Sunday, January 5, 2014


With 36 days until pitcher and catcher report to spring training, I'm making my way around Arizona to all ten spring training facilities. There are 15 teams that call Arizona home for spring training with five teams sharing a complex. All ten complexes are within 15-60 minute drive from our RV park. There is no doubt in my mind that I will attend spring training practices to seek autographs of the stars of tomorrow and fight the crowds for alums and stars of today. 

Below is my preview of each complex visited and what I found out to make my (and your) trip to 2014 Spring Training more enjoyable.

Indians & Reds
Goodyear Ballpark

As always I have to talk about my home town Tribe first. 2014 battle of Ohio starts at Goodyear Ballpark with 5 games against each other with the Reds as the home teams for 3 games. The Ballpark is celebrating it's 5 year Anniversary. Located at 1933 S Ballpark Way, Goodyear, AZ 85338. There are two giveaway of team fleece blanket Reds on Mach 1st (vs Rockies) and Indians on March 2nd (vs Mariners) to the first 1,500 fans. There are some good discounts for tickets too, first senior 55 and over weekday games $18 (regular price $25) for infield box seats with hot dog and soda.Second, new this year military active, reserve or retired FREE (regular price $8-$20) outfield box, outfield reserved or berm ticket and up to 4 additional tickets at group rate price. That means I could see all 30 games played at Goodyear for free. Free baseball all spring what more could I ask for. Parking fee is $5. We already got our spring training opening day tickets.

I asked at the ticket window if there was stadium tours, he opened the gate and let us in. It was just us and the ground crew. I walked to were our seats are and the view of the field was pretty good. The clubhouse access is from the outfield so players have to walk pass these seats to get on and off the field. Perfect seats for autograph hunting.

Practice complex is divided into two parts. Indians are open at 9:00 am on field 1. At time of this post no time posted for the Reds. The fields closes to the airport are the Indians and the fields closes to the main road is the Reds. Parking is along the road right in front of the fields, but are very limited. You can arrive early or park by the stadium and walk across the street to get to the practice complex.

Rangers & Royals
Surprise Stadium

Surprise Stadium is located at 15930 N Bullard Ave, Surprise, AZ 85374. (one website shows 15930 while another shows 15850. Use either one and the GPS should get you close.) Rangers and Royals play each other 4 times with the Royals the home team 3 times. The box office opens on 4 Jan 2014, but the office is open only on the weekdays. So, we made a trip to surprise to get the schedules and information straight from the source. There are no giveaways scheduled, but that could change as the season starts. Parking is free and only military discounts are on Sundays two for one in plaza seats only. Ticket prices range from $8 lawn seats to $30 home run party deck.

Surprise Stadium is the same place I saw Arizona Fall League games (2013), so I already seen inside the park and had some pictures to show. Just like Goodyear, players have to walk to the outfield walls to enter the clubhouse again making players having to pass fans to leave the field and perfect for autographs.

The practice fields open at 10:00 am 17 Feb - 26 Mar and are located in the back of the parking lot and are close to the main field. There are two hotels (Holiday and Marriott) within walking distance to the stadium. Don't know if they are going to be used for the minor leaguers or open to fans too.

There are Japanese and Kent State alums on both teams so this is definitely a stop I will have to make this spring.

Mariners & Padres
Peoria Sports Complex

Peoria Sports Complex is located at 16101 N 83rd Ave, Peoria, AZ 85382. Mariners and Padres play each other 4 times with Padres as the home team 3 times. There is lots of construction being done around both teams complex main building, should be completed in time for first day of spring training. As you enter the complex there is a large parking lot, the practice fields are located just in front of Peoria Sports Complex. I could not find any information on teams practice times. Parking fee is $5 and ticket prices range from $7 - $26. Military discount are $2 off ticket price up to 4 tickets. There is not giveaway games on the schedule.

This is the first stadium to have it's team shop open. There was shits, hats same as always, but the biggest bargains was 2013 spring training merchandise where everything was $1.00. As a mini bat collector I was happy to pick up one of each team along with a ball and towel. Most mini bats are $10-$12, balls about $10 and towel about $10. Usually a $40 buy for only $4 what a deal. They had 3 different 2013 spring training logo balls, one with just the logo and the other two with team logo and spring training logo, I just got the spring training logo ball. At these prices all the items should be gone pretty fast. I guess they are trying to make room for the 2014 spring training merchandise that is coming in.

The Stadium gates were open and anyone could walk in... just stay off the field. The players have to walk to the right field wall to enter and exit the stadium, there is an area where fan can stand and get autographs as they leave the stadium to get to the team complex. This stadium is larger then the rest I have seen so far and looks like it could be a Low A field.

I have some Padres autographs from when I was stationed in San Diego, but I personal think this will have the biggest crowds for graphers this year because of Robinson Cano first year in Arizona after spending his career with the Yankees in Florida.

Chase Filed

Chase Field home to MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, located at 401 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004. I was reading some blogs about 2013 spring training in Arizona and one person stopped at TGIF inside Chase Field and said it was a must. After a long day of driving across town and walking the ball parks we decided to check it out for ourselves. Before we went inside TGIF we walked around Chase Field taking pictures and I saw the ticket window was open. I walked up and asked for a pocket schedules. I was told they did not have any yet, but only had large magnet schedules and if that was good enough. I said yes and walked away with one in hand. That's a picture of Paul Goldschmidt on the right in the on deck circle. I noticed that the D-Backs and Dodgers open the season in Australia. If I (you) want autographs of the D-Backs or Dodgers I have to get to their practices early (first two or three weeks) in the spring before they fly out.

Back to TGIF. They are open year round and located on the upper level of the left field bleachers. We sat and ate in the open window table. The dome roof was open with the sun and weather at 74 degrees in January along with a great view of the field made the food even taste better. The wife had salmon and lobster, while I had sizzling chicken and cheese.


Stay tune in the following weeks as I still have seven more stadiums to preview. Keep in mind most stadiums box office don't open until mid January to early February and some still have TBA dates. I hope to get them all done before 11 February when pitchers and catcher report to camp.

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