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Cactus League

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In Major League Baseball, spring training is a series of practices and games before the start of the regular season. It allows for new players to try to get a spot on the roster as well as experienced players practice time. People from all over come to see these games and usually is around the same time as spring break. Spring training starts in mid-February and continues until just before Opening Day of the regular season, which usually is in the first week of April.

The Chicago White Sox were the first big league team to play a game in Arizona in 1909 and for the next three decades, the White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates played spring exhibition games against local teams in Arizona almost every spring. Then in 1929, the Detroit Tigers became the first club to hold their spring training in Arizona where they played several games against local teams and two exhibitions against big league competition at Phoenix Riverside Park. But in 1930 the Tigers moved their spring camp to California and never returned to Arizona. Later on after the spring of 1965, the Cactus League hit a low point and the Cubs left Arizona to train in Long Beach, Calif. and the Red Sox moved closer to home by leaving Scottsdale for Winter Haven, Florida. Only the two original teams, the Indians and Giants, remained in Arizona with the Angels and Cubs having bases in California.

Unlike the Grapefruit League, teams on the Cactus League sometimes share stadiums because out of the 15 teams who train in Arizona, only the Cubs, Angels, Brewers, Giants and A’s have their own home stadiums. In Feb 2014, the newest stadium was built for MLB spring training is Sloan Park, the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Arizona. According to the Arizona Republic, the Cactus League makes more than $300 million a year in economic impact to help the Phoenix metropolitan area economy. The Arizona Republic newspaper also reports that more than $500 million has been spent on building eight new stadiums and renovating two others for the 15 teams in the Valley.