Cactus guide: Spring Training in Arizona

August 5th, 2019

Arizona D-backs: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale
Salt River Fields has become a must-see ballpark during Spring Training not just for the stadium's unique architecture, extensive food options and sun-soaked grass berms, but for how close fans can get to the players on the team's practice fields located beyond left field. Players walk through fans to get from one field to another and there is also an autograph area that is reserved for kids only.

Chicago Cubs: Sloan Park, Mesa
One of the best things about the Cubs' Spring Training ballpark is how close it is to the team's complex. You can arrive early, park your car, then walk to the complex to watch a workout before first pitch. Some fans like to tailgate before games, but there is good food inside, especially if the food trucks are present (they park behind right field). You'll see hints of Wrigley Field, including a replica marquee perfect for a photo backdrop. Plenty of shaded seats. If the kids need a diversion, they can always play at nearby Riverview Park. Sloan Park, the largest stadium by capacity (15,000) in the Cactus League, opened in 2014.

Chicago White Sox: Camelback Ranch, Glendale
The outfield berm seats at Camelback Ranch -- which opened in 2009 -- are a popular in-game location, while fans who sit down the first-base line have a good chance to get autographs from White Sox players walking on to the field around game time. Some seats have a view of South Mountain. Fans also can get a morning look at White Sox players working out at their back fields of their complex or at "B" games, where some of the White Sox top prospects will be playing once Cactus League action begins. As far as a hidden food gem, check out the barbecue cart up from home plate on the concourse.

Cincinnati Reds: Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear
What makes Goodyear Ballpark a strong spring destination for Reds games is that it caters to fans of all ages. In a grassy area behind the first-base seats, there is a mini field for kids to play ball and inflatables where they can hit Wiffle balls and pitch. A short distance away behind the right-field wall is the party pavilion, where fans can get shade from the sun, some food and adult beverages while watching the game. Fans sitting along the third-base side by the Reds dugout area have increased chances to get autographs from players before and after games. And between innings, there are numerous chances for fans to win prizes by answering trivia, sumo wrestling and more.

Cleveland Indians: Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear
Goodyear Ballpark is designed to give fans clear views, great access to players and a day of baseball that does not need to be limited to the game. Not only is the Indians' training facility a short walk or drive from the stadium, but the Reds' complex is right next door. Many fans will take in morning workouts and then wander down to the ballpark for an afternoon game. One great feature for kids is a miniature baseball field down the right-field line. The Estrella and White Tank mountains provide a nice backdrop for a park on the western edge of greater Phoenix.

Colorado Rockies: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale
When gates open for Rockies games at Salt River Fields, you'll see folks sprinting. We're not talking players on the field, but fans. Their destination is a patio area near the bullpen in the right-field corner, home to the Salty Senorita -- known for its margaritas for the adults, and chicken and fish tacos and fresh Mexican food for fans of all ages. Fans run to reserve tables, chairs and umbrellas in the bullpen patio area -- which is open to anyone with a ticket. Fans can set their food and beverages on a drink rail at the bullpen and watch relief pitchers work, close enough to hear the explosion of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt. One of the ushers, Joe Latino, a former teacher and coach from the Denver area who has never missed a game at Salt River Fields, makes sure that the young fans have opportunities to meet their favorite Rockies. "He almost always gets the kids a ball or an autograph or something -- he's fabulous at that," said Dave Dunne, general manager at the park.

Kansas City Royals: Surprise Stadium, Surprise
If you're a Royals fan hoping to catch your heroes in Spring Training, you'll be amazed at the accessibility and coziness of their spring home. Located just 10 minutes east of Highway 303, Surprise Stadium likely is the easiest stadium to get to in the Valley. And once there, Royals fans will find plenty of close parking and a friendly stadium staff. Surprise Stadium also is home to the Rangers, and both teams have their practice fields conveniently located behind the stadium -- just a short walk to get an up-close look at the players or seek autographs. The stadium itself is a fan's delight -- open-air concourses and plenty of room in the outfield berms to sit and take in some sunshine.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe
Founded in 1968, Tempe Diablo Stadium has been the Angels' Spring Training home since 1993. Though it is one of the older ballparks in the Cactus League, extensive renovations were carried out in 2005 to keep it aging well. The main field -- which was christened Gene Autry Field in 1999 in honor of the former Angels owner -- is set against a memorable backdrop, with a hillside butte jutting out toward left field. Popular concessions include the nachos, which are heaped inside an Angels helmet, and the Tempe Tap Room, a beer tent that serves Four Peaks craft beer, among other offerings.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Camelback Ranch, Glendale
Along the lake that separates the Dodgers and White Sox facilities at Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers have a Legends Walk. Included are 10 All-Star panels paying tribute to Tom Lasorda, Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Piazza, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Duke Snider and Shawn Green. There also are three-foot diameter MVP baseballs paying tribute to Jake Daubert, Dazzy Vance, Dolph Camilli, Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Steve Garvey, Kirk Gibson and Clayton Kershaw.

Milwaukee Brewers: American Family Fields of Phoenix
A massive state-of-the-art renovation of the Brewers' home in Phoenix was completed in 2019, one that will keep the club anchored at the park through at least 2042. In addition to an overhaul of player facilities, the park features a new entry plaza behind home plate, anchored by the retail store, plus a new scoreboard. "We looked at every facility out here and tried to take the best of everything we saw," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said.

Oakland Athletics: Hohokam Stadium, Mesa
The recently renovated Hohokam Stadium has quickly become one of the more enjoyable Spring Training experiences in the Cactus League. Fans are treated to a great guest experience with Bay Area-favorite food and beverage options -- including Ike's Place sandwiches -- along with outfield berm seating that brings them close to the action, all set to the backdrop of beautiful mountain views.

San Diego Padres: Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria
Entering its 26th season, the Peoria Sports Complex has long been a top spring destination for Padres fans, Mariners fans and baseball fans alike. The ballpark features a cozy, up-close atmosphere with a number of in-house attractions -- among which the left-field pavilion stands out. The pavilion, a massive tented area that overlooks the visiting bullpen, features lounge seating, games and access to a restaurant and bar. It's easily one of the most enjoyable ways to take in a Cactus League game.

San Francisco Giants: Scottsdale Stadium
Scottsdale Stadium is a preferred Cactus League destination for many reasons: The ample availability of lawn seating, the proximity of seats to the field, and the variety of taverns and restaurants within walking or shuttle-bus distance that fans can visit before or after a game. A truly unique spring feature, however, is the access fans have to Giants players. Autograph seekers congregate in an area outside the clubhouse that allows players to come and go without fuss yet brings fans close enough to them to make polite requests for signatures. In this setting, the players comply more often than not, and most folks go home happy.

Seattle Mariners: Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria
Peoria Stadium, which has hosted the Mariners since 1994, is an easily accessible venue for fans looking to experience both Cactus League games and the chance to see the team working out earlier in the day on the adjacent Peoria Sports Complex practice fields. Located just off Interstate 10 on the west side of the Valley, the recently renovated 12,000-seat facility offers plenty of parking, a multitude of food options beyond just normal ballpark fare both on site and at nearby Bell Road restaurants, and a new kids' area for families to play before and during games.

Texas Rangers: Surprise Stadium, Surprise
The beauty of Surprise Stadium and Recreation Campus is the open-air intimacy of the ballpark and the compact design of the facility, which allows easy access to the practice fields. This facility was designed specifically to allow two baseball teams to get ready for the season and allow their fans to get an up-close look at the players at work while seeking autographs. Parking is easy, the back fields are right behind the main stadium and the open-air concourses allow fans to walk around without missing any action.