By Matt Seli
After 108 years of gut-wrenching losses, less-than memorable seasons and infamous curses, the Chicago Cubs finally brought the Commissioner’s Trophy home to the ever-loyal fans of the city’s North Side.
While the party hasn’t stopped in the Windy City, spring is now upon us, which brings a new season of hope for fans of all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Whether you are a Cubs fan or a fan of any one of the teams that call the Valley of the Sun home to their spring training programs, it’s baseball time in the desert and you’re invited!
Sloan Park, the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs, opened in 2014, making it one of the newest facilities in the Cactus League. Known to supporters as Wrigleyville West, it isn’t hard to see why with its replica of Wrigley Field’s iconic marquee, nearby streets named after their Wrigleyville counterparts, and rooftop bars and outfield berms that pay homage to Wrigley Field. Located in Mesa, you won’t have far to travel to get to a game once you land at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
In addition to the Chicago Cubs, the Oakland A’s also call Mesa their spring training home. Originally opened by the A’s in 1977, HoHoKam Stadium welcomed the club back after spending their most recent spring sessions in Phoenix.
If you are spending your trip in the up-and-coming west part of the Valley of the Sun, you’ll have plenty of venues nearby to catch a game. Fans of both the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians can head on over to Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear to see their teams in action. Here, fans can not only enjoy the game from their seats, but also throughout the concourse level that wraps completely around the ball park.
Camelback Ranch in Glendale is also home to two Major League ball clubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the White Sox of Chicago’s south side. Located just west of Glendale’s popular entertainment district, Westgate, Camelback Ranch offers great views of Major League Baseball framed by stunning mountain landscapes in the background.
Surprise Recreation Campus in Surprise is the Cactus League training ground for the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals as well as their American League rival, the Texas Rangers. These two teams have made some noise in baseball’s postseason as of late and it has started here each season.
San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners fans can watch their favorite players get ready for the regular season at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria. Boasting craft beer brands from both the Pacific Northwest and Southern California, appropriately-aged fans from either of the teams will feel right at home watching their boys of summer.
The Milwaukee Brewers call Phoenix’s Maryvale Baseball Park home during the spring and are looking to start things off on the right foot after a disappointing 2016 campaign. Playing in one of Major League Baseball’s toughest divisions, the National League Central, they’ll need a strong spring season to prepare for the grueling summer that awaits.
If you’re a Los Angeles Angels fan from out of town and want to see your team up close, Tempe Diablo Stadium is where you’ll want to be during your visit. One of the easiest stadiums to get to with access from two major freeways, the stadium is nestled within the Twin Buttes mountain base.
Calling the heart of Scottsdale home during the Cactus League, the always-to-be-reckoned-with San Francisco Giants start their quest for the postseason at Scottsdale Stadium. Although it isn’t an “even-year”, the Giants always seem to find a way to battle until the end for a postseason appearance with their all-star pitching rotation.
Continuing with the two-team trend that many of the West Valley stadiums have, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is the spring home field for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Located just across the street from Talking Stick Resort, this new stadium raises the bar for major league baseball spring training with all of its modern amenities and features.
With intimate stadiums, affordable tickets, tasty concessions and the amazing Arizona weather, the Cactus League is the perfect excuse to get out to the desert this spring. For more information, game times and tickets, visit cactusleague.com. It’s time to play ball!
Plan your Phoenix vacation at allegiant.com.