I’ve been lucky enough to visit Arizona at least once for spring training every year since 2015. Along the way I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to make the most out of your time away from work and help enjoy Cactus League baseball.
1. Take off at an unreasonable (good) time
Personally, my group departs LA county at about 3 AM. Yes, 3 AM… in the morning.
If you can swing it with the boss and the S/O, this is highly recommended practice. You beat (almost) literally all traffic. You get to Arizona in a reasonable amount of time, at a reasonable time (MST, depending on when your trip is scheduled on the calendar) and most importantly, you can…
2. Enjoy Arizona Breakfast!
Seriously, breakfast in Arizona is truly a hidden gem of spring training. That 3 AM departure time gets you into the heart of Phoenix right around breakfast time, and trust me, you’re going to want to fuel up for the day.
Considering that you may be planning on drinking and taking in a ballgame or two for the rest of the day, getting food in you early is a must.
Pro tip: Be sure to bring a cooler on the trip with you — tailgating is allowing at Cactus League ballparks.
3. Explore More Than Just Your Team’s Park!
Considering that this article is tailored for Dodger fans, this might get me in trouble, but I’ll be honest… for the accessibility and fan experience, Camelback Ranch is one of the worst parks to visit.
The autograph areas — or “autograph alleys” — are scarce and overcrowded. You can’t get terribly close to the grass on the backfields. The ability to just say hi to a player is just really not available.
Don’t get me wrong, Dodger camp is visually one of the most beautiful spring training complexes in Arizona, it really isn’t a huge step up from Dodger Stadium in terms of fan access.
Plan your trip around seeing the Dodgers at other ballparks. Hell, go watch two other teams play. Baseball is baseball, and beer is cheaper than any regular season game. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have watching the Padres play the Brewers at Maryvale park.
Editor’s picks: Goodyear Ballpark (Reds/Indians), Peoria Sports Complex (Padres/Mariners)
4. Don’t Demand a Baseball From A Player
You’re going to see a loose baseball on the field next to you, but behind a fence. You’re going to want that loose baseball that’s just out of your reach. You’re also going to see a player near that ball, and you’re going to fight the urge to tell at a grown ass human male “Hey give me a Ball!”
Don’t yell at the players.
How would you feel if someone came to your job with commands for you? Just don’t do it. Make it their choice! Ask politely, “hey, could you hook me up with that ball?” If you know the player’s name, be a human. Use it. …reasonably.
Pro tip 2: they don’t know your name, try to not seem overly familiar with them.
5. You Don’t Have to Pay for Seats Behind Home Plate
You didn’t hear it from me, but lawn and berm seats already get you into the ballpark, there’s no need to waste precious beer money on premium seating. Unless you’re attending a potential sellout game, or have a big group, 9 times out of 10 you can sit just about anywhere you want at the price of lawn admission.
Plus it’s spring training! Don’t stay in your seats, explore the ballpark! Go have fun! Go play around the exhibits. Find baseball celebrities. Don’t be lazy, good baseball happens once a year out in Arizona.