The Giants and A’s are bringing a bit more heat to the Arizona desert this month with preseason play in the Cactus League.
Throughout this month, baseball fans will descend on Scottsdale, Ariz., one of the cities playing host to the Cactus League. A group of 15 teams — National League and American League — is competing in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun. Scottsdale not only plays host to the Giants and A’s, but also the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, both of which call Salt River Fields at Talking Stick their home turf.
Salt River Fields is Scottsdale’s newest stadium and has launched a new, one-hour, behind-the-scenes tour of the first and only Major League Baseball spring training facility built on Native American land. The tour includes a visit to the press box, control room, party decks and the common areas of both teams.
The Charro Lodge at Scottsdale Stadium — a private facility within the stadium with patio-style seating, all-inclusive food and drinks, and some of the best seats to view the games — is offering a VIP experience starting at $85 per person.
Visitors can enjoy the history of it all with a stroll down the Cactus League Legacy Trail, a series of Arizona exhibits and landmarks in Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe and Goodyear. The self-guided trail includes 11 stops: Don and Charlie’s restaurant for sports memorabilia; the Pink Pony restaurant, which has an exhibit dedicated to Cactus League history; the Scottsdale Historical Museum; the Arizona Historical Society Museum, which offers an exhibit of historical items, photos and objects relating to the Cactus League; and the Arizona Museum of Youth, which features a more youthful spin on the league’s history.
New this year, the trail added the Sugar Bowl restaurant, where rookie ballplayers have been stopping by for a “double frosted” since the 1950s; the Coach House tavern, a rustic landmark that remains almost unchanged from the 1950s; and Karsen’s Grill, a favorite gathering spot for Cactus League sportswriters and umpires.
With more than 70 hotels and resorts in the greater Scottsdale area, the destination serves as home base for Giants and A’s fans. This year, several hotels are offering spring training packages.
Located in downtown Scottsdale, the W Scottsdale’s spring training package ($339 per night) includes a baseball hat, a box of Cracker Jack, a free ticket to a game when you buy a second general admission ticket, a bag of peanuts and complimentary transportation to Scottsdale Stadium.
A personal favorite, the Hotel Valley Ho is offering a package through March starting at $249 per night. The offer includes breakfast at ZuZu each morning, VIP nightclub access and a discount shopping book for Scottsdale Fashion Square, the Southwest’s largest mall.
The Chaparral Suites Scottsdale is offering a package starting at $249 per night. The offer includes breakfast, an evening reception, individual airport shuttle, and in-room wired and wireless Internet.
The Royal Palms Resort & Spa is offering a Triple Play package that includes 15 percent off a minimum three-night stay, plus a $50 dining credit at T. Cook’s and a $50 spa credit at Alvadora Spa.
Located at McDowell Mountain Regional Park about 30 miles north of Scottsdale Stadium, the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort is offering a package including discounted golf at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, 20 percent off spa and salon services, vouchers for two hot dogs and beverages, and a souvenir bag with baseball goodies. The package price runs $30 above the rack rate.
Finally, Scottsdale enforces a zero-tolerance drinking and driving law — especially during spring training. Grab a cab, walk or call Drunk Drivers, which will take you from A to B — even with your own car.
If you go
Places to go ...
Scottsdale Stadium: 7408 East Osborn Road, SpringTraining.com
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick: SaltRiverFields.com
Don and Charlie’s: DonAndCharlies.com
Pink Pony: PinkPonyRestaurant.com
Scottsdale Historical Museum: ScottsdaleMuseum.com
Arizona Historical Society Museum: www.PlayBallExperience.com
Lawn seats for final spring training game with Giants
The final Giants home game at Scottsdale Stadium will be March 31, against the Cincinnati Reds. The cheapest seats start at $25 per person on the lawn; the best seats — lower box — start at $45.75. For more information, visit www.SFGiants.com.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale
Starting at $399
Located 22 miles north of Scottsdale Stadium, the Four Seasons at Troon North offers it all — golf, tennis, pool, spa, award-winning restaurants, a kid’s program — and all located in the serene Sonoran Desert. If you are looking for impeccable service and quiet, stay here. For more information, visit www.FourSeasons.com/Scottsdale.
— Kathleen Jay