Thousands of fans flock to Valley stadiums every spring to get their dose of sunshine, classic stadium foods and America’s favorite pastime.
Whether you’re looking forward to watching your favorite players step out on the field or simply looking to get your kids out and about, each stadium experience is unique unto itself.
Trying to decided which Cactus League venue to explore, here’s your guide to all the 2017 Valley stadiums:
The Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers share Camelback Ranch Glendale, which is actually in Phoenix. It covers 141 acres, making it the largest complex in the Cactus League.
Details: 10710 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 623-302-5000, camelbackranchbaseball.com.
Insider tips: There is a $3 surcharge on tickets purchased on the day of the game. Save money by purchasing in advance. Parking at the complex is free.
Food and drink: Food options include macaroni and cheese with a variety of toppings, plus fresh steamed tamales. Enjoy a cold beer or Three Amigos margarita at Four Peaks Patio on the stadium’s main concourse.
Things to look for: The main stadium features players’ retired numbers above each club’s bullpen. Adjacent to the Dodgers practice fields, fans can take photos with a life-size Tommy Lasorda bobblehead doll, a replica of the iconic diamond-shaped scoreboard at Dodger Stadium and an 8-foot Dodgers logo sculpture.
Meet-and-greets: The railings are low, so the left- and right-field corners of the stadium are good places to approach players on game days. The Dodgers enter from the left-field corner, the White Sox from the right. Fans could try to snag a signature on the paths from the Dodgers or Sox team buildings to the club’s practice diamonds during morning workouts, or outside the fenced team lots adjacent to team buildings.
Salt River Fields
This 13,000-seat stadium opened in 2011. There are 13 fields (including one main stadium) split between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.
Details: 7555 N. Pima Road, Salt River Reservation. 480-270-5000, saltriverfields.com.
Insider tips: Salt River Fields was the first Major League Baseball property built on an Indian reservation. Tribal influences incorporated throughout the park gives information about the teams, and the history of the Pima and Maricopa tribes. Restroom signs are in Maricopa, Pima and English.
Food and drink: Budweiser Bow Tie, Streets of New York Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, Salty Señorita and Sonoran BBQ will be on hand.
Where to sit: There isn’t a bad seat in the house. For the cost-conscious fan, the grass area is pretty expansive, even when it’s crowded. Bring a blanket or towel, as chairs are not permitted. Although the facility was built to maximize shade, free sunscreen is provided for fans along the Banana Boat Lawn. The always-busy hospitality levels, such as the Pepsi Patio, provide an amazing view of just about every mountain in the Valley, from the McDowells to Four Peaks to Red Mountain.
Meet-and-greets: Autographs are widely available. At each Diamondbacks home game, an autograph session is held in the left-field corner where two players will sign an hour before the first pitch. During batting practice at D-Backs and Rockies games, try to squeeze down to the front-row stadium seats near the bullpens. The Rockies have added an autograph session at the right field corner an hour before first pitch.
Family time: Salt River Fields is a family-friendly facility. With a Cold Stone Creamery Kids Fun Field near the first-base concourse, kids can play Wiffle ball with stadium personnel. Fans may also find some MLB coaches wandering over. Kids can enjoy running the bases after every Sunday home game.
Tempe Diablo Stadium
Built in 1969, Tempe Diablo is one of the most centrally located parks in the Cactus League. It’s home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Details: 2200 W. Alameda Drive. 480-350-5205, tempe.gov/diablo.
Insider tips: On game day, parking is $5 per car.
Food and drink: The stadium hosts more than a dozen vendors during spring training, but you can bring your own snacks. Fans are allowed to pack soft backpacks (smaller than 16 inches by 16 inches) filled with food prepared at home. Each person is allowed one sealed bottled water. Just don’t bring in take-out food from an outside restaurant; that’s verboten. At the park, for $5 to $10, expect to see footlong hot dogs, brats and sausages, and nachos in a souvenir Angels helmet.
Where to sit: If you’re looking for shade, you’re in luck. The upper pavilion in right field is shaded and offers an all-you-can-eat food package for $25 plus game ticket. Those tickets include table seating. And, yes, there is lawn seating.
Meet-and-greets: It’s always easier to get autographs as players come and go from practice than on game days. The best spot to catch players is to camp out near the walking fence in the west parking lot between the stadium and practice fields. Otherwise, try to linger near the right-field line by the team’s locker rooms.
Schedule: Los Angeles Angels
The renovated ballpark opened in 2015, serving as the new home to the Oakland Athletics.
Details: 1235 N. Center St., Mesa. 480-907-5489, athletics.com/spring.
Insider tips: The stadium was renovated in 2015 to welcome back the Oakland A’s. Stomper’s Kid Zone returns in 2017 behind the centerfield fence. The area features tee ball, bean bags, arts and crafts perfect for children 10 and younger. Fans can also view the players from the “knothole” fence on the practice field before game time. It will also feature onsite exhibits from Mesa Arts Center and OdySea Aquarium during select games.
Food and drink: Look for Bay Area favorite Ike’s Place Love and Sandwiches or a slice from local Spinato’s Pizzeria. Download the MLB Ballpark app and order Ike’s sandwiches directly from your mobile device and have them delivered to your seat. Pick up some Dickey’s BBQ, which is new to the ballpark this year. In addition to new options, Hohokam continues to have Mustache Pretzels where you get a disguise and snack in one.
Where to sit: Every seat in the ballpark has a premium view of the action. Shaded seats are available in the Terrace Box sections and are close to the action. If you’re looking for sun, the outfield berm is a great way to take in a game. Best of all, tickets to a game, whether right behind home plate or as a picnic on the berm, are pretty affordable.
Getting there: Parking is $5 a car on stadium grounds. Officials suggest you arrive at least two hours before the first pitch to see the team take batting practice in the main stadium and secure a parking spot.
Giving back: The stadium’s volunteer partner, the Mesa Hohokams, work as parking attendants and ushers. With the money earned through Spring Training, the Hohokam Foundation has given back to the community an average of $125,000 a year to benefit local youth.
Schedule: Oakland A’s
Maryvale Baseball Park
The Milwaukee Brewers call this west-side complex home. The stadium holds 10,000.
Details: 3600 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix. 623-245-5500, phoenix.gov/parks/sports/professional-sports/maryvale-baseball-park and brewers.com.
Insider tips: Most fans enter through Gate A, but if you want a shorter entrance line into the stadium, go to Gate B on the third base side of the stadium. Fans wishing to get autographs should go along the right field line, where the tunnel for both the Brewers and visiting team is located.
Food and drink: During the game, enjoy a Bratacho, which is made from kettle chips topped with Klement’s Bratwurst and all the good fixings of supreme nachos. A grill located behind home plate serves a variety of tasty fare including fire-braised smoked brisket sandwiches, BBQ smoked pulled chicken or pulled pork sandwiches and Klement’s Racing Sausage Sampler.
Retail: Check out the official Brewers team store, including the spring-training jersey from Majestic and on-field cap from New Era featuring the ball and glove logo in navy and retro yellow and the 2017 spring-training logo. Pick one up and score two free tickets with purchase (while supplies last). You’ll also find new Hank the Ballpark Pup merchandise, including a Hank plush dog, T-shirts, button and a children’s book chronicling Hank’s journey from a lost stray to Brew Crew symbol.
In-game promotions: Fans can get their pictures taken with the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages. The mascots that race at Miller Park in Milwaukee also take a turn at the Maryvale ballpark during the sixth inning. Get photos with Chorizo, Brat, Italian, Hot Dog or Polish on the concourse after the race. Other in-game promos include Lucky Seat, Sing for Your Supper and Brewers Trivia.
After decades of training at Hohokam Stadium, the Chicago Cubs got a new home in 2014: Sloan Park.
Details: 2330 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Mesa. 480-668-0500, sloanpark.com.
Insider tips: One of the park’s fun features is the left-field deck known as the Budweiser Rooftop. It features bleachers, a trellis and a party atmosphere. Tickets start at $24.
Food and drink: The food is a blend of Chicago-style cuisine and Southwestern chow. If that’s not enough variety for you, a citrus grove inside the park will host four to five food trucks each game. Giordano’s will be back in the ballpark this year, and you can also find Italian beef sandwiches at Portillo’s.
Hot tickets: Fans can enjoy a rematch of the World Series when the Chicago Cubs take on the Cleveland Indians on Feb. 26 and March 24.
Atmosphere: The facility was designed to reflect the team, so there are touches that should feel familiar to any Wrigley Field denizen: a brick pattern behind home plate, a cantilevered roof, outfield-lawn seating and a scoreboard reminiscent of Chicago’s north-side stadium.
Family time: The Riverview Park complex, adjacent to Sloan Park, boasts 300 feet of rock-climbing walls, a 50-foot climbing tower, a net-climbing structure, a splash pad, interactive play equipment and a path that connects it to Sloan Park. Come early, stay late and enjoy the whole complex.
Stay and play: Nestled between Sloan Park and Riverview Park is a new, 180-room Sheraton hotel with three swimming pools, a full-service salon, a steak house and an upscale-casual sports-themed restaurant.
The cozy facility is the spring-training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.
Details: 15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise. 623-222-2222, surprisespringtraining.com.
Insider tip: The Surprise Recreation Campus is called the Campus of Champions and is the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. Surprise Stadium is the only Cactus League Stadium that hosts two American League Champion teams over the past decade — the Kansas City Royals (2014, 2015) and Texas Rangers (2011, 2012).
Food and drink: There is a wide variety of food and beverages to choose from. Joining the traditional ballpark foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers are new items such as the Triple Play – a hot dog inside a hamburger wrapped in bacon and Grilled Corn on the Cob. Try ballpark favorites including fresh pork tenderloin sandwiches, waffle fries, fresh chicken strips, and macho nachos. To quench your thirst, enjoy a craft beer from local breweries including State 48, Four Peaks and Boulevard, premium bombers or souvenir Margarita on the Rocks. Food and drink items range from $3 to $11.
Where to sit: If a picnic atmosphere is your craving, bring a blanket and sit on the green grass berm overlooking right and left field. The Four Peaks Pavilion in right field offers an all-inclusive catered lunch, great premium seat and a drink ticket with a private bar. For $30, you receive entry to the pavilion, premium seat viewing overlooking right field, catered meal by area restaurants and one drink voucher. And, with two large-screen televisions, you don’t have to worry about missing any other sporting events, including March Madness.
Meet-and-greets: Rub shoulders with your favorite Ranger and Royal players and seek that coveted autograph. The practice fields open at 9:30 a.m. and entry is free. Purchasing a game ticket strategically for the ballgame down the right or left field is key, as players enter from the right and left field lines.
Promotions: Opening day, Saturday, Feb. 25 is the Surprise Sundancers Charity Game. Proceeds from the game go to the Sundancer Youth Scholarship program. Sunday, Feb. 26 is the Royals Hall of Fame Induction into the Surprise Recreation Campus. The Rangers will do the same Sunday, March 5. Both games will feature a special pre-game ceremony. The famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be making a visit to the Surprise Recreation Campus on March 25.
The home of the San Francisco Giants is in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, which means that games often attract large crowds. If you don’t have a ticket, be sure to check that your desired game isn’t sold out before you start driving; after all, the Giants have won three of the past seven World Series titles.
Details: 7408 E. Osborn Road. 480-312-2580, scottsdaleaz.gov/stadium/springtraining.
Insider tips: The stadium partners with the Scottsdale Charros, a community group that raises funds from banner and program advertising and by selling tickets to the Charro Lodge, an all-inclusive mostly shaded VIP area ($140-$160). The Charros donate more than $500,000 to East Valley charities each year.
Food and drink: If you’ve been to Old Town Scottsdale, you know there are scads of restaurants there. Citizen Public House has labeled itself a haven for Giants fans, but beyond that, options range from Dos Gringos for laid-back Mexican to other popular places like Kelly’s, Banderas and RnR. If you’re drinking at the game, be sure to try a 22-ounce bomber from Anchor Steam Brewing Co., a San Francisco original since 1896. Oh, and save room (and a breath mint) for an order of garlic fries. The stadium also sells smoked pulled pork and brisket. Just follow your nose.
Where to sit: If you’ve purchased grass seating, snag a blanket and settle in alongside other fans, some of whom will surely be sunbathing. Chairs aren’t allowed. If you’re looking for shade, head to the left-field corner where mature trees offer respite.
Meet-and-greets: Autograph seekers need to get to the game early. Hang out along the rail behind the first-base line near the Giants dugout and be ready to chat with the players.
Getting there: Don’t be intimidated by Old Town parking, or the limited access at the park. The city’s trolley has a stop at the stadium’s Gate E, allowing you to park pretty much anywhere along the route and hitch a free ride to and from the game. There’s also ample public parking within walking distance of the stadium.
Schedule:San Francisco Giants
Peoria Sports Complex
The first park in Arizona to host two teams, Peoria Sports Complex opened in 1994. The Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres renewed a 20-year lease in 2013.
Details: 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria. 623-773-8720, springtrainingpeoria.com.
Insider tips: With advance purchase only, get a discounted family package of 4 hot dogs, 4 small sodas, 4 bags of chips, 4 cookies and 4 lawn tickets for just $44. The deal is prorated for larger families. Discount is available in advance at ticket office windows only, and not available for some games. On March 20, bring your pooch to the game and sit in the PAW-tio section—lawn seating only. Dog tickets are available at the ticket office windows only. One hundred percent of dog admission supports the Arizona Humane Society. AHS will be onsite with information on their programs and services, merchandise and even a few adorable, adoptable dogs.
Food and drink: Upgrade your experience with the shaded All You Can Eat Terrace. A revolving daily menu keeps the options as fresh as the food, which ranges from Asian, Italian and Mexican cuisine to classic American fare. Seating and shade are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. All You Can Eat upgrades can be purchased for $20. Attendees can also upgrade their beverage experience at the shaded Craft Courtyard. Mix and match up to five of your preferred flavors of 1 oz. whiskey pours and 12 oz. samples of craft beer flavors from Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and the Desert Southwest while hanging out in comfortable lounge seating, or take your drink with you and catch all the game action from your seat. Craft Courtyard upgrades can be purchased for $20.
Fun for the kiddos: Peoria Cove is a youth play attraction that includes The Ballyard, a miniaturized baseball field so kids can play out their big league dreams. It also includes The Shipyard, a ship-themed playground featuring a splash pad, slides and climbs that will keep kids entertained.
Soldier Salute: Every game, all military active-duty, retired and civilian personnel can receive $2 off ticket with a valid military ID (limit 4). Discount available at the ticket office windows only.
Special events: Enjoy post-game Friday fireworks after night games on March 3 and 31. Fan Appreciation Day is March 27, and fans can get buy one, get one free outfield box, bleacher or lawn tickets. There will also be food and beverage specials.
One of the newer parks in the Cactus League, this is the spring training and player-development home of the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.
Details: 1933 S. Ballpark Way. 623-882-3120, goodyearbp.com.
Insider tips: New fan experiences in 2017 include Batting Practice Fan Zone, Player/Broadcaster Meet & Greet and an On-Field Workout, which may be added to a gameday ticket for $80-$130 per person.
Food and drink: You’ll find a Skyline Chili dog and Cleveland Polish Boy in the Queen City Grill and 1901 Charter Grille, the two main concession stands. The ballpark also stocks Bertman Ball Park Mustard. A unique new item – the taquito dog – is a must-try. The taquito dog is a hot dog wrapped in a flour tortilla with cheese, deep fried and topped with jalapenos, sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole. Other new items include a mac & cheese burger, Aloha burger, 2-pound Bavarian pretzel and a taco salad. Before all night games (March 10, 17, 22 and 27), the ballpark opens two hours early for happy hour, which includes food and drink specials.
Where to sit: The Right Field Pavilion is the trendiest spot at the ballpark, with a brand new bar, lounge furniture and nine big-screen TV’s. Fans may purchase group tickets that include the buffet, or just mingle on the top level if they have seats elsewhere. For ages 3 to 12, you can find half-price tickets for kids in Outfield Box, Outfield Reserved and Berm seating. If you’d like to get a little classier, reserve a club or premium-field box seat, where you get a wider, padded seat and your own server.
Family time: The Estrella Falls Kids Zone is free and includes inflatable baseball activities and the kid-size Wiffle ball field. Sundays are kids days, with character meet and greets, a pregame visit from Wildlife World Zoo and kids can run the bases after the game. Family fun packs are available every game for just $40 – which includes four berm tickets, four small sodas and a large pizza. Must be purchased prior to game day.
Giving back: March 29 has been designated as a charity game, with all the Indians’ and Reds’ proceeds going to Homeless Youth Connection and New Life Center. At the team shop, customers can round up their purchases to the nearest dollar, with the amount of the rounding benefitting the Southwest Valley YMCA.
Military appreciation: Active duty, retired military and Guard/Reserve personnel with valid ID receive a free game ticket in Outfield Box, Outfield Reserved or Berm seating and may purchase up to four additional tickets in those areas at the group discount. Veterans with proper identification may purchase a ticket in those areas at half price, and receive the group discount on up to four additional tickets.
Special events: Raisel Iglesias and Corey Kluber bobbleheads will be given away to the first 2,000 fans on March 10 and 11, respectively. Fireworks are scheduled post-game on March 10 and 17.
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