Cactus League 2020
The most exciting words to baseball fans during a long cold winter in the Midwest and the East are “Pitchers and catchers report for training in Arizona.” It’s the start of the Cactus League and people can start planning their trips.
Every year, many baseball fans escape the frigid climates of the East Coast, Midwest, and even Canada to travel to Arizona for Spring Training. Our 75-degree spring temperatures and state-of-the-art Spring Training facilities are a call to them. And, the best reason to come is their chance to get up close and personal with their favorite teams and players.
Pitchers and Catchers begin reporting February 11th-13th, with all players in camp for their first full workouts by February 18th. This year the Cactus League opens on February 21st with the Rangers playing the Royals. The “season” lasts until March 24.
History of the Cactus League
If you did not know, the Cactus League has been around since 1947. The Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants were the first to train in Arizona. Over the years many teams have been added. Currently, the league comprises 15 teams—Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. All 15 call Maricopa County and the greater Phoenix area their spring training home.
In the past 25 years, the Cactus League has seen sensational growth with fans who spend their vacation time in the Valley of the Sun. The popularity of the Cactus League shows no signs of slowing down. Last year there were over 220 games played. The number of fans from those games totaled 1,737,975. The average game drew 7,900 fans, up 2.8 percent from the previous year. Four Cactus League teams—the Cubs, the Rockies, the Angels, and the Diamondbacks—set single-game attendance marks in 2019.
The Cubs had the largest crowd in Cactus League history last year when 16,100 fans showed up at Sloan Park to see a game against the Boston Red Sox. The Brewers saw the largest increase in their attendance in 2019. In fact, eight of the 15 Cactus League teams saw their average game attendance increase.
What the Cactus League Can Offer
Here are some things the Cactus League offers when you visit…
Shorter Drives, More Rivalries
Where else can you go and see half of the Major Leagues’ 30 teams play without ever having to drive more than 47 miles, and oftentimes much shorter distances? That would be here in the Cactus League.
How about city or state team rivalries? How about the Cubs and the White Sox playing each other several times? The Dodgers/Giants rivalry is just as intense during the Cactus League as it is in the regular season. Even the Ohio rivals, the Reds and the Indians, share the same stadium in Goodyear.
Convenient Times, Comfortable Viewing
How about two games a day? Most games start at 1:05PM (MST). Beginning March 6, Friday night games start. Those games start at 6:05PM (MST). You can create your own double-header by buying tickets to two games.
How about comfort for you and your family? Most of the stadiums offer lawn seating, which is a great option for families. Bring your blanket and stretch out in the outfield. This not only allows you to see your children running around, but they could even chase home-run balls. Some fans even take naps, and many get their tans updated.
A Great Experience
Though the Cactus League is competitive, teams and players seem more laid back. The players are friendlier. Often times they are easily accessible to sign your items and to take pictures with you during Spring Training. Many fans mention that some of their best memories come from talking with their favorite players and getting to post pictures with them during Spring Training.
Many who have been to Cactus League games describe it as their best sports viewing experience. The sights, sounds, and even the smells of spring’s arrival in Arizona play a significant role in that. Also, with unparalleled player access—up-close encounters with veteran stars, blossoming prospects, and even coaches and managers—intimate ballparks, and warm, sunny weather, the Cactus League is a truly unique baseball experience.
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