Rodriguez: Proximity a perk for Cactus League fans

From Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez at KJZZ on March 25, 2015, with SABR member Barry Bloom:

For decades fans have made their way to Arizona for some sunny spring training baseball. The Cactus League was first formed with only two teams. Today, 15 clubs play in 11 different ballparks all within an hour of each other. Some baseball fans say that’s what makes this league so unique.

It’s a packed game at sunny Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are playing the Seattle Mariners. The concourse area, filled with food and drink stands, is swarming with people. Some are walking around, many more are standing in the shade watching the game, including Mariner’s fan Pete Black.

Black is in town from Seattle. This is the second year he and his family decided to make it out here for spring training. He’s more than just a baseball fan.

“Oh, a purist, yeah, definitely old-school. I’m definitely a fan. I’m not a passive fan,” Black said.

So much so that he says he’s visited 24 of 30 major league stadiums. His goal is to visit them all and to make a stop in as many of the Cactus League parks as he can.

“We’ve watched the Mariners play three stadiums in the past three days.”

And that has been the perk with today’s Cactus League.  Sure, Arizona’s warm weather and majestic desert landscape has attracted thousands of visitors to the area during spring training.  But having the parks in close proximity has been the nicest perk of all. And this,’s Barry Bloom said, has given the valley an edge over the Florida Grapefruit League.

“Here you know, really you have the east side, you have the west side you’ve got five teams within 15 minutes on both sides,” Bloom said. You have the dual complexes which they don’t have much of right now in Florida. So you know, that really is what distinguishes both places.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 25, 2015. Last Updated: March 25, 2015.