Spring training: Wrigleyville West
Hey Cubs fans, chances are you won’t be able to get a ticket to a Cubs game at its new Sloan Park in Mesa AZ this year unless you have an “in.” They’ve sold out most games. So, plan now for next year.
However, if you are going this year to Wrigleyville West, yes that really is the park’s nickname, to see the Cubs play in their stadium in Mesa or at another of the Cactus League venues, it’s not too late to pick up some fun and interesting tips.
- No matter how you feel about the cost of ball-park programs do get the Cubs official program titled Sloan Park Spring Training 2016. It has photos and good info on the Cubs players similar to baseball cards. In addition, it contains the 40-man rosters of other Cactus League teams so you will be able to tell who is or is not on the field when they play opponents. The program also has highlights from 2015, info on Cubs Manager Joe Maddon and the BBWAA results with background info on Kris Bryant “Rookie of the Year,” Jake Arrieta NL’s winner of the “Cy Young Award” and Maddon Nl’s “Manager of the Year.” It also has suggestions on where to stand for autographs and buy Cubs items plus where to stay, eat and what to do.
- If you are a sponge for Cactus League history, soak up more info and see some artifacts at the Mesa Historical Museum on downtown Main Street. The current edition of the exhibit is supposed to end at the close of 2016 spring training season according to some museum officials.
- The Cubs will be playing the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium March 24 which would be a good time to also check out the Western Spirit, downtown Scottsdale’s gorgeous Museum of the West. It features western paintings, sculptures and a collection of western gear from saddles and spurs to badges and rifles.
- The Chicago White Sox will have another go at the Cubs (revenge game for March 12 Sloan Park blowout?) at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, March 18. The Sox spring training facility is just off the 101 way on the northwestern side of Phoenix. With Cubs’ Sloan Park off the 101 southeastern side of Phoenix the tip here is to get to know the 101 Loop. The highway is also an easy way to get to Scottsdale Stadium and the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (think Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.) If going out here stop at the Talking Stick Resort to ask about the wild horses that sometimes are seen from its north golf course. If stuck back in Chicago, check out the TV and radio schedule. Game time March 18 is 1:05 AZ (MST) time. They didn’t change to DST.
- When going to Sloan Park, prove to your friends that it is Wrigleyville West by snapping shots of its abutting street signs: Waveland Avenue on the north, Sheffield Avenue on the east side and Clark Street on the west. In the park look for a replica of Wrigley Field’s famed outside marquee. You can stand in line to have a message light up on the marquee or just take a selfie in front of it.
BTW The Cubs home opener is April 11, 2016 at 7:05 against the Reds. Sloan Park is at 2330 W. Rio Salado Pkwy, Mesa, 85201. 480-668-0500.