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The Ideal Visit to Texas Rangers Spring Training

Texas Rangers fans can bask in the afterglow of the team's World Series victory for this entire Major League Baseball season, and my dad and I decided to energetically climb aboard the bandwagon when we visited Texas Rangers Spring Training in Arizona this past weekend.


The World Series Champion trophy stands in front of a background with the Texas Rangers Spring Training logo in Surprise, Arizona
Texas Rangers World Series Trophy

I just got back home, and I am already missing the crack of the bat resounding through the Sonoran desert in late February, especially when your favorite team or player is at the plate.


Our Rangers play in Arizona's Cactus League, a 15-team, 10-stadium Major League Baseball spring training league that rivals Florida's Grapefruit League.


Arizona's league includes not only the Rangers but also many of the West Coast and Midwest teams such as the well-known Dodgers and Cubs, which makes for exciting competition.


Even more beneficial is the fact that the stadiums are all relatively close to one another, so you can visit more than one ballpark easily during your stay (something I highly recommend).


Texas Rangers home games are played at Surprise Stadium, a venue that the Rangers share with the Kansas City Royals, located 35 minutes west of downtown Phoenix and 45 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport.


Whether you stay for one game or an entire week, here is what you need to know about Texas Rangers Spring Training 2024 based on my experience there last weekend:


Spring Training Opening Weekend Saturday Game:

Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium


After taking early morning flights from our respective Texas towns, my dad and I headed straight to the ballpark after breakfast for a Saturday afternoon matchup between the Rangers and Royals.


Parking is plentiful and free at the ballpark, and we parked a short walk away from the Third Base Gate two hours before game time.


RULES AND REGULATIONS:

Large bags are not allowed inside the Stadium (unless they are the special clear plastic bags/backpacks/purses); although, you are permitted to bring your own empty water bottle or one sealed plastic water bottle, up to 1 liter into the Stadium.  Outside food is also acceptable, as long as it is in a one gallon plastic resealable bag.  

You will likely want to bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. The Arizona afternoon temperatures in February are surprisingly mild (in the low 70s when it is cloudy), but you will still require protection against the sun.

Here is a link to all of Surprise Stadium's rules and regulations.  

Surprise Stadium seats 10,500 fans, and our tickets were along the first base line right behind the Rangers dugout.


a view from the first base side with the Texas Rangers dugout at Surprise Stadium (Home of Texas Rangers Spring Training)
Surprise Stadium (Home of Texas Rangers Spring Training)

Gametime temperature was in the low 70s by the 1:05pm Mountain game time (the vast majority of Spring Training games in the Cactus League start at this time).


Guests are encouraged to come early and watch batting practice, infield workouts and pregame ceremonies and to that effect, gates open 1 ½ hours prior to game time.


Armed with this knowledge in advance, we showed up at Surprise Stadium right as the gates opened.


Many fans decided to bring picnic blankets and park themselves on the vast outfield lawn, including my father who took a brief pre-game siesta.


While he napped, I headed over to see the World Series trophy, which was on hand for photo opportunities with fans (see my TikTok video below).



After checking out the trophy, I headed towards the batting cages located behind the right outfield - called the Lincoln Concourse.


I was just in time to see the Rangers' $14mm Cuban outfielder Adolis García take batting practice along with his teammates.



Crowds were two to three people deep to witness the action, and after his work in the cage, star first baseman Nathaniel Lowe was signing autographs for the adoring crowd.


Nathaniel Lowe, starting first baseman for the Texas Rangers signs autographs for fans at 2024 Spring Training
Nathaniel Lowe signing autographs

AUTOGRAPHS:

The best strategy is to bring your own new baseballs along with a Sharpie or pen everywhere you go and have them accessible at a moment's notice.
  
Your best chance for autographs is to arrive in the morning at 10am for the commencement of the Rangers practices on the many ancillary fields in the Surprise complex.  

That being said, there are still moments before and after the game at Surprise Stadium to catch your favorite player. You never know when the opportunity might present itself.

One lucky fan approached Rangers manager Bruce Bochy during the 7th inning stretch and got an autograph from the 4-time World Series winning manager.

My advice if you miss the morning session would be this: At the beginning and end of games, try to catch the players as they make their way from the Rangers dugout on the first base line towards the exit in right field.  

I was able to get three autographs using this strategy.  

Three autographed baseballs sit inside a baseball cap
Autographed baseballs

Inspired by the World Series Championship vibes, I decided to have a walk through the relatively small onsite Rangers team store.



The most popular item was the 2024 Spring Training light blue Rangers cap, which you can find here online.


Retail price in the Surprise Stadium store was $49.99.


After shopping, I meandered towards the Royals side of the stadium (third base side).


Surprisingly, the Kansas City Royals batting cage (The Ford Concourse) was closed to the public for some strange reason.


Ten minutes before first pitch, we arrived at our seats.


The National Anthem played, and we noticed that each dugout had so many players it looked like they could field two entire teams.



Surprise Stadium - the national anthem is sung on Saturday feb 24, 2024
National Anthem

Finally, it was time to "Play Ball" Spring Training-style!


World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi pitched two solid innings for the good guys - and then was substituted for an endless litany of Rangers relief pitcher prospects who each threw an inning or two.


We also noticed that the starting lineup included many names we had never heard before.


Lineups

Very few Rangers starters were in the lineup, which is normal for Spring Training, especially around Opening Weekend.  

Typically, roster players will play the first few innings and then be replaced by players who need to be evaluated for their future potential.  

If you are desperate to see your favorite star, your best bet is to attend a Rangers Spring Training home game - AND ARRIVE EARLY.

No matter who was on the field, almost 7,000 fans raucously enjoyed the game, which the Royals (unfortunately) won 5-4.


The atmosphere was great, and Rangers fans were loud and proud.


If you are looking for a good food option, go for the Sheboygan sausages.


There is also an ice cream food truck along the third base side that had a long line by the 7th inning stretch.


Furthermore, the game lasted less than 3 hours (ending around 4pm), which meant we could be at our own pace until dinner.


Bonus Game: Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch


Before we flew back to Texas, we decided to check out one more game.


Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona seats 13,000 attendees, including the lush lawn area and is located about 25 minutes away from Surprise Stadium.


Camelback Ranch plays host to both the White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, and when we arrived at 11:30am before the 1:05pm game time, there was a sea of Dodger blue.


I had no idea the level of excitement amongst Dodgers faithful, as evidenced by the massive crowds assembled to watch batting practice before the game.


Fans were hoping to get a glimpse of newly-signed Japanese stars Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.


Sure enough, around 11:30am, both players walked from the practice field into the Dodgers facility at Camelback Ranch.


You can see my video of the pandemonium when Ohtani passed by the throngs.



As we headed towards the entrance of the ballpark, we could see countless members of the Japanese media with cameras waiting for a glimpse of their country's superstars.


Inside, we took our 2nd row seats right behind the Oakland on-deck circle.



While we could care less about either team and found Surprise Stadium more quaint, it is worth visiting other stadiums in the Cactus League, and we did enjoy ourselves.


One important piece of advice - STEER CLEAR of the Dodger Dogs and instead wait in the long line for Patio Grill's sausages and brats located on the first base / right field line.


Here is the Texas Rangers Spring Training schedule. Any true baseball fan must make a pilgrimage to their team's spring training; it will be trip you won't forget!


I highly recommend watching baseball in Japan as well, an experience I wrote about here last year.


For more of my sports-related articles, check out the Sporting Events section of my website.

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