Each spring, the Major League Baseball (MLB) teams that make up the Cactus League spend about a month in Arizona for Spring Training. This is the time of year before the season begins for team managers to take a look at the players and determine the final team rosters based on their performance.
The great thing about Spring Training games is that you'll get to see many of your favorite team's players during one game and you may be closer to them than possible at their home stadiums.
Before you head to Spring Training in Arizona, there are important things to know about getting tickets, where to go to see the games and even strategies to get autographs.
There are 15 MLB teams that come to Arizona each year for a league affectionately referred to as the Cactus League. The teams in the Cactus League regularly train and compete at their own "home" stadiums throughout the months of February and March.
When it comes to getting tickets to Spring Training, which are often far cheaper than regular season tickets, it can be quite difficult to get seats for games played by the champion of the prior baseball season or those sitting on top of their pre-season standings, so planning ahead might be necessary if you want to see a popular team. During this time of year, the resorts are full and even short-term vacation rental homes are hard to find at the last minute.
Schedules, ticket information, and stadium information for each of the teams that play Spring Training baseball in Arizona can be found on the Cactus League website.
Each baseball team has a different starting date for ticket sales. Season ticket plans are usually available as soon as the team announces the Spring Training schedule.
In the Phoenix area, March weather can be hot and sunny, making shorts and t-shirts suitable game attire. On the fewer, cool and rainy days, you may need an umbrella.
The average high temperature for the month of March is 79 F. The average low is 45 F. In March the days can be warm but as soon as the sun goes down, it gets cold quickly.
In Arizona, there are 10 Spring Training stadiums where the teams of the Cactus League play spread across the Greater Phoenix area. Each stadium has unique features, so it's good to look at the stadium information and tips beforehand. The most distant stadiums are about 50 miles apart from one another.
As with any place where people gather for an event, strict security measures are in place in for Spring Training. Gates for Cactus League games are usually open about two hours before game time to allow plenty of time for the security screening before the game. While many items are banned across the board, like weapons and glass containers, some stadiums offer special exceptions for things like lawn chairs while others are more restrictive.
All bags will be inspected before they are permitted into the stadium. You can usually bring in some light snacks and creature comforts to ensure you have a great day at the ballpark; just check the stadium website prior to going to the game.
Practice sessions are open to the public although spectators might have to look through a chain link fence to watch the ballplayers go through their routines.
All the teams practice prior to the start of the Spring Training season as well as in between games. The pitchers and catchers usually report for first practices in mid-February, and the other position players report the following week. Typically, practice sessions begin between 9 and 10 am.
One of the most popular activities during the Spring Training season in Arizona is getting autographs, because the stadiums are smaller and the players are more accessible. Additionally, some major league players, past and present, live in Arizona all year round and have been spotted at practice sessions or even at certain restaurants. During Spring Training, you'll also benefit from the fact that players are more open to fan interactions and giving autographs.
Sports bars are popular places to go after a day of cheering for your favorite team during Spring Training. You may even see some of the ballplayers at these sports bars after the game. Scottsdale, especially, has some fun sports bars, some with great sports memorabilia collections.