Spring training winds down as Maryvale looks to keep Brewers

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The team moving trucks are packed and ready to go as players run the final bases during this spring training season in the Valley.

And the fans have made 2012 a banner year.

At Camelback Ranch Glendale, "the total attendance is up over 12 percent from last year," said Jeff Overton, president of Camelback Ranch Glendale, home of both the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. "The White Sox have had their largest attended season in Cactus League history."

Overall, league officials expect to beat last year's attendance of 1.5 million attendees by 70,000 tickets.

They credit a few factors. Starting the season a week later means better weather and more breathing room from events like Barrett Jackson and the Phoenix Open held in February.

Also, trades for players like Albert Pujols have stirred more interest.

And while the opportunity has passed to see many of the teams in preseason -- including the Milwaukee Brewers -- there is a deal in the works that would keep them in Maryvale.

The city of Phoenix has agreed to pay for $1.5 million in improvements to the the Maryvale Baseball Park in exchange for at least two more years with the Brewers.

The agreement is for 10 years with an option to leave after just two.

"Economically, it makes sense," said Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela. "Brewers fans spend $3 million a year. Speaking as a westside kid, speaking as someone who's had the Brewers for so long, they are a point of pride for Maryvale."

The City Council still needs to approve the contract and the Tourism and Sports Authority also needs to give the plan a green light.

The Cactus League spring training season officially ends on Wednesday.