Cactus League opens gates for spring training Feb. 23
Feb. 22, 2018
Baseball’s spring training season is begins this month, and 15 teams will come to Arizona to practice in 10 stadiums throughout the Phoenix Valley.
Taking place every year, fans will have the chance to watch their favorite teams go head to head beginning Feb. 23 through March 27. Opening day for Major League Baseball is March 29.
“It’s an opportunity for the teams to look at their rosters and see who will be moving up,” President of the Cactus League Jeff Meyer says. “It’s a great opportunity for the fans to get out there and get autographs and get up close for batting practice.”
Despite its popularity and large crowds, it’s a relaxing environment, Meyer says. This year’s training started earlier than usual to account for the shorter spring, but they’ll host the same amount of games. The Major League Baseball cut about three days from the regular season to give players more off time, which resulted in a slightly shorter spring. The goal is to get the regular season done by late October.
The spring training games is a great way to get people to visit and explore the state. They contribute to local businesses, restaurants and bars. Meyer says he will hear people talking about visiting places out of the metro Phoenix area like Sedona, Prescott and the Grand Canyon.
Maricopa County currently hosts all of the stadiums, but that wasn’t always the case. Spring training use to take place as far south as Tucson and as far west as Palm Springs. Meyer says a lot of it has to do with travel. Now, the two furthest stadiums are only about an hour away from each other which makes it easier for the teams.
The Cactus League includes teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and ten others.