“Baseball Season’s Underway…”

A Quick Look into Cactus League Spring Training ‘22

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Sydney Chan

What a beautiful site to see (yes, I may be a little biased… hey, at least I’m honest with my readers!). A regular season tradition, Clark the Cub came onto the field with the iconic W flag after a Cubby victory. Let’s just make one thing clear: “Go Cubs Go” is a total vibe.

Sydney Chan, Staff Writer

The little click from a Sharpie cap. The mouthwatering smell of hot dogs. The energetic cheering from the crowd. These are just a few phrases to describe the pure excitement of Spring Training. 

Each year, baseball fans from around the country come together to support their teams before the real summer season. Depending on the team, fans travel either to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Cactus League, or Sarasota County, Florida, for the Grapefruit League. 

This year, I was so excited to visit Scottsdale and experience the hype for myself. We visited Sloan Park for my team, the Chicago Cubs (hence the title, if you know you know); Scottsdale Stadium, the spring home of the San Francisco Giants; and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. Jayla Stafford (‘25) visited the home of our San Diego Padres, Peoria Sports Complex, so look out for some of her photos towards the end!

Many aspects of Spring Training are on a smaller scale compared to the actual season: the parking lot isn’t as big, the lines are shorter, and the stadiums don’t have as many seats. But the one thing about Spring Training that is arguably bigger than the regular season is the overall energy and dynamic of the fans. Families arrive at the ballpark hours early to get autographs from their favorite players, and everyone belts the seventh-inning stretch. The genuine love and passion for this sport was as clear as day.

3.6.22 (Dodgers @ Royals) We’re starting this photo story off with a contribution from our very own Head of School, Mr. Ron Kim. Pictured are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mr. Kim’s team, playing against the home team, the Kansas City Royals, at Surprise Stadium. The final score was 10-5 Dodgers. (Ron Kim)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.26.22 (Mariners @ Brewers) Here’s another photo from Mr. Kim, where the Seattle Mariners played the home team, the Milwaukee Brewers, at American Family Fields in Phoenix, AZ. If you didn’t already know, Mr. Kim has some great food recommendations, like Andreoli’s chocolate croissants in Scottsdale, AZ (make sure to check them out if you ever go to Scottsdale!). But according to him, the bratwurst at this game was quite disappointing for a team from a town known for its sausages. Opt for something else haha! (Ron Kim)

 

3.27.22 (Royals @ Cubs) This sign is an iconic indicator of Wrigley Field, the regular season home of the Cubs. I thought it was so cool that there was a similar sign at Sloan Park. Families could add a custom message to the sign for a customized photo! (Sydney Chan)
Dogs join in on the fun! It’s not just their kids that parents can dress up in jerseys! (Sydney Chan)
It was a great day for a ballgame at Sloan Park, where the Kansas City Royals visited the Chicago Cubs. The best part? It was pretty cool outside! Just 90 degrees. (Sydney Chan)
What a beautiful site to see (yes, I may be a little biased… hey, at least I’m honest with my readers!). A regular season tradition, Clark the Cub came onto the field with the iconic W flag after a Cubby victory. Let’s just make one thing clear: “Go Cubs Go” is a total vibe. (Sydney Chan)

 

3.28.22 (Dodgers @ Diamondbacks) At Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Los Angeles Dodgers played the home team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a pretty cloudy day, and it even started raining at the end, but overall, a great stadium and great fans (#mrkimwasspotted). (Sydney Chan)
3.29.22 (Padres @ Giants) At Scottsdale Stadium, the San Diego Padres played the home team, the San Francisco Giants. The sky was blue, and the white puffy clouds filled the sky. (Sydney Chan)
Shown walking off the field is Jorge Alfaro, the catcher for the Padres. Let the inning begin! (Sydney Chan)
On this day, the Padres unfortunately got out of the scoring gates a little late, and couldn’t catch up. The final score was 11-6, Giants. (Sydney Chan)
Here’s a really cool detail on the visitor’s dugout at Scottsdale Stadium: a little baseball symbol! What a great detail for a stadium full of character. (Samson Chan)
Speaking of character, Scottsdale Stadium had these little cement plates all along the path to walk into the stadium. There were plates that had “Run,” “Steal,” and “Strike,” which are such fun features. Additionally, after each game, all the kids are free to run the bases, which makes Scottsdale Stadium a very family friendly ballpark. (Sydney Chan)

 

3.30.22 (Mariners @ Cubs) And we’re back to Sloan Park! This time with some arguably cooler photos. First up we’ve got my sister, getting an autograph from a Cubs player. Like I mentioned in the beginning, Spring Training is all about meeting your favorite players, and the kids had a lot of opportunities to do so. (Samson Chan)
A really nice part of these Spring Training parks is the decor. It’s definitely different from the regular stadiums, and it has this homey feel. This is outside of the First Base gate at Sloan Park. Aren’t the different Cubs logos on the wall cool? (Sydney Chan)
More decor at Sloan Park! There’s just something about this old-school look that makes you that much more excited to walk in to the park. (Sydney Chan)
Usually, players just warm up as a team (minus the mascot). But on this day, Clark the Cub joined in! Who knew mascots could catch with a glove? I guess there’s a first time for everything. (Sydney Chan)
If I didn’t caption this photo, you could probably tell what’s happening… the national anthem! Just like at every other regular season ball game, a guest artist sang our “Star-Spangled Banner.” (Sydney Chan)
Anyone who’s been to Chicago or Wrigley Field knows that this isn’t just an ordinary hotdog cart. Home to the famous Maxwell Polish, fans can get the same taste of Chicago in Scottsdale. Topped with grilled onions, mustard, and a pickle, Maxwell hotdogs make for a great stadium lunch. (Samson Chan)
Here’s a common site during Spring Training: kids waiting for a fly ball. During these games, families are free to buy tickets (ones that are cheaper than the typical seats) for the lawn, a grassy area beyond the outfield. Oftentimes outfielders will toss fly balls to the kids which makes for a really energetic environment. (Samson Chan)
“I love Spring Training because it’s warm, and we get to watch our team on a smaller scale,” Jim Greener, a Cubs fan, shared with me. Hawaiian shirts are not a rare sight to see during Training games. (Sydney Chan)
Ah, the parents. What’s Spring Training without a big family photo with all of your baseball swag? Have an answer? I thought so. (Samson Chan)
Post-game featuring a great little detail from Sloan Park: this old-school scoreboard. There’s just something about it that had a great laid back feel. (Samson Chan)
This is Ryley Krushen, the guy who caught Seiya Suzuki’s first hit as a Cub, which happened to be a home run! For those that are not as familiar with Suzuki, he was just recently drafted from Japan, the country in which baseball is the most popular sport. It was a really cool moment. At first, Ryley wanted to keep the ball, but then a Cubs PR lady came down, and told Ryley that Suzuki really wanted the ball. In exchange, Suzuki would give Ryley another autographed piece. (Sydney Chan)

 

3.26.22 (Dodgers @ Royals) –
We’re starting this photo story off with a contribution from our very own Head of School, Mr. Ron Kim. Pictured are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mr. Kim’s team, playing against the home team, the Kansas City Royals, at Surprise Stadium. The final score was 10-5 Dodgers. (Ron Kim)

3.30.22 (Brewers @ Padres)

Now we’re on to Jayla’s photos. It was a beautiful afternoon at (padre stadium), where the Milwaukee Brewers played the home team, our Padres. (Jayla Stafford)
Let’s just appreciate this awesome action shot! Although I don’t know baseball mechanics as much as softball, the hitter’s technique looks pretty on point. He brought his right leg in line with his left leg to ensure that his body was square with the ball. (Jayla Stafford)
And a run from our SD Padres! After the relocation of the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017, the Padres became the only franchise in the four major American professional sports leagues in the San Diego sports market (according to SportsTeamHistory.com). (Jayla Stafford)
Sunsets and baseball. What could be better? (Jayla Stafford)

Thanks for coming along this Spring Training photo story! The only thing left to do is shout, “Play Ball!”