A lot of people have been looking at my spring training guide that I put up a few weeks ago and so I wanted to go a little bit more in depth on the stadiums that I go to and the places I go to while in Arizona. Now I know there are people out there who would like information on the Florida spring training sites as well, but I’ve never been there and so I can’t give any advice myself on that. Although my brother-in-law is there right now and is taking photos for me and will give me some info on the stadiums he goes to. I still highly recommend people go to Arizona though because all the stadiums are closer to each and you are more likely to see the top players even on “away” games.
Peoria will always be one of my favorite stadiums. It isn’t really fancy but it does have the best autograph spot out of all of the stadiums in AZ. On this complex their are two sets of practice fields, one for the Mariners and one for the Padres, that fans can walk into and watch the players take batting practice or work on fielding. The entrances to each set of practice fields are on opposite sides of the stadium but if you want to go from one side to the other just find one of the workers driving a golf cart and ask them to drive you to the other practice field. They will get you there in just a few minutes compared to the 15 minutes it takes to walk around the stadium. The main players practice on a field that has a fence between the fans and the players, so that the players don’t come into contact with fans unless they
want to. There is a second field where some of the younger major league players warm up that does require them to walk right through the fans and there is where a lot of guys will sign. The only down side to Peoria right now is that neither the M’s or Padres are very strong teams, but if you are a fan willing to get autographs of young guys that have a lot of potential then this complex is great.
Camelback Stadium, home of the Dodgers and White Sox, is easily my favorite stadium to watch a game at. It isn’t the best spot for getting autographs during the game but players do sign before and after games along the fence. What makes this stadium great for autographs is the practice fields. For both the Dodgers and the White Sox the players walk right next to spots where the players can stand. For the Dodgers even their best players, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and others stop on a regular basis and interact with as many fans as they can. The White Sox are just like the Dodgers, in that the players are willing to stop and interact and sign autographs for fans.
Surprise Stadium, home of the Royals and Rangers, is a nice stadium for watching a game. However, there isn’t much shade in the outfield area and it can get hot. I have never made it to the practice fields for these teams but I have heard from others that there is good access to the players for autographs. The stadium is nice and does offer a great experience for watching a spring game.
Scottsdale Stadium, home of the Giants, is one of my least favorite stadiums that I have gone to in Arizona. It isn’t a bad stadium but it does seem to feel really crowded and the outfield grass is really sloped and not the most comfortable place to sit at times. Getting autographs is completely up to the players because they enter from center field for opposing teams, or for the Giants they simply come out of the dugout like a major league stadium. If your team is playing at this stadium it is an okay place to catch a game.
Goodyear Ballpark, home of the Indians and Reds, is one of the newer stadiums in Arizona but it kind of feels like your in a giant whole when your watching the game. The stadium is large enough where you don’t feel crowded, which is nice since quite a few fans do attend games here. Autographs aren’t to bad when getting the visiting team because there exit is right along the first base line. The home team though has the ability to walk across the field and avoid fans if they want to.
Maryvale Baseball Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, is a park that I have not been inside of but have only seen from the outside. The park itself looks okay but the real fun for this park is the ability to walk around the minor league complex for the Brewers. Last time I was there I was able to sit and watch all of the younger players go through their training and I was even able to listen on as the coaches gave instructions. If a coach was looking at gaining additional pieces of information on training young players, this is the best opportunity I’ve seen. There are only a handful of fans in the whole area and you are able to get right up against the fence to watch.
Other stadiums I haven’t attended recently enough to remember are Salt River Fields (the newest stadium complex and from the road looks amazing), HoHoKam Stadium (Cubs fans are crazy even in Arizona so watch out for that), Tempe Diablo Stadium (I’ve heard some good things about the practice fields here for autographs), and Phoenix Municipal Stadium (Saw this stadium from the outside and didn’t have a desire to go in).