2023 MLB Spring Training: Cactus, Grapefruit Leagues Explained
What is the Cactus League and how is it different from the Grapefruit League? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Before there’s an American and National League, there’s a Cactus and Grapefruit League.
To prepare for each new MLB season some clubs head to Arizona for spring training and compete in the Cactus League while the others play in Florida-based Grapefruit League.
So which teams play where and what’s the difference between the two?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues:
When did the Cactus League start?
The Cactus League was founded in 1946 after then-Cleveland owner Bill Veeck convinced then-Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move their spring training to Arizona. The Chicago Cubs were the third team to join in 1952.
By 1988, the Cactus League had 10 teams. The Cincinnati Reds were the most recent addition to the league in 2010 to give it 15 teams.
When does the Cactus League start, end in 2023?
This year’s Cactus League runs from Feb. 26 to March 28.
How many teams are in the Cactus League?
Fifteen teams play in the Cactus League.
Which teams are in the Cactus League?
The Cactus League features the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.
How many Cactus League stadiums are there?
Cactus League games are played across 10 different stadiums and eight different cities. Five of the venues are shared by two clubs.
The Cactus League stadiums are much closer together compared to the Grapefruit League. All 10 Cactus League venues are within an hour’s drive of each other.
American Family Fields of Phoenix, Phoenix: Brewers
Camelback Ranch, Glendale: Dodgers, White Sox
Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear: Guardians, Reds
Hohokam Stadium, Mesa: Athletics
Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria: Mariners, Padres
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale: Diamondbacks, Rockies
Scottsdale Stadium, Scottsdale: Giants
Sloan Park, Mesa: Cubs
Surprise Stadium, Surprise: Rangers, Royals
Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe: Angels
Are there any Cactus League stadiums indoors?
All Cactus League venues are outdoors.
How big are Cactus League stadiums?
The Cactus League ballparks have an average capacity of about 11,300. Sloan Park, home of the Cubs, can hold the most fans at around 15,000 while Tempe Diablo Stadium, home of the Angels, can hold the fewest at 9,600.
How many fans attend Cactus League games?
Attendance numbers have been down in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 lockout. In 2019, Cactus League games drew an average of 7,900 fans.
According to the Cactus League’s website, studies by Arizona State University have shown that about 60% of fans that attend games come from out of state.
What is the average temperature in Arizona in February and March?
The average temperature in Phoenix ranges from 44-71 degrees in February and 48-78 degrees in March, according to Weather.com.
When did the Grapefruit League start?
The concept of spring training in Florida first began in 1888 with the Washington Nationals. No, not those Washington Nationals. This Washington ball club, of the National League, spent three weeks training in Jacksonville that year, per the Grapefruit League website. The team went on to finish last, the whole Florida idea didn’t catch on and it would be another 15 years before teams returned to the state for spring training.
That was when the Philadelphia Athletics, the defending American League champions, became the first major league team to spend an entire spring training in Florida prior to the 1903 season. But it would be another decade before the Sunshine State became a spring training super host, with the Chicago Cubs arriving in Tampa in 1913. They were joined the following year by the St. Louis Browns in St. Petersburg, the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Augustine and the Athletics in Jacksonville.
By the end of the 1920s, 10 of MLB’s 16 teams spent spring training in Florida, including Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees.
When does the Grapefruit League start, end in 2023?
This year’s Grapefruit League runs from Feb. 24 to March 31.
How many teams are in the Grapefruit League?
Fifteen teams play in the Grapefruit League.
Which teams are in the Grapefruit League?
The Grapefruit League features the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.
How many Grapefruit League stadiums are there?
Grapefruit League games are played across 13 different stadiums, 12 different cities and two Florida coasts. Some teams share a venue, with the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach hosting the Astros and Nationals, and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter being home to the Astros and Cardinals.
The majority of the Grapefruit League stadiums are on Florida’s west coast, while three remain on the east coast.
Atlanta Braves: CoolToday Park - Venice, Fla.
Baltimore Orioles: Ed Smith Stadium - Sarasota, Fla.
Boston Red Sox: JetBlue Park at Fenway South - Fort Myers, Fla.
Detroit Tigers: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium - Lakeland, Fla.
Houston Astros: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches - West Palm Beach, Fla.
Miami Marlins: Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium - Jupiter, Fla.
Minnesota Twins: Hammond Stadium - Fort Myers, Fla.
New York Mets: Clover Park - Port St. Lucie, Fla.
New York Yankees: George M. Steinbrenner Field - Tampa, Fla.
Philadelphia Phillies: BayCare Ballpark - Clearwater, Fla.
Pittsburgh Pirates: LECOM Park - Bradenton, Fla.
St. Louis Cardinals: Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium - Jupiter, Fla.
Tampa Bay Rays: Charlotte Sports Park - Port Charlotte, Fla.
Toronto Blue Jays: TD Ballpark - Dunedin, Fla.
Washington Nationals: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches - West Palm Beach, Fla.
Are there any Grapefruit League stadiums indoors?
All Grapefruit League venues are outdoors.
How big are Grapefruit League stadiums?
The Grapefruit League ballparks have an average capacity of about 8,218. JetBlue Park, home of the Red Sox, can hold the most fans at 11,000. CoolToday Park, which hosts the Braves and is the league’s newest stadium (2019), holds the fewest fans at 6,800.
How many fans attend Grapefruit League games?
Attendance numbers have been down in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 lockout. In 2019, during the last full Grapefruit League season, games drew an average of 6,312 fans, according to the Florida Sports Foundation.
From 2000 through January 2020, more than 31 million fans attended spring training games in Florida, with a majority of sales driven by non-resident visitors, per the FSF.
What is the average temperature in Florida in February and March?
The average temperature in Florida ranges from 65-82 degrees in February and 66-83 degrees in March, according to Weather.com.