MLB Spring Training is back to life and it’s good

MLB Spring Training is back to life and it’s good

It’s been four years since Major League Baseball had a “normal” spring training.

First, we had the “Stay Home Era.”

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball seemed (relatively) normal until March 11, 2020, when an unusual rainstorm in Arizona canceled a full slate of Cactus League games that day, only for COVID-19 to shut down the world that night.

It was a long winter for cactus and grapefruit, even after winter was over.

We had the “Zip-Tie Era”.

A view of the sparsely packed stadium with Camelback Mountain in the background as the San Francisco Giants played the Chicago White Sox in a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona, Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

A regular schedule was planned for 2021, but capacity restrictions led to hellish ticket prices. Third-party sites were the only hope for some, and a hard lesson about supply and demand was learned.

Capacities returned to normal in 2021, but it took until end of June for Coors Field to allow 100% seating capacity again.

The MLB postseason it would advance from neutral places induced by COVID to sales advantages of the home field. 2021 was far from a “normal” year, but it was perhaps the most welcome “abbreviated normal” that could have existed, especially in July when All-Star Game helped Rockies fans make up for lost time.

However, the entire year was too quiet for those in Arizona and Florida. For nearly every spring training facility, 2022 was the only hope for near-capacity crowds.

Fresh on our minds: Then we had the 2021-22 MLB lockout. It began on December 2, 2021 and ended on March 10, 2022. Spring training games, originally scheduled to begin on February 26, were delayed by nearly three weeks.

Some may not have made travel plans last year, knowing the uncertainty of the lockout could keep them from the baseball they were looking for. Those who made plans may have canceled them once the calendar turned to March.

Action resumed, for some teams as early as March 17, just seven days after the lockdown ended. (Some players couldn’t make it in time, let alone the fans). The doors were filling up again, but a seven-day notice kept many away.

After one week of the Cactus League 2022, six of the 15 Arizona-based teams averaged 5,000 or fewer fans per game.

The last “normal” year was 2019. No one was below that threshold then.


The outlook for 2023 is as good as ever for those who love the normality of a standard baseball schedule. Mix in Baseball World Classicand we ourselves have one of the brightest horizons in spring training history.


Spring Training 2023 – Colorado Rockies

  • 34 scheduled matches
  • 18 games scheduled at Salt River Fields on Talking Stick
  • 22 games at Salt River Fields in Talking Stick or within a 12 mile radius
  • 2 games at the Las Vegas Ballpark! (It’s not traditional Arizona, but it’s still great.)
  • 1 exhibition scheduled against the Mexican team

Spring Training 2023 – Greater Phoenix

  • 230 Scheduled Cactus League games between MLB teams
  • 241 games with at least one MLB team (includes WBC and MLB-vs-NCAA exhibitions)
  • 250 games with at least one MLB or WBC team
  • 10 games at Chase Field (World Baseball Classic Pool C: Canada, Columbia, Great Britain, Mexico, USA)
  • 11 different ballparks (includes Chase Field/World Baseball Classic)

With so much going on, and so much returning to normal, there’s never a bad time to visit.

If you’re a Rockies fan, what time is the best?

March 9-12

COL vs. Mexico | COL vs SF | COL vs MAR | ARI against COL

During that stretch, the Rockies will play four games at their spring home, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, with a “road” game against the sharing complex. Diamondbacks. There’s not much need to rent a car during this period, assuming you’re strictly a baseball person who likes to take Ubers and stay in Scottsdale hotels.

On March 12, the last day of this five-day window, Team USA takes on Team Mexico at 7:00 PM inside Chase Field.

March 13-16

OAK vs CABBAGE | COL vs CHC (night) | COL vs LAD | SD against COL

This four-game stretch would allow a fan to visit three different Cactus League stadiums. The puppiesSloan Park has some of the highest attendance in all of spring training, while the Dodgers‘spring at home, Camelback Ranch (shared with the White Sox), was planned by the same architects who designed it Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

This stretch would also be followed by the final three days of Group C of the World Baseball Classic, helping fans check the box for a major league ballpark if they so choose.

March 20-26

LAD against COL | COL @ SD | LAA vs COL | OFF | COL @ MIL (split team) | CLE against COL

This is a proverbial “sweet spot” of games where everyday big leaguers and top starting pitchers can expand their workload.

The Rockies open the regular season on March 30, and the few days leading up to it may feel more like a tune-up than a build-up, so a few days earlier could mean some higher workloads.

February 6 – March 28

If you have the time and resources, this mega-window includes the Waste Management Phoenix Openhosted by Glendale, Arizona Super Bowl LVIIthe entirety of the 2023 Cactus League and World Baseball Classic Pool, and then it would leave you very close to San Diego, where the Rockies open the regular season on March 30.

(Bonus in 2024: The Final Four will also be hosted in Phoenix.)

There really isn’t a bad time, after all; with so much baseball in such a close radius, any time frame is a good window.

The most important thing is that it is back to normal.

Too much time has passed.

#MLB #Spring #Training #life #good

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