Going To Arizona? Here’s How To Check Out The Rainiers

The lure of watching baseball in the sun draws many Pacific Northwesterners to Arizona and spring training this time of year. I’m often asked for “spring training tips,” and aside from my secret rental car life hack, this is what  tell people: make sure you watch some of a minor league game.

Minor league spring training games are going on all over Arizona, usually on fields just a short walk from the Cactus League ballparks which are scattered all over the valley.

And they are all free.

Now for your free entry you won’t get much: a seat on an aluminum bleacher, possibly with a roof to shade you. There are no concession stands, so bring your own beverages, snacks, and sunscreen.

Most of your fellow fans will be player’s family members, scouts, front office personnel, and minor league pitchers who aren’t scheduled to throw that day.

You can catch an early preview of the Rainiers. Right now about 75% of the players who will begin the season in Tacoma are in major league camp, but that will change over the course of March as the Mariners gradually cut down their roster.

Oh yeah, one important thing. You can’t tell the players without a program, and nobody is selling programs, so make sure you stop by the lobby of the Mariners office and ask for a free minor league roster. It’s the second thing I do after getting to Arizona each year (longtime readers know the first thing I do is not baseball related).

Minor league games start in mid-March. You just walk into the group of fields – four fields adjacent to one another – and ask somebody which field the Triple-A game is on. Here is the Rainiers schedule – games usually start at 1:00.

March 18: Kansas City (Peoria).

March 19: at Chicago White Sox (Glendale).

March 20: at Texas (Surprise).

March 21: San Diego (Peoria).

March 22: at Kansas City (Surprise).

March 23: Texas (Peoria).

March 24: Kansas City (Peoria).

March 25: at Texas (Surprise).

March 26: Camp day.

March 27: Kansas City (Peoria).

March 28: at Texas (Surprise).

March 29: San Diego (Peoria).

March 30: at Los Angeles Dodgers (Glendale).

March 31: Milwaukee (Peoria).

April 1: at San Diego (Peoria).

When the Mariners play the Padres in Triple-A games (i.e. Tacoma vs. El Paso) and it says “at San Diego,” that means the game is on the Padres side of the Peoria complex. The same situation occurs in Surprise – you need to find the Rangers or the Royals side of the complex, which may always involves driving around in circles.



One Response to Going To Arizona? Here’s How To Check Out The Rainiers

  1. Bill Sporre says:

    Mike….This is the first time that I have been able to see what minor league Mariners teams schedules look like before mid March. I love these minor league games, but it is impossible to get their schedules.
    For reasons only known by the folks at the reception desk at the M’s Peoria office, they will not give out the Milb S.T. schedules until the middle of the month!
    Thank you very much for posting the Tacoma Rainiers information. Now I know where all of the full season minor leaguers will be playing, and on what days. See you on the back fields!
    Bill Sporre

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