The Los Angeles Dodgers may be leaving behind 60 years of history in Vero Beach, Fla., but the Arizona Cactus League they're joining has a rich history too. The New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians, for instance, set up their spring operations in Phoenix and Tucson, in 1947, well before major league baseball moved west.
With the arrival of the Dodgers and the White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., and the return of the Indians, 12 of the 14 teams are now playing their home games in the Phoenix area. Here's a quick guide to those teams; for information on the Tucson teams (the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies), see latimes.com/tucsonteams.
Goodyear Ballpark and Recreational Complex
1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear
The return of the Indians to the new Goodyear complex is a blast from the past for Tribe fans who still recall the team's 47 years in Tucson. The team's cross-league, cross-state rival Cincinnati Reds will join the Indians in Goodyear next year. Goodyear, just 15 miles southwest of the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch ballpark, has become one of the state's more desirable residential destinations.
Nearby: There's a smattering of Mexican restaurants and a handful of bars, including the Crossroads Sports Lounge, 950 Dysart Road, and the Cutting Edge Bar & Grill, 1188 N. Dysart Road.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Tempe Diablo Stadium
2200 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe
Tickets: (480) 784-4444 ( Ticketmaster) (480) 350-5205 [beginning today] www.angels.mlb.com
Tempe Diablo Stadium got a face-lift a couple of years ago and a long-term contract with its resident Angels. The team has become increasingly popular since Arte Moreno took over as owner and the Angels became perennial pennant contenders, making the seating a sea of red. Still, the park's most striking feature has always been its majestic view of Tempe Butte beyond the left field wall.
Nearby: We like to wait out the rush-hour traffic with a margarita and plate of nachos at the Buttes, a Marriott resort (2000 Westcort Way) atop the stunning rock formation. Back toward downtown Tempe, the recently refurbished landmark Fiesta Resort (2100 South Priest Drive) is easily accessible to Scottsdale and Phoenix. The casual and comfortable Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired design has become synonymous with contemporary Southwestern style.
San Francisco Giants
7408 E. Osborn Road, Scottsdale
Tickets: (480) 312-2586, (877) 4SFGTIX (473-4849) www.giants.mlb.com
The beautiful red brick and green awning architectural marvel that is Scottsdale Stadium, rebuilt in 1992, sits on the same spot as the original old wooden bandbox. When you look at old photos of the place, it's hard to imagine it's the same corner of Scottsdale -- a little cowpoke town when it was built in 1955, a roaring metropolis today. This has been the spring home of the Giants since 1982, but, in its history, has hosted the Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs and A's.
Nearby: We like Karsen's Grill at 7246 E. 1st St. in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, a popular neighborhood hangout with the ballgame crowd. The boutique-style Hotel Indigo Scottsdale (4415 N. Civic Center Plaza, www.scottsdalehiphotel.com) offers an affordable alternative to the predominant resort scene just blocks away from the downtown shopping, art, dining and night-life district.
Phoenix Municipal Stadium
5999 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix
Phoenix Muni entered the league as an out-of-this-world Space Age structure in 1966. It remains a favorite with longtime fans of spring training and Phoenix minor league history. It's on the Phoenix-Tempe line not far from Arizona State University's Tempe campus.
Nearby: We go to Casey Moore's Oyster House at 9th and Ash in Tempe, a popular neighborhood haunt. The Hyatt Place Tempe (1413 W. Rio Salado Parkway) is a clean, comfortable business travelers' hotel.
1235 N. Center St., Mesa
Tickets: (480) 964-4467, (800) 905-3315
You might as well call Hohokam "Wrigleyville West." More than 180,000 cursed Cubs fans attended home games here last year, making Mesa feel like Chicago for a month. The Cubs have called the park -- the old one and the new one built right across the street -- home since 1979.
Nearby: We like to cool down in the Cellar Pub at Sun Devil Liquors (235 N. Country Club Drive), a sophisticated wine bar with a tremendous selection of imported and microbrewed beers.
Kansas City Royals Texas Rangers
Surprise Stadium/Billy Parker Field
15960 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise
The sports complex sparked the recent renaissance of the Cactus League, snatching up the Royals and the Rangers -- two former Grapefruit League franchises -- in 2003.
Nearby: Actually in the ballpark. Barbecue, about which Kansas Citians know plenty, is available at Appetites Barbeque, which serves up smoked pork and beef brisket sandwiches.
Maryvale Baseball Park
3600 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix
Tickets: (623) 245-5500, (800) 933-7890, www.ticketmaster.com, www.brewers.mlb.comHere, it's always been more about the beer and brats than the baseball for Brewers fans, whose mascot is not one but five sausages. The open-air concourse behind the sunken seating is covered by louvered sunscreens, providing shade down the first and third base lines. The grassy berm seating area behind the outfield wall sits at a comfortable incline. If you get there early enough for batting practice, you're almost sure to snag a ball.
San Diego Padres Seattle Mariners
Peoria Sports Complex
16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria
In 1994, a three-way partnership among the Padres, the Mariners and Peoria created the two-team-one ballpark trend at the sports complex.
Nearby: The concessions concourse at Peoria offers perhaps the widest variety of options -- wok-fried noodles, regional Mexican specialties and such San Diego-centric foods as barbecue by former Padres pitcher Randy Jones -- in the league with a carnival-like atmosphere.
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