Scottsdale Stadium has a unique spring training feel

Scottsdale StadiumThe San Francisco Giants spring training home has a decidedly different feel than many of the ballparks in Arizona's Cactus League. Scottsdale Stadium is located in the heart of the Phoenix metro area's most vibrant and most visited area. Unlike many of its counterparts, Scottsdale Stadium was originally built for the main purpose of housing a minor league baseball team. Instead of having multiple acres of ball fields, this stadium has only one additional full field on its grounds.  As a result, much of the Giants training efforts take place in the same stadium as where they play their games.

This situation presents a mixed bag for Giants fans. On one hand, the stadium atmosphere and location is fantastic. Fans feel like they're attending a regular season game, just in a smaller venue. The trade off involves fan's access to players. The opportunity to get up close and personal with players on facility back fields is non-existent. The only real chance of getting an autograph takes place right before the game begins, when the club makes its way to the home dugout. Fortunately, no matter where one's ticket is, fans can stand in the front row of foul territory until immediately before first pitch. Most days, a few Giants players stop to sign autographs.

One bonus for fans involves the Giants taking game batting practice on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. As a result, souvenir baseballs are available for anyone who enters the stadium early.  

All in all, Scottsdale Stadium is a great place to spend an early spring day.

Below are a few pieces of video displaying how close fans can get to the players as they train for the upcoming season. Included are clips of 1B Aubrey Huff fielding grounders and newly acquired SS Miguel Tejada taking swings in the cage.

For Tuesday's game, the visiting Chicago Cubs arrived at the ballpark already dressed in their uniforms. Take a look at the Cubs entering their dugout fully dressed for the game, followed by 3B Aramis Ramirez tossing the baseball during warm-ups. Spring training is the only time a big league team might show up to the opposing park as if they were a high school team, who already changed at their school before boarding the bus. How charming is spring training baseball?