Family Sports Spotlight Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich February 24, 2010

I’ve got a fever. And the only prescription is more baseball.
Football is over, March Madness is still weeks away, and the NBA season has been about as exciting as watching your mother shop for window treatments.
Fear not, sports rubes and suntan seekers, there’s a light at the end of that tunnel.
The 2010 Cactus League season.
gradyI can almost smell that seductive fragrance that is one part SPF-50, one part Polish sausage, and four parts beer. I want to fall asleep in the outfield at Peoria Sports Complex, perform advanced scouting for my numerous fantasy baseball teams, ask Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto to sign my son’s baseball even though I’m completely childless, and I want to befriend Dodgers fans only to give them horrible directions back to their hotel.
It’s a glorious time of the year, when the sun shines bright every day and 30 teams have a shot at the World Series.
2010 might be your last chance to see the Cubs play at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa. Mayor Scott Smith is currently embroiled in a tug-of-war with Naples, Fla., to secure the team’s Spring Training address and all the economic windfalls that come with it. This will also be the last season you can road-trip to Tucson to watch the Diamondbacks and Rockies play at Tucson Electric Park; those teams move into swanky new Scottsdale digs in 2011.
The Cactus League now boasts 15 teams and is no longer the pesky younger sibling to Florida’s Grapefruit League. And with aggressive expansion has come some awe-inspiring new facilities, including Camelback Ranch, home to the Dodgers and White Sox, Surprise Stadium, home to the Rangers and Royals, and Goodyear Ballpark, home to Ohio’s Indians and Reds. Combine those megaplexes with the traditional, more quaint venues like the Giants’ Scottsdale Stadium, Athletics’ Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Brewers’ Maryvale Baseball Park and Angels’ Tempe Diablo Stadium, and the Cactus League offers baseball fans everything they could possibly want–most of it located 40 minutes or less away from Downtown. 
Pitchers and catchers have already reported and games begin the first week in March so you best make ticket arrangement pronto.  
And make sure to load up on sunscreen.