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One interesting fact about each Cactus League site

What is there to know about these towns, other than the fact that an MLB team conducts Spring Training there? Here's a fact about all nine Arizona cities on the Cactus League circuit. (Yesterday I looked at the Grapefruit League.)

Glendale, Ariz. (Dodgers, White Sox) -- Glendale is home to not just the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes, but also a yearly chocolate festival called the "Glendale Chocolate Affaire."

Goodyear, Ariz. (Indians, Reds) -- Goodyear got its name from the Goodyear Tire Company. The town was founded by the company after purchasing farmland there to grow cotton for tire threads.

Mesa, Ariz. (Cubs) -- With a population of 439,000, the population of Mesa proper exceeds that of the cities of Atlanta, Miami and Minneapolis. It is by far the most populous suburb in the U.S.

Peoria, Ariz. (Mariners, Padres) -- Although it went bankrupt last year, Peoria was briefly the home of the world's first hybrid solar-thermal power plant. Its array of parabolic dishes were recently auctioned off.

Phoenix, Ariz. (Athletics, Brewers) -- Founded by Confederate veteran Jack Swilling, early names for Phoenix included Pumpkinville, Swilling's Mill and Stonewall. Phoenix was also the site of a 1997 UFO sighting reported by thousands, including then-Governor Fife Symington.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Ariz. (D-backs, Rockies) -- As the D-backs and Rockies share a stadium here, two distinct Indian tribes, the Pima and the Maricopa, share this federally recognized tribal area that also includes two casinos and 19,000 acres of nature preserve.

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Giants) -- Scottsdale is known for art, both high (Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West) and low (CBS' short-lived Tuesday Night Book Club, designed to be a network-TV version of Real Housewives of Orange County).

Surprise, Ariz. (Rangers, Royals) -- Flora Mae Statler, Surprise's founder, named it such because she said she "would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much."

Tempe, Ariz. (Angels) -- Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium has been home to the Arizona State football team, the Fiesta Bowl, and the Arizona Cardinals from 1988-2005. It was also the site of a papal visit in 1987 -- which only happened after Pope John Paul II requested that all instances of the word "Devil" around the stadium be covered up.

-- Dan Wohl /