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On Thursday, the Cubs welcomed fans to the first game at Cubs Park, the beautiful stadium at the heart of the team's brand-new spring training complex in Mesa (first pitch shown to the left). We were there on the scene, sending out shots and thoughts on Twitter. I'll also have an article about it in the March 12 USA Today Sports Weekly and an in-depth review here this week.
Despite a rainout in Salt River (the greatest of all spring-training facilities), I had a great trip to Arizona. I saw the first game at Cubs Park (watch for our in-depth review), as well as games in Scottsdale, Peoria, Phoenix and Tempe. As always, you can check out where I've been here.
On newsstands now!
Excitement is in the air, as pitchers and catchers have reported! For the best insight into the spring-training drama at each team's camp, pick up a copy of USA Today Sports' Spring Training Preview on newsstands now, or you can order it online. By the way, I contributed two articles for the publication about, of course, the ballparks of spring training!
Big League ballpark notes
It was the home of Major League Baseball for 28 seasons, but now the awful Metrodome has been demolished. Few are sad ... Significant renovation of Wrigley Field was supposed to start in earnest this past offseason, but the Cubs have announced that it's been delayed ... The savage beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow outside Dodger Stadium in 2011 is one the most tragic ballpark stories in recent years. Now the two sub-humans who did the beating have been sentenced ... It's gone by The Ballpark In Arlington, Ameriquest Field, Rangers Ballpark and for the next ten years, it will be called Globe Life Park (left). Beat writer Evan Grant wonders if the Rangers will want to move out of the ballpark when those ten years are up ... Although the A's don't seem interested, the City of Oakland is holding out hope that waterfront property near downtown could be used for a new ballpark.
Now in stock: Edition 3 of the Touring The Majors® poster displaying all 30 MLB parks.