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Spring Training Suggestions


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#1 Seth

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:18 PM

I plan on taking my dad and myself to our very first spring training session this year in Mesa at the new ballpark. We are both lifelong Cubs fans. I would love to see the likes of Bryant, Baez and Soler as well as other prospects and was wondering if you guys had suggestions on what games would be the best to go to make this happen? I was thinking around the first week of home games in early March but didn't want to make any final decisions without consulting the Cubs faithful on this one. 

Also, if anyone that has gone to Spring Training in Mesa before that has any recommendations of hotels/spots and such, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

 



#2 FFP

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 03:40 PM

Thanks for starting this thread, Seth. I imagine there will be some new patterns at ST this year. I've never been to Mesa, but have been to facilities in FLA (so I know a little info can mean the diffence between an OK trip and memories that last a lifetime)  I just starting checking flights on Southwest. Shooting for my first Cactus league trip.

 

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help out here.

 

I have been to the American Southwest several times and can attest to the variety and beauty there. For me trips there have to include getting out to a desert, too. 



#3 scorecardpaul

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:17 AM

The Grand Canyon is close, and well worth the trip.



#4 Spriggs

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 09:43 AM

I would guess that especially for Soler and Bryant the first couple weeks will be the best time to see them in Spring Training game action.  I suspect Baez will be in and out of games most of the month (all 3 of them might).  Remember though that there is no Fitch Park for the Cubs anymore.  All minor leaguers and intrasquad stuff will presumably be right there on the adjacent practice fields. So Soler, Bryant and Baez will be playing in some form or fashion right there all month.
 
I think going to Spring Training in 2015 would be a little more enjoyable - especially if you want to spend as much time around the park as possible.  None of "Wrigleyville West" is built yet.  There will be a full service Sheraton Hotel there in 2015 along with a number of food and drink establishments by then.  But in 2014 there will still be plenty of activity nearby in the existing Riverview Complex down the road (but not within comfortable walking distance from the Cubs facility).  I am guessing that Toby Keith's and Cactus Moon (sports bar) in the Riverview Mall Complex will be fairly popular spots for a few beers.  Both are right next to the big Bass Pro shop.  There is also a Hyatt very close to Bass Pro in Riverview (I think it's right on Bass Pro Drive).  Also, you COULD walk to the ballpark from there, but I would not really recommend planning on that.
 
Tempe Market Place is only a couple miles west (off Rio Salado street - also know in some spots as 8th street). It offers a lot more shops and restaurants. It's a huge outdoor mall.  Oregano's Pizza is pretty close to the Tempe Market Place and is pretty good. 
 
In Mesa, my favorite Italian place is Vito's - which is about 6 miles east of the park on McKellips and Lindsay.  Nice thin pizza.  Small bar in front.  Laid back.
 
If you want to go to the Grand Canyon... it's in Arizona, but plan for at least a whole day.  It's a 3 and half hour drive (one way). 
 
If you are up for a little hiking and sightseeing, I recommend walking up Camelback Mountain. 

#5 Seth

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 05:35 PM

Thanks for the detailed suggestions, Spriggs. It's much appreciated!  :)



#6 Spriggs

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:05 AM

 

Thanks for the detailed suggestions, Spriggs. It's much appreciated!  :)


No problem. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'd be glad to try to answer them. There is some kind of formal "opening" of the new park on Januray 25th or 26th and I hope to find out a little more about the set up there. I hope you enjoy S.T. with your dad. I'd give anything for another shot at something like that!  

#7 jfrake815

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:16 PM

Hopping on to ask a quick question...is buying tickets in advance recommended for games? My dad and I figure to just get tickets at the stadium on game day (Feb 28- Mar 2) I don't remember from my childhood how packed the stadiums were. First time going in 12 years.



#8 Dlee7674

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 10:28 AM

This is my first Spring Training trip as well cause my buddy and I are roadtripping from Cincinnati over our Spring Break. Our big question is how easy is it to get autographs and what are the good spots to go and get them? Before games? Can you go to the practice fields and watch the prospects? Are there any big events/conventions going on during spring training to get autographs? Any help would be awesome! So excited for Spring Training!!!



#9 TWC

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 03:48 PM

We've had so many great trips to AZ in March.  Mostly they've involved two or three days of baseball-related activities, and then two or three days of desert-related activities.

 

North of Phoenix:

 

The Grand Canyon is amazing.  Go.  But don't drive up just for the day.  Try to spend the night nearby (the Grand Canyon Lodge has lovely 25¢ massage chairs*) and a decent restaurant.  There's a large number of National Monuments north of Phoenix that are pretty cool, and you can hit 2 or 3 of them in a day: Montezuma's Castle, Tuzigoot, Wupatki, Sunset Crater are all worth seeing.  If you're there early enough in the year, you might be able to make a snowman up at Sunset Crater.

 

If you hop off I-17 around Camp Verde, there's a lovely drive across the barren middle of the state that'll take you from Cottonwood through Jerome, and back on down to Prescott (you could opt for Sedona instead, but Sedona... meh).  Jerome is a groovy little vertical mountain mining town.  I've had a couple of great days there.  Prescott is quaint, with some pretty good restaurants and a pleasantly walkable downtown area.  I'd highly recommend the Motor Lodge for a night or two.

 

South of Phoenix:

 

Saguaro NP is 100% pure desert and it's stunning.  Highly recommended.  Organ Pipe NP is even more deserted, but it's a helluva lot father away then Saguaro.  One the way to Organ Pipe, you'll pass through Ajo, parts of which felt ghost-towny to me.  There's a huuuuuge (and spent) copper mine on the south side of town, and you'll pass right by a funky museum dedicated to it.  Tucson has a killer Guatemalan place that I can never remember the name of -- total hole in the wall, but the best Latin American grub I've ever scarfed down (and I live in California).  (And yeah, I went to Biosphere 2.  And I enjoyed it, you skeptical jerks.)

 

Arizona is a cool place to visit in the Spring.  Have fun.






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