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How to get yourself ready (as a fan) for spring training

The Cactus League is one of the Valley’s treasures, a chance to see a lot of your favorite Major League Baseball players in a much-more intimate setting than at a regular-season game at Chase Field. Only you know your favorite team and players, and of course you should make your plans accordingly. But here are five tips to make the experience more enjoyable, no matter who you like.

Study the schedule: Sometimes teams play what’s called a split-squad game. That means they’ll divide the team into two, with each playing on the same day. It’s standard procedure for teams, but it could mean if you show up at Hohokam Stadium to see a couple of your favorite Chicago Cubs, there’s a chance they might be playing at Tempe Diablo Stadium that day.

Arrive early: The Cactus League has exploded in popularity. Long gone are the days when you can drive up five minutes before the game starts, grab a ticket and catch the first pitch. Most games are crowded, so plan to get there at least a half-hour before the starting time.

Bring money: Again, there was a time when you could buy a ticket, a hot dog and a couple of beers at a Cactus League game for next to nothing. Those days are over. Bring more money than you think you will need, because you will spend it.

Wear sunscreen: If you live in Arizona you shouldn’t need to be reminded – but how many times have you forgotten to put on sunscreen at a game and wound up with a bad burn? The temperatures can rise quickly here, and especially if you’re going in late March, shade will be a priority.

Head for the lawn: If you’ve never sat in the lawn at one of the stadiums that offer seating there, do it. No, you can’t see the players as well, but so what? It’s like the perfect combination of Little League and Major League baseball, a really informal good time watching great players. Plus, tickets are much cheaper. You can’t lose.