So spring training is here! Pitchers and Catchers reported to work last week on Friday, February 20th, and the full team reported last Tuesday.
The first full-squad game is tomorrow, March 4th at 12:05pm PST!!! So for the uninitiated we here at Seattle Side Up wanted to make sure that you have all the facts, information, and snark to make sure that you are prepared for baseball season and spring training.
This article is part one of a four-part series that will appear on the site in the next few days. In today’s opening of the series we will cover the basic logistics, schedule, and activities to be had while visiting the Mariners at spring training. Future installments will review the players to watch (both established stars and prospects) and we will finish off our guide to spring training with a pair of interviews with Seattle Side Up’s own Baseball Editor “Matthew Paige,” and the Big Kahuna himself, the Editor-in-Chief “Abraham DeWeese.”
Just the Facts Ma’am, Just the facts
So what are things that you need to know about spring training? Why is it happening? Does it really matter? Why to go? Given that the Cactus League is based in the Greater Phoenix area and that no part of the 12th Man will want to revisit the scene of the worst playcall in Seattle sports history (Glendale is just up the interstate from Peoria, AZ).
Isn’t it just a bunch of guys goofing off and not really playing ball? Why do I want to go? These questions and many more will be answered the next few days. So buckle up, dry your Seahawks 12th man tears, and buckle up, this team may be our next best hope of bringing home a championship to Seattle.
What are the dates?
February 20, 2015 – April 3, 2015: The Mariners kick off their season at home vs. The LA Angels of Anaheim or whatever that team in red down south is calling themselves these days.
What is going on?
The Mariners and 14 other MLB clubs will participate in the annual ritual of spring baseball. Practices and games will be held at the Peoria Sports Complex where the Seattle Mariner and San Diego Padres are co-located.
What is at the Peoria Sports Complex?
With over 145 acres of space, 12 full baseball fields, huge clubhouses, batting cages, and practice fields, both teams have adequate space to allow the players spread out, relax and prepare for the regular season while coaches and staff provide the necessary instruction and support.
There is a Team Store, grandstand, ticketing, etc… For a full rundown, visit the Peooria Sports Complex’s website here.
When and where do games start?
The Mariner kick off their 2015 Spring Training campaign tomorrow March 4th, 2015 at 1:05pm MST. With three exceptions all game time will be at 1:05pm MST.
A brief note for those visiting Arizona for the first time; Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. The are always on Mountain Standard Time. What this means is that the first few games this week are an hour ahead of Pacific Standard Time. Starting this coming Sunday, due to the change in times, all games will be at the same time as PDT (MST = PDT).
Who is in the Cactus League?
There are 15 teams in the Greater Phoenix area, sometimes called “The Valley of the Sun,” who congregate annually to compete during Spring Training. The following is a map describing who they are and where they are located.
Any good eats?
Yes. Lots of great food is available at the Peoria Complex, and in the surrounding area. Pro tip: Eat locally not at a chain restaurant. You have all year in the Great Northwest to support our great national chains, visiting the small burg of Peoria is not the right time. If you stretch yourself you will be able to find some very good local fare.
How long to should you plan your trip for?
This is obviously a matter of personal choice. Many fans head down for a long weekend, others take the whole month off. The choice is yours, but weekday games will probably have more ticket availability so plan accordingly.
How to get there–get a special travel package?
Again this is a matter of personal preference. If you do a few Internet searches you will find plenty of hotels and car rental services to vie for you business. Flights are bit trickier. You should try to book at best a month in advance, If not, try two weeks. If you are inside that time frame, hope for a special deal. Otherwise, you will be paying through the nose.
What about tickets? Do they sell out? What games are Split squad vs. Full Squad?
Tickets are mostly available, but sometimes do sell out; however, there is plenty to do at the facility. You can head to one of the practice fields to catch the minor league futures of these teams honing their skills. Alternately, you can head to a different team’s complex and check out a game there.
The amazingly, cool thing about Spring Training; there is always a game going on somewhere in the Valley of the Sun. Sometimes, the games may not have your favorite players palying for more than a couple innings; our advice is roll with the punches, you never know when that player you see is the next Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrerra. Also, extra games are added to the schedule; these are usually split-squad affairs (1/2 the amount of star players, but 2x the amount of games).
What are other things to do in the Valley of the Sun?
Nothing. There is absolutely nothing to see, do or try in this metropolitan area. The Seahawks lost in this metropolis, it therefore, must be a blight on humanity. That might be true, but perhaps this site from the local visitor’s bureau would help you out.
How to travel around the Greater Phoenix Area? How long does it take get anywhere?
You need a car. And it will take you about an hour to travel the 45 miles from Surprise, AZ in the northwest, to Mesa, AZ in the southeast.
Other useful links:
Main page http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/spring_training/index.jsp?c_id=sea
Cactus League Map http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/mlb/tickets/spring_training.jsp?content=cactus
Next up: Part two “What players should you focus on if you make it to spring training?”
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