Cactus League ballpark rankings: All 10 Arizona spring training stadiums, from best to worst

Fans watch a spring training baseball game from a berm at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona

It’s been 15 years since Arizona’s Cactus League expanded to its current size of 10 stadiums, serving as the spring training home to 15 MLB teams.

That was when the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians) moved from Florida, paving the way for the Cincinnati Reds as the 15th team one year later. That brought all teams into the same municipality — the Phoenix metro area — for the first time in Cactus League history.

Those 15 years might not sound like a long time but it’s been enough for the Arizona spring training stadiums to mature and develop a personality. Some feel like they opened last year while others seem as though they need a facelift.

Which are the best stadiums for the February/March spring training trip to Arizona? Are there any you should avoid? And what are some tips or tricks for visiting them?

Let’s rank all of the Arizona spring training stadiums 1 through 10, with a few comments about each one from a baseball fan who has spent time at each ballpark. 

For more on watching MLB spring training in Arizona, check out our Cactus League spring training guide.

Players and coaches meet on the mound during a spring training game at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona

1. Sloan Park

Where is it: Mesa

Who plays there: Chicago Cubs

When did it open: 2014

How many can it hold: 15,000

What’s so special: This is the best stadium to watch a Cactus League ballgame. In fact, it does the best job of replicating a Major League Baseball atmosphere. The stadium feels new but rustic. The concourses are wide and the ushers extra helpful. The food selection is good, but the food trucks past the outfield berms are always top notch.

What isn’t so great: This is nit-picking, but the beer selection has gotten worse every year. Here’s hoping they bring back some of the Chicago beers they debuted 10 years ago.

Worth the sunburn: In fact, if you’re looking toward the third-base side after about 2:30 p.m. with the sun beaming through upper deck, you’ll swear you’re watching a game at Wrigley Field. Oh, and get your picture taken in front of the replica Wrigley sign.

A baseball game is played at night at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona

Photo credit: Bill Bradley

2. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

Where is it: Scottsdale

Who plays there: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies

When did it open: 2011

How many can it hold: 11,000

What’s so special: After Sloan Park, this is most aesthetically pleasing stadium on the Arizona spring training circuit. A river runs through the desert landscaped home-plate entrance. The spacious view grabs your attention once your ticket is scanned. Unlike others, there’s no bench seating, all separate seats or outfield berms. By the third inning, most seats are in the shade. The berm seating is split by a center field batter’s eye, but it’s still ample. The concession stands even have vegetarian offerings. This place sells out regularly, but it’s not just because the home team plays here.

What isn’t so great: This is pretty much heaven for a ballpark, especially for a night game. The only negative might be the ever-changing beer offerings, but there’s hope that all of the Colorado beers will return this spring. 

Worth the sunburn: Yes, especially when you can find free parking in the massive shopping center next door and free sunscreen in the outfield berms. The dueling team shops even have sales in the middle of spring training.

Find tickets for MLB spring training games on Ticketmaster.

3. Peoria Sports Complex 

Where is it: Peoria

Who plays there: San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners

When did it open: 1994

How many can it hold: 12,339

What’s so special: This ballpark jumped in the rankings about eight years ago when it added shading around its upper deck. It suddenly became a nicer experience. In fact, the best seats are under that shade. The concourses are extremely wide. The food trucks are surprisingly good and the left-field beer garden is the best among Arizona’s spring training stadiums.

What isn’t so great: It’s the just the mediocre teams, which don’t have a huge fan following. This is an excellent example of a not-too big Cactus League stadium done right.

Worth the sunburn: This is a gem on the northwest side of the Valley within stone’s throw of a pretty active mall and lots of restaurants. Try this day out: Catch a day game here, grab dinner across the street (there’s Buca di Beppo, Texas Roadhouse and the Cheesecake Factory among others) and then drive west about 15 minutes on Bell Road for a night game at Surprise Stadium.

A Cactus League spring training baseball game in progress at Scottsdale Stadium

Photo credit: Bill Bradley

4. Scottsdale Stadium 

Where is it: Scottsdale

Who plays there: San Francisco Giants

When did it open: 1992 (renovation from 1959)

How many can it hold: 12,000

What’s so special: No Cactus League ballpark has as much history as this one and the stadium exudes it in character. The Giants have been here since 1984 and it used to be home to their Triple-A team, the Phoenix Firebirds. The stadium is going through another three-year upgrade but right now it has some of the best concessions and beverage outlets. And by the third-inning most of the seats are in the shade.

What isn’t so great: The footprint is wedged in among city hall and a medical center, parking can be tough and it has too many bleacher seats. However, that isn’t so bad considering Old Town Scottsdale – with its jewelry shops, restaurants and dive bars – are just two blocks away. 

Worth the sunburn: Any day. This is the Fenway Park of the Cactus League. The stadium is a little hard in which to traverse but the concourses are wide, the team shop is massive and the beer selection is huge, especially in the Charro Lodge overlooking right field. For cheap parking, pay $10 at the church lot four blocks away and they’ll keep an eye on your car.

View from the outfield berm at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona

5. Camelback Ranch

Where is it: Glendale

Who plays there: Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

When did it open: 2009

How many can it hold: 13,000

What’s so special: It’s clean. It’s beautiful. It feels brand new. But it might be the least fan-friendly stadium in the Cactus League (see below). It feels more like the Dodgers’ home than the White Sox’s, but both teams have their own retail stores. The beer selection is very Arizona and L.A.-centric.

What isn’t so great: Unlike most baseball stadiums, it was built facing the southeast (most face northeast). The result is a lot more sun facing the stands (for more innings, too) and more sun hitting the players. 

Worth the sunburn: This is still one of the newest and nicest of any. They really take care of the fans in the outfield berm seating with spots chalked off for blanket coverage and room to walk around. It’s too bad the stadium was not built the right direction.

View from the first-base stands at Surprise Stadium in Arizona

6. Surprise Stadium

Where is it: Surprise

Who plays there: Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers

When did it open: 2003

How many can it hold: 10,500

What’s so special: It’s a stadium with a very old school feel despite being relatively new. Besides the entrance, which looks like a replica of the Rangers’ former regular-season home, The Ballpark at Arlington. Seating is spacious and berm seating is seemingly everywhere. And the best beer news is they have local Huss Brewing offerings on tap.

What isn’t so great: This is one of those parks that has too much sunshine and not enough shade, which is great in late February, but scorching in the middle of March. It’s too bad there isn’t more outfield berm seating. It’s cramped out there.

Worth the sunburn: Coming off a World Series title, it will be worth seeing if the Rangers make any improvements to the park. This park has so much promise.

An Oakland A's spring training game in progress at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona during the Cactus League

7. Hohokam Stadium

Where is it: Mesa.

Who plays there: Oakland (or Las Vegas) Athletics

When did it open: 1997 (renovated in 2015)

How many can it hold: 10,500.

What’s so special: Hohokam was taken over by the A’s nine years ago and it’s much better than how it was left by the Cubs, the previous tenant. The left-field food truck park is second to none. The upper deck has a great feel with shade from start to finish. And there is more than enough on-site parking with short walk to your car wherever you leave.

What isn’t so great: The concourse is the least inviting in the League, a dark hallowed underbelly of the ballpark. The park concessions are nothing to write home about. It’s stuck in the suburbs of Phoenix suburb Mesa and it’s surrounded by subdivisions.

Worth the sunburn: The A’s and the Hohokams have done an admirable job of improving an old ballpark, but you can put only so much lipstick on this pig. It makes for a good day while the entire park feels like it could be much more.

8. American Family Fields of Phoenix

Where is it: Phoenix (Maryvale suburb)

Who plays there: Milwaukee Brewers

When did it open: 1998

How many can it hold: 10,000

What’s so special: You will find more shade in the Fields than anywhere else in the League. The concourse, which is elevated so you can’t miss an inning, has shade that extends all around the ballpark. That includes shading areas over the outfield berm seating, which is an outstanding feature. Also, you should expect a team named the Brewers will have a great beer selection.

What isn’t so great: The biggest knock is neither the park nor the team nor the seating. It’s the neighborhood. Maryvale is sketchy and it took a lot of bravery to build this facility and lure the Brewers from Chandler. The park was updated in 2018 but it doesn’t change that it sits in Maryvale.

Worth the sunburn: It’s a nice environment on the grounds; the adjacent fields are a great place to watch practices before day games. Just don’t come to the night games.

9. Tempe Diablo Stadium 

Where is it: Tempe

Who plays there: Los Angeles Angels

When did it open: 1969

How many can it hold: 9,558

What’s so special: There is some beauty in this ballpark. The entrance is the prettiest among the Arizona ballparks. The practice fields are so adjacent, it’s easy to get autographs. But that’s where the pluses end and the minuses begin.

What isn’t so great: No matter what Tempe or the Angels do to this park, it always feels wedged in. The berm seating is too tight against resort to the north; Interstate 10 seems to be right on top of the right-field berm and the concourses are the tightest in the league. The concession stands can’t help but have long lines.  

Worth the sunburn: Not really, unless you’re an Angels fan. Too bad they can’t raze a few practice fields and move this stadium west a few acres. That would change the ambiance – and the beer lines.

The third-base entrance gate to Goodyear Ballpark during an Arizona Cactus League spring training game

10. Goodyear Ballpark

Where is it: Goodyear

Who plays there: Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians

When did it open: 2009

How many can it hold: 10,311

What’s so special: Nothing much, really. It’s been well kept. It’s one of the newest in the Cactus League. Kudos to Goodyear for luring the Ohio teams. It feels like 15 years later, not many people know they’re out there. The beer selection has improved in recent years with Arizona craft kegs.

What isn’t so great: From the generic architecture to the long drive, just know that you’re never going to have trouble finding a ticket. There’s too many bleacher seats and very hot atmosphere in late March. Sellouts are highly unusual. 

Worth the sunburn: Only if you think it’s worth making the drive from anywhere in the Valley. Location. Location. Location. This is the furthest Cactus League stadium from the others. The next closest is Camelback Ranch (20 minutes away) and the furthest is Talking Stick (more than an hour east). It feels like the last option on any Cactus League trip – unless you’re a Reds or Guardians fan.

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Bill Bradley is the former sports editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sacramento Bee and Nashville Tennessean. He is a Phoenix native who has gone to spring training games every year since 1990.

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