Looking to get away from the cold winter in Kansas City?
Well, Arizona is a great place to take a little vacation, where the average temperatures during the day are 74 degrees at the end of February. Just in time for spring training.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Royals this year, now that they hopefully made their rotation better. They start playing games in the Cactus League on February 22nd against the Texas Rangers. That’s just when the winters are getting unbearable.
You can fly into Phoenix, which is about a 36 minute drive to Surprise, the spring training home of the Royals (and Rangers). Phoenix is also home to the Oakland A’s (and the NHL Coyotes and NBA Suns). The Royals play the A’s in Phoenix on March 12th. Maryvale Stadium is also in the vicinity, so you could check out Milwaukee there (or the Royals playing the Brewers there on March 27th). Or you could just stay in Phoenix.
If you choose to stay in Surprise and want to spend your vacation strictly watching baseball, there is plenty of that less than an hour away.
If you head to Arizona in the beginning of March, Pool D of the World Baseball Classic will be taking place. There will be two games at Salt River Field at Talking Stick (March 7 & 8). Three more WBC games involving the USA will be played at Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the regular season.
If you want to strictly just see spring training baseball, there is still plenty of that. I mentioned earlier that the Royals and Rangers share the Surprise facility, meaning there is a game every day.
Peoria is a short 15 minutes away, where Seattle and San Diego share the complex. Both teams don’t have the money to spend, but have wreaked havoc in their respective divisions. The Royals play the Padres on February 28th. They head to play the Mariners on March 26th.
Glendale is about 20 minutes away. Camelback is home to both the LA Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. You could go check out former Royal Zack Greinke pitch for his new team, the Dodgers, and see if all the money they are spending is going to win them games. The Royals play the Dodgers on March 15th at night in a split-squad game. Maybe Greinke will make that start? Or you could check out the Royals American League Central competition in the White Sox, who didn’t make any moves this off season. The Royals play the White Sox in Glendale on March 24th.
Goodyear is about 28 minutes away from Surprise. That newer facility is home to both the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians, another AL Central foe. The Reds are the reigning National League Central champs and are the favorite to repeat again. Don’t you want to see what Aroldis Chapman can do as a starter? The Royals head there on March 3rd and March 28th. The Indians seem to be shopping all of their higher paid players, as Shin-Soo Choose was traded to the Reds. Can their young talent win games in 2013? Check out when the Royals head there February 26th and March 14th.
When the WBC is not playing at Salt River Field, it is home to both the Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, two NL West Division foes. It is about 41 minutes away. The Royals play the Dbacks the day before the WBC takes over. The Royals do not play the Rockies at Salt River.
Tempe is about 47 minutes from Surprise. It is home to the LA Angels. The Angels continue to shell out money, as this off season they added Josh Hamilton. You can drive to check the two teams face off on March 22nd.
Scottsdale is a little further away, about 50 minutes. It is home to the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. The Royals play there on March 9th, but it is right in the middle of the WBC and a good amount of Giants will be playing for their respective countries. So you are probably better off visiting there later in March (if you can).
HoHoKam Park is in Mesa and about 55 minutes away. It is home to the Chicago Cubs. The Royals head there on March 16th.
As you can see, there are plenty of teams to check out during spring training. There is at least one game every day within an hour of Surprise.
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at things to do if you do not want to spend your entire vacation at a ballpark.
*The answer to Tuesday’s trivia question is…Zack Greinke. His scoreless innings streak went from September 18, 2008 til April 24, 2009, a total of 38 innings.