Batter Up! Spring Training 2016 In Full Swing


By Kathryn M. Miller  – 

SpringTrainingAs Cactus League Spring Training returns to the Valley, there are a lot of ways for die-hard fans and newbies alike to celebrate the love of the game, and Scottsdale is ready to hit another home run with this year’s season.

The Valley’s own Arizona Diamondbacks (www.dbacks.com/spring) opened their 19th Spring Training March 1 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (www.saltriverfields.com) with a game against University of Arizona as part of an annual Collegiate Series. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, a shared Spring Training complex between the D-backs and Colorado Rockies, drew a season-record 351,866 fans in 2015.

During March, Scottsdale is also the home-away-from-home for the three-time World Series champion San Francisco Giants (www.sfgiants.com), who play at Scottsdale Stadium.

In addition to Arizona’s home team, Cactus League hosts 14 other teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums around the Valley. Last year’s Cactus League fans set attendance records with nearly 1.9 million fans attending at least one game in Greater Scottsdale. And while catching a Spring Training game is a perfect way to enjoy Arizona’s beautiful March weather, it is also a driving economic force.

Studies conducted in 2015 estimate spring training teams and the ballparks they play in now annually generate more than $809 million in economic impact for the state. Included in that number is more than $544 million that results from out-of-state Cactus League fans attending games at Phoenix area ballparks. Year-round athletic and non-athletic events and baseball team spending at the ballpark facilities and in the host communities is credited with generating the remaining $265 million included in the total.

“Spring training baseball is an ambassador to the rest of the nation, if not the world. Each year, it gives us the opportunity to tout what is good about our state,” said Cactus League President Mark Coronado at the 2015 study release in September.

SpringTraining2Scottsdale’s spring training baseball history dates back to the 1950s, and fans can take a self-guided tour of Downtown Scottsdale’s legendary baseball hangouts on the Cactus League Legacy Trail. But before taking in the history of “America’s favorite pastime,” get a firsthand look at how the March tradition has grown and evolved at the Spring Training Festival. This free, family friendly event, held March 5 at Scottsdale Civic Center Park, commemorates the start of the Cactus League Spring Training season and offers meet and greets with players, as well as access to batting cages and pitching machines, sports memorabilia, live music, food trucks and much more. Learn more at www.experiencescottsdale.com.

Cactus League Spring Training plays on through April 2. Learn more at http://www.cactusleague.com. | CST

Photos courtesy of Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and City of Scottsdale

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