Ten stadiums. Fifteen teams. Ranking the ballparks (and facilities) in Arizona's Cactus League.
1. Salt River Fields (Diamondbacks and Rockies)
The Diamondbacks and Rockies got everything they needed — and then some — in this spacious 11,000-seat facility. A majority of the seats are shaded and provide a scenic view of the McDowell Mountain range. Seven parking lots provide more than 3,000 spaces. And there are suntan lotion dispensers to accommodate those who sit on the outfield berm, which can seat up to 4,000 fans.
2. Sloan Park (Cubs)
A perfect touch with the Wrigley Field facade and replica marquee inside the park, as well as an outfield berm that can fit up to 5,000 fans when the fire marshal isn't counting. The tailgating area along the 300-foot path from the team's clubhouse to the park provides a homey feel. The food trucks behind right field are an attractive option.
3. Peoria Sports Complex (Padres and Mariners)
Many of the renovations made after the 2014 season were devoted to the training needs of the Padres and Mariners, as there is little wrong with the actual ballpark (now in its 25th season). There's plenty of parking, as evidenced by the recreational vehicles parked on the perimeter of a large lot. There's a diverse selection of restaurants within walking distance of the complex.
4. Scottsdale Stadium (Giants)
For many years, this was the best spring training venue because of the stands' proximity to the field, its location (on the edge of the Old Town district) and expanded gift shop. Built after the 1991 season, there's a need for more space. A former Giants outfielder swore he once saw a bachelor party on the outfield berm.
5. Surprise Stadium (Royals and Rangers)
It can be a surprise for first-timers trying to locate the park, but there are plenty of seats between the first- and third-base lines. Parking also is ample, although it's a tedious task getting to and from the park to the 101 Loop from Bell Road. Back roads are suggested.
6. Goodyear Ballpark (Indians and Reds)
It was a wise idea to house both major league teams from Ohio. The main concourse can get tight, although there is a spacious Kids Zone for youngsters to play Wiffle ball or burn the sweets they consume. Two eye-catching attractions are the sculpture of a white wing with a red stitched baseball located near the main entrance and the large jets parked on the runway of the Goodyear Airport about a half-mile behind right field.
7. HoHoKam Park (A's)
Significant changes have been made since the Cubs pulled out after the 2013 season. The Athletics' kelly green and Fort Knox gold colors are dominant throughout the park, with historical photos of greats such as Rickey Henderson, Dave Stewart and Mark McGwire adorning the concourse walls. The bleacher seats down the left-field line were replaced by a berm and play area for kids.
8. Camelback Ranch (White Sox and Dodgers)
Two 100-foot shade structures along the first-base side will provide some relief to fans who have been scorched by the sun in past years thanks to the horrific insistence by the previous Dodgers ownership to place home plate in the northwest corner. A larger video board was installed this spring, but driving in and out of the park can be as time-consuming as a trip to Dodger Stadium.
9. Tempe Diablo Stadium (Angels)
The White Sox were set to move here just more than a decade ago had improvements not been made to satisfy the Angels, who received more practice fields on the other side of a parking lot. The twin buttes provide a scenic backdrop, but frequent congestion offsets the park's proximity to nearby highways. The main concourse is extremely narrow.
10. Maryvale Baseball Park (Brewers)
One wonders what would have happened had the Brewers been able to get a facility not far from their previous spring home in Chandler, which they departed after the 1997 season and shortly before the area's housing boom. Nevertheless, much-needed upgrades are on the way for the park, which will undergo a facelift immediately after their final game March 26. Those improvements will include new concessions, restrooms, a children's play area and a wider concourse on the first-base side.