, is the only Cactus League venue a part of a downtown setting, at 7408 E. Osborn Road.
Last March, Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the San Francisco Giants and the Scottsdale Charros requiring binding capital financial commitments to Phase 1 of the Scottsdale Stadium renovation project.
The funding agreement, worth $50.6 million, had been in the works for a handful of years, as city officials say discussions with the Giants began in 2015 when master planning started. The Charros are responsible for $2.7 million of the funding, while the Giants will pay $15.125 million and the city covers the remaining costs up to $35 million.
A series of renovations were agreed upon addressing several areas within a 2018 master plan, such as improved seating and shade; additional viewing areas; and expansions to the clubhouse, player training areas and special events areas.
The Charro Lodge received an expansion and shade structures over its right field location. Ticket proceeds from the Charro Lodge are one part of the fundraising revenue the group uses to reinvest in the community.
“Today we are here to celebrate the opening of a wonderful new facility that will allow us as the Scottsdale Charros to continue to raise money for the charities here in the City of Scottsdale; in particular, the schools of Scottsdale, and a number of other very worthy charities that help our children and our youth,” said Charro Patron Rick Carpinelli.
“Those that have come before that made this happen, and you guys that put this together with all the hard work, congratulations.”
Proud Charro and Mayor Jim Lane says the Lodge is a great enhancement to the other improvements throughout the stadium.
“It also exemplifies the relationship between the Charros, and how important it has been --- frankly that partnership is something that’s been honored through the years and has meant a great deal to the City of Scottsdale and our entire community,” he said.
The Scottsdale Charros are an integral component of Scottsdale Stadium, as they’ve been hosting spring training since 1961, and it is a main fundraiser for the all-male group. Funds raised through the sale of Charro Lodge passes, stadium and magazine advertising are donated back to the community.
Over the last five decades, the Scottsdale Charros and The Charro Foundation have donated millions of dollars back into the community through grants and donation to local nonprofits and schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District.
Mr. Carpinelli says the stadium improvements are the continuation of a long-standing tradition to bring spring training to Scottsdale.
“This to us means another 25 years at a heightened level that we haven’t been able to bring to the community previously,” he said. “These improvements, this expansion of the lodge will allow us to bring more charitable giving to the community.”
Mr. Lane pointed to the growth and enthusiasm of the Charros and community members has been a plus for the municipality and its economic environment.
“To have this really shows the continued --- not only commitment between the city and the Charros, but also the community --- it’s all too often that the community hasn’t been as aware of what we have here. The Charros have really facilitated making sure that has become a part of us, not just a visiting team,” Mr. Lane said. “It’s certainly great for visitors and tourism and it’s a great amenity for citizens too and that’s wonderful.”
For Mr. Douglass, the afternoon represented a point of pride.
“All I can say is I’m so proud and honored to be a part of this organization. It’s such an incredible thing for Scottsdale to have and see how it’s evolved from the guys before us to now, and the future,” he said. “The volunteers, that’s what it takes to make this happen. To have other members of the organization support us in doing all of this is just something super special because it shows that they all care so much about their community and making it better.”