Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe Feature

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Baseball's Spring Training

For dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans there's no better place than the Valley of the Sun. Baseball has become nearly a year-round activity in the Phoenix area, beginning with spring training in late February and continuing through the Arizona Fall League championships in mid-November.

Spring

Today the Cactus League consists of 15 Major League teams that play at stadiums across the Valley. Ticket prices are reasonable, around $7 to $8 for bleacher seats and $15 to $30 for reserved seats. Many stadiums have lawn-seating areas in the outfield, where you can spread a blanket and bring a picnic. Cactus League stadiums are more intimate than big-league parks, and players often come right up to the stands to say hello and to sign autographs.

Tickets for some teams go on sale as early as December. Brochures listing game schedules and ticket information are available from the Cactus League's website (www.cactusleague.com).

Summer

During the regular Major League season the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks (www.azdiamondbacks.com) play on natural grass at Chase Field in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The stadium is a technological wonder; if the weather's a little too warm outside, they close the roof, turn on the gigantic air-conditioners, and keep you cool while you enjoy the game. You can tour the stadium except on afternoon-game days and holidays.

Fall

At the conclusion of the regular season the Arizona Fall League runs until the week before Thanksgiving. Each major-league team sends six of its most talented young prospects to compete with other young promising players—180 players in all. There are six teams in the league, broken down into two divisions. It's a great way to see future Hall of Famers in their early years. Tickets for Fall League games are $6.

Call Scottsdale Stadium (480/312-2586), one of the league's host sites, for ticket information.

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