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With the arrival of spring we leave the quiet and cold of winter behind to enjoy the splendor of the earth’s awakening and all that spring embodies. For baseball fans this includes spring training and the unique opportunity to enjoy informal, behind the scene encounters with favorite teams and players.
Baseball’s spring training typically begins in February, when catchers and pitchers report to camp to begin workouts, and lasts through March or into early April. Some teams train at their spring ballparks; many train at nearby training fields. Both parks and fields are usually open to the public and host countless devoted fans and non-baseball persons who gather to watch team dynamics in advance of the major league season. What makes spring training especially exciting is the opportunity it provides for new players to shine and veterans to prove themselves ever worthy, or step aside.
History to Get You Hooked…
The first spring training happened in 1886 when the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs) went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, an ideal location to shake off the winter doldrums and prepare for the upcoming season. This event was the catalyst for other major league teams to adopt a similar philosophy and move their teams to optimal training grounds for spring workouts. Eventually, California, Florida and Arizona, with their sunny and warm climates, were able to lure the baseball teams’ training camps to their states. Today there are 2 major leagues, the Grapefruit League in Florida and the Cactus League in Arizona. Both leagues currently have 15 teams each.
The greater Phoenix area is home to The Cactus League which includes the following baseball teams and locations:
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale
- Chicago Cubs – Sloan Park in Mesa
- Chicago White Sox – Camelback Ranch in Glendale
- Cincinnati Reds – Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear
- Cleveland Indians – Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear
- Colorado Rockies – Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale
- Kansas City Royals – Surprise Stadium in Surprise
- Los Angeles Angels – Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Camelback Ranch in Glendale
- Milwaukee Brewers – American Family Fields in Phoenix
- Oakland Athletics – Hohokam Park in Mesa
- San Diego Padres – Peoria Stadium in Peoria
- San Francisco Giants – Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale
- Seattle Mariners – Peoria Stadium in Peoria
- Texas Ranger – Surprise Stadium in Surprise
Distance and travel time between baseball fields, especially in the Cactus League, can be short which means it’s possible for visitors to see more than one team workout or play on any given day. Keep in mind that workout schedules are not strict: stop and start times will vary with interruptions to schedules occurring due to team meetings and other factors. Once exhibition games actually start, practices are usually shorter and training times even less predictable.
In addition to spring training practices and games, baseball lovers can watch the Arizona State University Sun Devils play college baseball at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in downtown Phoenix and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix’s major league team, play at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Batters up, hands down: the greater Phoenix area is the place to be if you love baseball!
It’s not spring yet, however, it’s not too soon to check your calendar and begin making arrangements to visit next year’s spring training events. Interested guests may find this link helpful for planning to see your favorite teams in action: Cactus League Trip Planner
Arizona Vacation Home Rentals has a variety of properties that are near spring training activities. A few homes are within walking distance.
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