By Matt Seli
Since its first season in 1947, Cactus League baseball has become a springtime favorite not just for those who call Arizona home, but for those folks across the country who are ready for some warmer weather and watching the game’s best. Last year saw 1.9 million fans come through the turnstiles! This western version of Spring Training is the pre-season home to 15 of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams, spread across 10 Phoenix-area stadiums. If your Arizona getaway falls between March 1 to April 2 be sure to get out to a game or two while catching some rays and maybe even a foul ball. Here’s a breakdown of each Cactus League venue and the teams that call them home during Spring Training.
For the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks fan or Colorado Rockies enthusiasts, there’s Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. Opened in 2011, this stadium is new to both teams as well as the Cactus League. See a game here and you just might catch Major League Baseball’s hottest offseason acquisition, newly signed Arizona starting pitcher Zach Greinke.
An even newer venue and possibly the most visited among out-of-town enthusiasts, Sloan Park in Mesa opened in 2014 and is home to the Chicago Cubs during Spring Training. Hot off their National League Championship Series appearance in 2015, the Cubbies look to pick up from where they left off when they hit the field for Cactus League play.
Chicago’s other pride and joy, the White Sox, have their Spring Training home at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Located on the west side of the greater Phoenix area, this facility is also home to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Complete with 13 full baseball fields on property, the main stadium holds 13,000 fans.
In the west valley in Goodyear, both the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians call Goodyear Park home each year prior to Opening Day. Ohio and Cincinnati natives will appreciate the variety of food concepts, including Cleveland inspired mustard and Skyline Chili.
Another stadium with two teams is Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. Both the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers call this gem home during Cactus League play, and what a gem it is, winning numerous awards including USA Today’s 2012 Best Spring Training Facility. To top it off, the Royals look to start 2016 just as they left off 2015, when they won their first World Series since 1985.
Towards the east valley of Phoenix lies Tempe and the Tempe Diablo Stadium, Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Although the 9,600 seating capacity is second lowest in the Cactus League, Tempe Diablo Stadium, with its picturesque mountain views and convenient location off two major freeways, is always one of the most attended throughout Spring Training.
Where other than Milwaukee can you see life-size sausages race around a baseball diamond? Maryvale, of course, at the Milwaukee Brewer’s Spring Training home in Maryvale Baseball Park. Opened in 1998, this Cactus League stadium holds 10,000 “Brew Crew” fans and serves up tasty bratwursts, just like in Wisconsin!
Located in the heart of Mesa, the Oakland A’s play their spring ball at Hohokam Stadium. Opened in 1977, Hohokam may be one of the older ball parks in the Cactus League, but the renovations keep it looking like new every season, highlighted by the largest HD scoreboard display in the league.
Those looking to catch the San Diego Padres or Seattle Mariners during Spring Training will want to head over to Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria. Opened in 1994, this stadium holds over 12, 000 fans and a fresh renovation was just completed last year—improving the fan experience through seat upgrades, a new team store and additional restrooms.
The Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants is none other than Scottsdale Stadium. Located in scenic Scottsdale, it’s no wonder the Giants have extended their lease through to 2025.
With so many teams playing in Arizona this spring, baseball fans can take advantage of more than just rooting for the team they call their own. They can see new ballparks, try new foods, and enjoy spending time with friends and family soaking up some sun. Play ball!