Has anyone ever been out to Phoenix/Scottsdale area for Spring Training? I'm looking to come out and spend a week in the area and try to catch a few games (and Coyotes as well) and just spend some time away from the cold in Toronto. Just looking for a bit of tips/hints on what to expect. Are there access to the complexes during non-game times where I could potentially watch (and take pictures) of the players during their workouts?
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Well I live here and typically go to a game or 2 every year.
The teams may or may not practice at the stadium where they play. There are practice fields near the stadiums too, which may be used. I think it was in 2010 when I was out riding, I saw a team practicing on fields in Chandler, when there hasn't been a team there for about 10 years (the Brewers left in 1997).
If you want to see the players up close, my suggestion is to go to a game early, and/or buy seats close to the field. The teams will usually practice on the stadium field before the game, and they take time for photos, autographs, etc before the game starts.
You'd usually have more of a chance seeing a team at one of the not-so-busy stadiums and/or not-so-popular opponent. Nearly all of the Giants and Cubs home games in Scottsdale/Mesa sell out, but it may be a little easier to see them say in Maryvale. Avoiding Fri-Sat-Sun usually helps too. Actually, I rather like the Maryvale stadium, close enough to get to it and decent freeway access, prices aren't too horrible, and it just seems more down to earth. The downtown Scottsdale stadium can get crazy... I went to a game at Salt River Field this year, and it was good, but on the verge of being too popular.
I agree with everything that aztimm said. I'd add that unless you're a die hard Dodgers or White Sox fan, the Camelback Ranch Stadium is not that interesting. Yeah it's shiny and new (2nd year in service this past spring) but it's just so so. Scottsdale Stadium is great for people watching as there seems to be an inordinate number of Scottsdaleites strutting around the stadium aimlessly trying to look their best. My favorite park is Peoria where the Padres and Mariners share a facility. Free parking, good freeway access, lots of local restaurants and things around the ballpark.
As spring training gets closer, make sure to check out the Cactus League web page, that usually has some pretty detailed information about schedules, facilities, etc. Also, the Arizona Republic will usually do a pretty in depth review of the stadiums each year so make sure to read up on that also.
Thanks for the heads up on Arizona Republic, I will definitely keep my eye out on that.
I have no doubts I plan to attend games, and since I'm there for the week I'll attend the weekday games and try to avoid the major clubs.
How is access to the training complexes? I was checking out some sites and the D'backs play their games out of the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and it appears there are outer diamonds which are used for training. Will I be able to get access to those fields to just roam?
I live right near Peoria. Yes you have access to practice firlds and can go see players practice, the padres and mariners. Caught a couple of simulated minor large games last year, as well as seeing the big league players practice.
Used to live near Scottsdale. They have a lot of cool restaurants and shopping center Scottsdale fashion square near stadium.
If you're a die hard baseball fan google search Arizona fall league which is top minor league prospects in October and November.
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A few points to chew on:
Mariner's start selling Spring Tixs on January 7th. If you are wanting to see the Cubs or Giants there I would buy tixs than as these will go fast. For weekday games I can usually buy at face value from a scalper on the parking lot. Just be careful about what you are buying. Fakes happen.
Also the M's charge for parking now and have for the last few years.
The food @ Peoria isn't bad but I have not been overly enamored of the food selection in the Brewer's park (beer here too is limited) and at the Dodger's park.
We hit the Salt River park several times and I thought the food here was quite good.
Also even on a busy day I have often walked up to the ticket office and asked for the best available tixs and found myself down in the first or second row behind Home Plate.
Look at where you want to stay and make a rez soon. If the weather in the north gets white and cold rooms can be scarce...
Lastly: Bring sunscreen!
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