Commentary

2007 Cactus League Overview

Updated: February 5, 2008, 4:12 PM ET
By Brett Pauly | ESPN SportsTravel senior editor

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    Even though spring seems forever away, especially in a place routinely under the cover of clouds, like Seattle, the fanciful notion of spring training becomes reality to Major League ballclubs shortly after the confetti falls and the bowl-game trophies are raised New Year's Day.

    "When you come back to the office on Jan. 2 and you look at a calendar and it's six weeks to spring training, it's, 'OK, here we go,'" said Randy Adamack, who has been a spokesman with the Mariners since, get this, the middle of Seattle's 1978 campaign.

    Randy Adamack
    Randy Adamack

    And go teams must, to tepid climes where the desert weather all but guarantees the daily workouts required of pitchers, catchers, batters, baserunners, Golden Gloves and those who aspire to be.

    And with them arrive the throngs of tagalongs who follow the dozen teams that compose the Cactus League and call Arizona home for much of February and all of March.

    "What spring training represents is, obviously, the beginning of spring. It gives people a reason to get out of town," said Adamack, 55, of Seattle. "The migration of fans is growing each year. Call Alaska Airlines and between Seattle and Phoenix the spring flights are booked."

    Spring training has grown up since the 1970s. There is more interest in baseball. The economy is better. And attendance, in general, is up.

    Spring ball was "discovered" by mainstream fans in the mid-1980s, Adamack maintains.

    "This is a great escape for fans to get out of town," he said, and his numbers prove the point.

    Average spring-training attendance for the Mariners:

  • 1979: 982
  • 1989: 4,000
  • 2004: 9,726

    And these fans are no slouches; they know an early arrival at a spring complex in and around Phoenix and Tucson means the year's best opportunity to interact with ballplayers.

    "Fans will not have unfettered access, but the players don't have their game faces on, yet," Adamack explained. "They are more relaxed and more likely to respond to a fan talking to them or approaching them.

    "When it's time for them to work, they are working — drills, batting practice. Once that's over with, the stress level is much different than the regular-season atmosphere."

    That means a greater shot at autographs, a short chat or even just a smile from a hero.

    Not only that, there also are kids from the farm system to scrutinize. At the Mariners' spring complex, for example, you can view 150 players from Seattle's minor-league system do their thing on 6 practice fields.

    So, venture forth, oh, ye sage aficionados, be as one with the arid vegetation and desert topography, and experience the spring regimen that is baseball.

    "It's just an opportunity to see a part of the game that you have heard about and possibly fantasized about … especially if you're living in the Northern climes," Adamack said.

    See below for information on each of the Cactus facilities. Action begins Feb. 28 and concludes March 31.

    Phoenix area
    Chicago CubsMesa
    Kansas City RoyalsSurprise
    Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimTempe
    Milwaukee BrewersPhoenix
    Oakland A's Phoenix
    San Diego PadresPeoria
    San Francisco GiantsScottsdale
    Seattle MarinersPeoria
    Texas RangersSurprise




    Tucson area
    (note: Tucson is approximately 115 miles SE of Phoenix)
    Arizona DiamondbacksTucson
    Chicago White Sox Tucson
    Colorado RockiesTucson

    • Official Cactus League Web site: http://www.cactusleague.com/


    Arizona Diamondbacks
    Tucson (since 1998)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Tucson Electric Park (11,500)
    2500 E. Ajo Way
    Tucson, AZ 85713
    520-434-1367

    Directions (from Tucson)
    Take I-10 East to the Kino Parkway North Exit.
    Once on Kino Parkway, take a right at the first light, to Ajo Way.
    Turn left on Ajo, follow to Forgeus St., turn right into Tucson Electric Park.

    Tickets
    Price range: $5 to $16
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 866-672-1343

    Did You Know?
    Tucson Electric Park, shared by the D-Backs and White Sox, is also the home of the AAA Tucson Sidewinders.



    Chicago Cubs
    Mesa (since 1979)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    HoHoKam Stadium (12,575)
    1235 N. Center St.
    Mesa, AZ 85201
    480-964-4467

    Directions (from Phoenix)
    Take 202 Loop east to Exit 12 (McKellips Road).
    Turn right on W. McKellips Road.
    Turn right onto N. Center Street.

    Tickets
    Price range: $6 to $22
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 800-905-3315

    Did You Know?
    An economic study in 2004 reported that Cubs fans deposit about $20 million annually into Mesa's economy during their spring (well, it's still winter in Chicago!) pilgrimages.



    Chicago White Sox
    Tucson (since 1998)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Tucson Electric Park (11,500)
    2500 E. Ajo Way
    Tucson, AZ 85713
    520-434-1367

    Directions (from Tucson)
    Take I-10 East to the Kino Pkwy North Exit.
    Once on Kino Parkway, take a right at the first light to Ajo Way.
    Turn left on Ajo, follow to Forgeus St., turn right into Tucson Electric Park

    Tickets
    Price range: $5 to $16
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 866-672-1343

    Did You Know?
    The White Sox are relative newbies to the Cactus League, arriving in conjunction with the completion of Tucson Electric Park prior to the 1998 season. From 1960-97, the Sox made their spring home in Sarasota, Fla.



    Colorado Rockies
    Tucson (since 1993)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Hi Corbett Field (9,500)
    3400 E. Camino Campestre
    Tucson, AZ 85716
    520-327-9467

    Directions (from I-10)
    Exit at Broadway, head east.
    Turn right on Randolph Way.
    Hi Corbett is located on the right-hand side.

    Tickets
    Price range: $2 to $15
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 800-388-7625

    Did You Know?
    Hi Corbett Field was constructed in the late 1930s, and was the spring
    training home of the Cleveland Indians from 1945-92. It was dubbed Hi Corbett Field in 1951, in honor of the state senator instrumental in bringing the Indians to town.



    Kansas City Royals
    Surprise, AZ (since 2003)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Surprise Stadium (10,500)
    15850 N. Bullard Ave.
    Surprise, AZ 85374
    623-594-5600

    Directions (from Phoenix)
    Take I-10 west to Hwy. 101 North.
    Take the Grand Avenue or Bell Road exits and head west.
    You'll pass through Sun City before you reach Surprise; follow the signs to the ballpark.

    Tickets
    Price range: $6 to $20
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 480-784-4444

    Did You Know?
    The Royals (with Texas) are the newest entry to the Cactus League, having spent the majority of their spring days in Fort Myers (1969-87) and Baseball City (1988-2002), Fla.



    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    Tempe (since 1993)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Tempe Diablo Stadium (9,315)
    2200 W. Alameda Drive
    Tempe, AZ 85282
    480-350-5205

    Directions (from Phoenix)
    Take Broadway Street exit off I-10.
    Travel west on Broadway to 48th Street; turn left.
    Tempe Diablo Stadium is a half-mile on the left.

    Tickets
    Price range: $5 to $24
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 480-784-4444

    Did You Know?
    Don't worry about the Angels leaving Tempe. Their current lease agreement extends through 2025. Tempe Diablo Stadium previously housed the Pilots/Brewers (1970-76) and the Mariners (1977-92).



    Milwaukee Brewers
    Phoenix (since 1998)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Maryvale Baseball Park (8,000)
    3600 N. 51st Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85031
    623-245-5500

    Directions (from Phoenix)
    Take I-10 West to 51st Ave. North exit. Turn right.
    Enter stadium parking lot on 51st Ave. between Thomas Rd. and Indian School Rd.

    Tickets
    Price range: $7 to $19
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 800-933-7890

    Did You Know?
    Since the team's inception as the Seattle Pilots, the Brewers have made their spring home in Arizona, jumping from from Tempe (1969-72) to Sun City (1973-85) to Chandler (1986-97) before moving to Phoenix in 1998.



    Oakland Athletics
    Phoenix (since 1979)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Phoenix Municipal Stadium (8,816)
    5999 E. Van Buren St.
    Phoenix, AZ 85008
    602-392-0074

    Directions (from downtown Phoenix)
    Head east on I-10.
    Take Hwy 202 to Priest Exit.
    Go north on Priest.
    Phoenix Municipal Stadium will be approximately one mile up from the highway.

    Tickets
    Price range: $6 to $24
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 877-493-2255

    Did You Know?
    Municipal Stadium was the site of the first spring training home run hit by Willie Mays. The stadium's foul poles were originally used at the Polo Grounds in New York.



    San Diego Padres
    Peoria (since 1994)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Peoria Sports Complex (10,133)
    16101 N. 83rd Ave.
    Peoria, AZ 85382
    800-409-1511

    Directions (from I-10)
    Take 99th Avenue Exit, go north.
    99th Avenue turns into Loop 101.
    Take the Bell Road Exit, go east to 83rd Avenue.
    Go south one block to stadium.

    Tickets
    Price range: $6 to $20
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 480-784-4444

    Did You Know?
    In 1994, the Peoria Sports Complex became the first facility shared by two franchises. Prior to its completion, the Padres trained in Yuma, Ariz.



    San Francisco Giants
    Scottsdale (since 1984)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Scottsdale Stadium (10,500)
    7408 E. Osborn Road
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    480-990-7972

    Directions (from Phoenix)
    Take I-10 East to Hwy 202 (Exit 147a).
    Follow 202 to Exit 3 (Washington St.).
    Follow signs to McDowell Rd. East.
    Follow McDowell about three miles to N. Scottsdale Rd.
    Left on Scottsdale to E. Drinkwater Blvd. Turn right.

    Tickets
    Price range: $8 to $26
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 877-473-4849

    Did You Know?
    The original Scottsdale Stadium, built in 1956, served as the former spring home of the Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, A's and Giants. The current facility, built by HOK, is one of the Cactus League's hottest tickets.



    Seattle Mariners
    Peoria (since 1994)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Peoria Sports Complex (10,133)
    16101 N. 83rd Ave.
    Peoria, AZ 85382
    800-409-1511

    Directions (from I-10)
    Take 99th Avenue Exit, go north.
    99th Avenue turns into Loop 101.
    Take the Bell Road Exit, go east to 83rd Avenue.
    Go south one block to stadium.

    Tickets
    Price range: $6 to $20
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 480-784-4444

    Did You Know?
    Before joining the San Diego Padres at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, the Mariners trained in Tempe, current home of the Angels.



    Texas Rangers
    Surprise, AZ (since 2003)
    Schedule

    Home Field
    Surprise Stadium (10,500)
    15850 N. Bullard
    Surprise, AZ 85374
    623-594-5600

    Directions (from Phoenix)
    Take I-10 west to Hwy. 101 North.
    Take the Grand Avenue or Bell Road exits and head west.
    You'll pass through Sun City before you reach Surprise; follow the signs to the ballpark.

    Tickets
    Price range: $6 to $20
    Buy online or from StubHub! or call 800-326-4000

    Did You Know?
    The Rangers (with Kansas City) are the newest entry to the Cactus League, having spent the majority of their spring days in Florida at Pompano Beach (1961-86) and Port Charlotte (1987-2002).

    Bill Evans, a freelance writer based in Milwaukee, provided the research for the team and stadium details.

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