MLB Spring Training ends soon, fans at Sloan Park reflect on experience, time spent with family

An estimated 2 million fans will travel to Valley for Cactus league games


NEVN Photography

A great day for baseball at Sloan Park, Mesa, Ariz.

Chance LeBlanc, Reporter

Even though MLB Opening Day is right around the corner, Spring Training is still in full swing for fans living in Arizona and for those who have traveled here to see their favorite teams play.

The Cactus league in Arizona features 15 MLB organizations that play over 200 games in 10 stadiums during a 30-day period from Feb. 25 through March 28.

On average, the Spring Training season welcomes over 1.7 million fans to the Valley. This year, it is looking like fans will surpass that average, with an estimate of over 2 million people traveling here to watch America’s favorite pastime.

In a recent match-up between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs, Sloan Park was buzzing from the moment the gates opened.

From the grass lawn in the outfield to the bleachers surrounding the stadium, there was not an empty seat to be found.

The Diamondbacks and the Cubs are looking to make noise this season with high expectations and a number of highly regarded prospects that are ready to contribute immediately.

So, what truly brings baseball fans out to Spring Training games?

Brian Sedin, a Yankees fan visiting from New Jersey, said that has been enjoying his Spring Training experience.

“Just trying to take in the fun, the excitement, the World Baseball Classic too. Getting to all of the different parks… it’s nice to see the different ways, different stadiums, and different things here,” Sedin said.

While the games are fun and exciting, it seems that fans are also enjoying the spring weather.

“My daughter, she’s coming in from Chicago, so I am taking her to a baseball game. It’s finally getting warm and its baseball. I absolutely love it,” said Steven Nodine, a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan now living in Tucson.

Spring Training will be wrapping up soon, with the final games of the Cactus league schedule set  for March 28.

Opening Day for the 2023 season is set for March 30.

The Diamondbacks will open their season on the road, at the Los Angeles Dodgers.  They will play a four-game series at L.A., followed immediately by a two-game series with the San Diego Padres.

Arizona travels back to the Valley for their home opener on April 6, where they will host the same L.A. Dodgers in the first of another four-game series.