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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Billy Parker Field, left, home to the Kansas City Royals, opened in 2003 and has the capacity to seat over ten thousand fans.

Photo/Courtesy Cactus League

by Jeff Brown
Phoenix Promotions Coordinator


Take Yourself Out to a Ball Game

Are you a baseball fan? If so, you are in for a treat while attending the 2007 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.

Phoenix and several surrounding cities host spring training for Major League Baseball's Cactus League. The Cactus League has been an Arizona tradition for over a half-century. What began as a two-team league in 1947 has grown to 12 teams playing in seven cities throughout the state -- nine teams in the Phoenix area and three in Tucson (two hours south of Phoenix).

The teams that train and play in the Phoenix area are the Anaheim Angels, Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago White Sox train and play in Tucson.

During the week of the USITT conference, nearly every team plays a game every day. Most games start at 1:05 p.m., with a limited number of evening games. Sometimes teams play twice in one day, playing with a split squad, or half the team, at each game that day. Ticket prices range from $2 to $26, depending on the team. All of the teams' box offices opened in January.

During the January Conference Committee meeting, USITT's experts reviewed the contests, and are recommending the games between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants for Monday, March 12, and the Giants versus the Oakland A's for Tuesday, March 13. Giants Stadium is in nearby Scottsdale, with easy transportation and almost guaranteed lovely weather. For tickets, visit the Giants website here, and to learn more about the season outlook, visit the Giants, the Cubs, or the A's sites. The decision was made that it would be almost impossible to predict what individuals might require, transportation and tickets would be up to the individual.

The official website for the Cactus League is The website is easily navigated and includes links for each of the teams displaying all of the tentative game schedules, box office phone numbers, and notable facts. The map page indicates all the stadium locations and which team plays at each. It also supplies additional stadium information. Most of the Phoenix area games are easily reachable by bus or taxi.

As is true for most major sporting events, spring training baseball games enforce tight security for the safety of the crowd and the players. The following security guidelines may vary slightly from stadium to stadium.

  • No hard-sided coolers of any size
  • No bags larger then 16 inches x 16 inches x 8 inches
  • No backpacks
  • All fruit must be sliced prior to entry into the ballpark
  • No cans, glass containers, open containers, alcohol, or weapons
  • No pets
  • All bags will be inspected before they are permitted into the ballpark
  • Plastic, factory-sealed bottles of water no larger than 1 liter are allowed

Spring training can be a fantastic way to enjoy America's pastime for a fraction of the usual Major League price. When planning the trip to Phoenix for the conference, come a day early or stay a day late and take in a great game, great players, hot dogs, peanuts, cheap tickets, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the athletes.

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