From sunny spring-training sites to big-league stadium tours, these are the destinations for baseball fans.
If you love baseball, these iconic spots belong on your roster.
Cactus League, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Every spring since 1947 this Southwestern town has been abuzz as baseball fans flock to watch their favorite teams warm up for the regular season. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies get in the groove at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick where kids are sometimes allowed to run the bases after the game.
Nearby, Peoria is the spring-training home to the Mariners and San Diego Padres, while Surprise, Ariz., hosts the Texas Rangers.
Watch the San Francisco Giants inside Scottsdale Stadium, where you can catch the action from patio-style seating under the Arizona sun. Ask about free trolley rides and a wide range of packages designed to lure sports fans.
National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, N.Y.
This iconic sports shrine traces the history and cultural significance of the game through memorabilia and interactive exhibits. Learn about the men and women who have played the game, test your trivia skills and get inspired by the feats of the game’s greatest.
Youngsters under 12 and their families can visit the Sandlot Kids’ Clubhouse for interactive, youth-focused experiences. Extra innings overnights in the museum are also possible.
Each year, during the last weekend in July, nearly 20,000 fans flock to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, which last year honored Mariners great Ken Griffey Jr.
More info: baseballhall.org.
Big League Tours
Are you a fan of Fenway? Have you been to Coors Field or Miller Park? If the mere thought makes you smile, a Big League Tour might be a perfect fit for your family. You’ll hang out with MLB players, get on the field, get inside the dugouts and catch a batting practice in the venues that continue to inspire allegiance to the game. Tours and vacation packages make it possible to hear the crack of the bat in your favorite city, or an entire region.
More info: bigleaguetours.com.
Field of Dreams, Dyersville, Iowa
“If you build it, he will come.” The oft-repeated line is one of the most famous in movie history, and you and your family can be a part of it. Make your way to traditional Iowa farm country where reality mixes with fantasy to make dreams — and movies that star Kevin Costner — come true. Bring your own gear and play catch on the century-old farm that boasts the world-famous baseball diamond. Learn more about the book behind the movie and the curveballs thrown by Mother Nature during filming.
Grapefruit League, Fla.
Last year, more than 1.5 million fans were on hand to watch their favorite players showcase their preseason skills during spring training. Fifteen teams tune up for the season at 13 different locations throughout the Sunshine State.
Catch the Houston Astros in action at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, where they’ve played ball since 1985. Astrophiles flock to the stadium — the smallest in the league — where they can linger in Autograph Alley before or after the game to catch a scribble and a photo op with their favorite players. Fans can watch workouts and batting practice at no charge, even on game day. The family-friendly park boasts a fenced-off playground in right field near the end of the grandstand where parents and kids can take a break. Check the websites for game schedules and to learn more about apps that can help plan your visit.
More info: floridagrapefruitleague.com