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A Baseball Fan's Guide to Spring Training in Arizona

Where to see MLB's Cactus League teams warming up for the 2020 season

Cactus League spring training baseball, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale, Arizona

Dan Leeth / Alamy Stock Photo

Spring training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

What's not to like about a trip to Arizona in late winter? You can see your favorite players in more intimate settings and for lower prices, and take some time to explore the desert Southwest when most days are sunny, with temperatures in the balmy 70s. The Cactus League's spring training games are centered around Phoenix, and run from Feb. 21 to March 24. You can buy tickets online before you go.

Some of the teams also offer special “fan experience packages,” such as the Indians Player/Broadcaster Meet & Greet, where you get an hour to meet two or three players and a member of the Indians broadcast team, take part in a Q and A with them and get their autographs, for $105.

There's plenty to do in the area when you're not watching games: Downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row features independent boutiques and top-notch coffee shops. Mesa is home to the Arizona Museum of Natural History, where you'll find everything from massive dinosaur skeletons to displays about our solar system. And, just north of Phoenix is Scottsdale, home to Taliesin West, the former desert home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright that's now an architecture school, a National Historic Landmark, and a beautiful spot to visit. Also in Scottsdale: Check out the second-floor hallway at Hotel Valley Ho for old photos of Marilyn Monroe, baseball star Ted Williams and other celebrities.

Some basics on where to catch each team in action:

Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale

About six miles from Scottsdale Stadium, which the San Francisco Giants call home every training season, this park was built in partnership with Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on Native American land. It's a huge complex spread over 140 acres, with different seating areas for games, including 4,000 lawn seats, and a range of concessions. Try the berry kabobs for a sweet treat; chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas on a stick (there are other good vegetarian options, including wraps, salads and bean burritos).

Diamondbacks tickets

Rockies tickets

Chicago Cubs

Sloan Park in Mesa

The stadium is one of the largest of the spring training facilities, offering Cubs fans a rooftop, left-field party deck that's an homage to Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ beloved home field, and grassy berms that can hold some 4,200 people. Food options, which are a little pricier than at other parks, include Chicago-style hot dogs and pizza (of course), Polish sausage and plenty of beer.

Tickets

Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers

Camelback Ranch in Glendale

A short drive northwest of Phoenix, Camelback Ranch is surrounded by a park with a two-acre lake and walking trails. Inside, you'll find a large, grassy berm behind the outfield walls, with space for 3,000 general admission patrons — just bring extra sunscreen, because there's little shade. If you're tired of hot dogs (or “Dodger Dogs,” as they're called during Los Angeles's games), try tamales, burritos or pastrami sandwiches. You're quite close to the Gila River Arena, home of the NHL Arizona Coyotes, so you might be able to catch a hockey game, too.

White Sox tickets

Dodgers tickets

Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians

Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear

A few miles northwest of Phoenix, the Reds’ and Indians’ stadium offers nice views of the White Tank and Estrella mountains. Visitors are welcomed by a 60.5-foot-high (that's also the distance between a pitcher's mound and home plate in baseball, by the way) baseball spire outside the park that's fashioned out of steel and fiberglass. Hungry fans can try concessions such as Burgertopia or Hot Dog Nation, and there are often food trucks with offerings like grilled cheese and tacos parked outside.

Reds tickets

Indians tickets 

The Kansas City Royals' Alex Gordon is congratulated after scoring during spring training

Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

KC Royals' Alex Gordon after scoring a single during a game at Surprise Stadium.

Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers

Surprise Stadium in Surprise

About 25 miles northwest of Phoenix, this stadium is surrounded by plenty of parking and its dining options along the left field line feature foods on a midway much like you would find at a county fair. Look for everything from corn dogs to snow cones to funnel cakes. Bring a blanket and stretch out on the grassy berms, which can hold about 3,600 fans.

Royals tickets 

Rangers tickets 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Diablo Stadium in Tempe

There's a rocky hill behind the stadium (a couple miles southeast of the Phoenix airport) giving it an intimate feel, though some fans of the team aren't big fans of Diablo — many have complained about the lack of shade and expensive parking. Try the food tents near the left field corner for fare that goes beyond basic burgers and hot dogs.

Tickets 

Milwaukee Brewers

American Family Fields of Phoenix

"Brew Crew” fans like their encased meats: hot dogs, Italian sausages and, naturally, bratwursts can be found grilling at ballpark concession stands. And look for the in-game “sausage race,” which features folks dressed up in internationally themed hot dog costumes racing around the bases.

Tickets 

Oakland Athetics

Hohokam Stadium in Mesa

Hohokam, former spring training site of the Cubs, offers good sight lines and plenty of lawn seating behind the right field and left field fences, but check out the shaded terrace level for the most comfortable viewing. Besides “regular” hot dogs, look for the Oakland Dog, adorned with bacon bits and green chili mac and cheese, or the California Dog, which features guacamole (oh, how California), tomatoes and Monterey Jack cheese.

Tickets 

Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners signs autographs for fans during a spring training camp at Peoria Sports Complex

Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

The Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki signing autographs at Peoria Sports Complex.

San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners

Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria

The stadium here has some of the best food in the Cactus League, with everything from Japanese noodles to fish tacos and tri-tip beef sandwiches. The ballpark is about a half-hour drive from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix — and not far from Sahuaro Ranch Park, a former ranch that's now a municipal park with walking trails, a rose garden, historic buildings and peacocks.

Padres tickets

Mariners tickets

San Francisco Giants

Scottsdale Stadium

Just a few blocks from downtown Scottsdale, this is a beautiful park with lots of surrounding trees and a large grassy area in the outfield that can hold some 4,000 fans. (The Giants have been here for 35 years, so the city has approved $50.6 million in renovations to begin in 2020.) Try the garlic fries, which are a specialty at Giants’ regular season games at Oracle Park.

Tickets

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