Baseball season will be upon us soon. Within days, players will report to their teams to ready themselves for the grueling 162-game year. If you live in Arizona, that means the Cactus League is starting up in your area, with fifteen MLB teams playing a month of games to shake out their rosters and warm up for the long season to come. Where are the most interesting teams and players likely to be found?
Although we’re a group of Arizona Honda dealers, we can’t get enough of America’s pastime. Here’s your brief overview of the 2018 Cactus League Season.
Glendale is the spring home of two teams: the Chicago White Sox, a struggling squad that always has a good following, and the team of true note, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It’s hard to find a team more important than a World Series contender, and the Dodgers fill that role again after a 2017 season that ended with a heartbreaking seven-game World Series defeat. They won 104 games in the regular season and tore through the playoffs on the strength of their starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish, and second-year shortstop Corey Seager. Kershaw and Seager remain on the roster; while Darvish remains unsigned, he has said he wants to return to L.A. With the return to form of Yasiel Puig and the sheer investment made by the Dodgers’ new owners, expect to see another extraordinary team this season.
Mesa houses two teams: the Oakland Athletics and the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won their championship thanks to bushels of young talent and veteran starting pitchers dotting their roster, and they may be in contention yet again in 2018.
Jon Lester is terrific, as is Jake Arrieta (if he re-signs with the team), but the still-young core of the Cubs is what has made them an annual contender. Cubs fans knew about Kris Bryant from the day he joined the organization, but Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber were just as critical to the Cubs’ championship run. Although injuries derailed their back-to-back dream last year, they still won the National League Central and made it to the NL Championship Series before falling to the Dodgers. They remain a force in the league, and any chance to watch these young stars play is worth the time.
Although the San Francisco Giants play in Scottsdale, the main attraction in town this spring will be the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
While not quite as stocked up on star power as the Dodgers and Cubs, these teams met in the 2017 NL wild card game, with Arizona coming out on top in a wild 11-8 game. Both teams expect to contend again this year on the backs of their superstars: Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt for the Diamondbacks, and Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado for the Rockies. Although Greinke may not pitch more than a few games for Arizona in Scottsdale this spring, it’s worth keeping an eye out for those occasions. (Go, D-Backs!)
Here are some other key Spring Training games to keep track of:
- Feb. 26 & 28: Rockies vs. Diamondbacks (same home ballpark for each team)
- Mar. 1: Rockies at Cubs
- Mar. 5: Cubs at Rockies
- Mar. 16: Dodgers at Diamondbacks
If you’d like to learn about the special Spring Training travel packages, visit www.mlb.com.
Spring Training Traveling Tips
If you and your familial team are looking to watch some young talent shine during the spring and need a way to get around, consider taking a trip to your local Valley Honda Dealers location. We have numerous models to help you make this Spring Training a success, including the all-new Honda CR-V and HR-V. With a five-person capacity, top-flight gas mileage, and five-star safety ratings, both Honda SUVs are premium options for bringing family and friends to a ballgame. And if that’s not enough, the CR-V has a Motortrend SUV of the Year award on its side as well.
Find and contact your nearest Honda dealers in Scottsdale, Tempe, or Phoenix today.
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