Play ball! Cactus League spring training starts Friday

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Batter up! All 10 Valley ballparks will be filled this weekend as 2013 Cactus League spring training games get under way.

Arizona hosts 15 teams, including our own Diamondbacks for spring training. The Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Anaheim Angels, L.A. Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are all part of the Cactus League.

According to the Cactus League website, the 10 ballparks in the Phoenix metro area is "the greatest concentration of professional baseball facilities found anywhere in the United States."

Last year, 1.7 million people spent the afternoon at one of the Valley's ballparks for spring training games. That's an average of about 7,500 fans per game.

According to a study released by the Cactus League, more than half of those fans came from out of state and stayed for an average of five days. That means they not only spent money at the games, they also splurged on hotels, rental cars, restaurants, golf, shopping and other entertainment. By the end of spring training last year, visiting fans had put more than $420 million into Arizona's economy.

“Spring training pumps our economic tires each spring. But these studies confirm the economic benefits continue all year long,” said Cactus League President Mark Coronado in a news release.

There are six teams playing in three games Friday -- Cincinnati @ Cleveland (Goodyear Ballpark), San Diego @ Seattle (Peoria Sports Complex) and Kansas City @ Texas (Surprise Recreation Campus - Stadium). All three games start at 1:05 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $8 to $47, depending which ballpark you go to.

Spring training runs through March 30.

Cactus League stadiums

  • Camelback Ranch (White Sox, Dodgers)
  • Goodyear Ballpark (Indians, Reds) →
  • Hohokam Park (Cubs)
  • Maryvale Stadium (Brewers)
  • Peoria Sports Complex (Padres, Mariners)
  • Phoenix Municipal Stadium (A's)
  • Scottsdale Stadium (Giants)
  • Surprise Stadium (Royals, Rangers)
  • Tempe Diablo Stadium (Angels)
  • Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Diamondbacks, Rockies)

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What a difference a day makes

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Thursday morning

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Friday morning

Weather forecast for today's games