What is Spring Training?
Spring Training is a big deal here in Arizona. Its roots even date back to 1947, when the New York Giants moved their spring training operations to the original Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Valley is also the only place on the West Coast you can enjoy preseason baseball with lawn tickets as cheap as $15. The Cactus League, including 15 MLB teams, will play across 10 Valley stadiums this year between Saturday, February 22 and Tuesday, March 24.
Thanks to the onset of warmer weather, Spring Training becomes one of the best-loved traditions in Arizona and it’s not uncommon to take an afternoon off work to enjoy the festivities, whether you’re a diehard baseball fan or not. For those who do love baseball, Spring Training also offers lots of up-close opportunities to see players and even get autographs.
What teams can I expect to see during Spring Training?
The Cactus League Spring Training teams include many West Coast teams, as well as a few Midwest teams including the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.
Where are Spring Training games?
Many of The Cactus League Spring Training teams share stadiums, with ten stadiums in total. In the East Valley, there is the recently (somewhat new) and beautiful Sloan Park, which is the primary home of the Chicago Cubs and even boasts similar dimensions to Wrigley Field, as well as the recently renovated Hohokam Stadium and Tempe Diablo Stadium where the Angels have practiced for nearly 30 years.
Near Scottsdale, there’s the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Scottsdale Stadium. Salt River Fields has become well-known for its unique architecture and extensive food options. In the West Valley, there’s Camelback Ranch, Goodyear Ballpark, Peoria Sports Complex and Surprise Stadium. In Central Phoenix, the Milwaukee Brewers play at American Family Fields of Phoenix, and underwent major renovations for last year’s season.
The Cactus League Spring Training program is celebrated for how close the stadiums are to each other, making it possible to see several teams. In fact, no two stadiums are more than 47 miles from each other.
What else should I know?
There are no shortage of happenings in the Valley during Spring Training season. Many restaurants in close proximity to the stadiums even offer discounts for those who show their Spring Training tickets, so be sure to keep yours!
Innings Festival, an appropriately named alternative music festival, was even started in 2018 to celebrate Spring Training. This year’s festival will take place the second weekend of Spring Training on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1 and will feature top acts like Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, OAR and Portugal. The Man.
In addition to music, the festival also boasts appearances by MLB legends, with this year’s lineup including retired San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy, retired Kansas City Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen and Arizona Diamondbacks hometown hero Luis Gonzales.
Spring Training tickets and more information are available at www.mlb.com/spring-training/cactus-league.