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Now it’s more than fashionable to take a spring training trip to


Arizona—it’s almost impossible to resist, especially for Northern Californians just a short flight away.


No fewer than 15 teams play in the


Cactus League, all in the greater Phoenix area. Freeways connect one shiny, new ballpark to the next, and one pristine, picturesque golf course to another. And, oh yeah: The Giants are reigning


World Series champions and the A’s are reigning American League West champs. It’s a great time to be a Bay Area baseball fan (and it’s always a great time to be a golfer), with optimism in abundance as the 2013 season fast ap- proaches. That should make


for a lively scene in Arizona this spring training as Giants and A’s fans seek an early glimpse at their teams. “I don’t know if it’s going to be any crazier than it was in 2011,” Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said, referring to the spring after San Francisco’s first World Series title. “That was so much fun—every-


where you went, people wore their colors. It’s going to be a reaffirmation of that, because Giants fans travel.” Krukow understands the appeal of a


golf/baseball junket to Arizona, because he’s a former big-league pitcher and an avid, low-handicap golfer. Still, the junket requires planning ahead, picking a strategic time to travel, deciding which ball games you want to see and choosing the right golf course for your budget and taste. This year’s Cactus League schedule


begins earlier than usual, because of the upcoming World Baseball Classic (with its final games set for San Francisco’s AT&T Park on March 17-19). It’s wise to head to the desert earlier rather than later, any- way—there are smaller crowds before col- lege spring break swings into full gear, and there’s a better chance to secure autographs before teams start playing games. One word of warning: The Giants and


A’s play in more traditional, intimate spring ballparks, but many of the newer facilities are bigger and teams often take batting practice on distant, hidden fields. That makes players less accessible and might


34 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2013


Papago fits with the grand tradition of Harding Park and Torrey Pines as a tough municipal course.


Scottsdale Stadium, the Giants’ spring home, is located in the middle of scenic downtown and is a short walk from a wide selection of restaurants, clubs and galleries.


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