Chicago Cubs: A Cubs fan takes a tour of the Cactus League

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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Sloan Park

Sloan Park in Mesa has been the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs since 2014. It’s relatively easy to get to, right off the 101 and the 202 in the eastern part of the Phoenix area. I attended the first of three games there on February 26, when the Cubs were playing the Kansas City Royals. I made the mistake of parking in a $20 lot I saw when I first got off the highway. If you’re coming from the west, keep going; there’s a $5 lot just down the road on the left.

Everything about the stadium is uniquely Cubs. Try to get there early and roam around the stadium; there’s a lot of cool artwork around the exterior, including the picture that you saw on the first slide of this article. I also came early to one of the other games I went to and saw the team practicing on the diamonds behind the home plate entrance to the ballpark.

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If you’re hoping to catch players to sign autographs, I hope you have more success than I do. There’s an entrance by the public’s home plate entrance that the players and coaches come through, and this is where fans are supposed to be to collect autographs.

In 2015, I caught a ton of players there, but this year, for one game, I waited between 11:00 and 12:00 (day games are at 1:05), and not a single player or coach walked by. On another day, I waited between 10:15 and 11:15, and only a few players walked by and none of them stopped to sign.

Inside, Sloan Park is one of the more modern-looking stadiums in the league, yet it’s still a clean look. I also thought their food selection was almost as good as that of Wrigley Field. If you want to see the star players leaving the game in the middle innings, sit along the third-base line; I was close for a couple of games and saw several star players walk by.

The Cubs won all three games that I attended, and they play the “Go Cubs Go” song just like they do at Wrigley. Overall, Sloan Park is an excellent atmosphere for Cubs fans. One more tip: At all the games I’ve attended, on both trips, Fergie Jenkins and other retired stars were signing autographs for charity behind the outfield seats. Make sure you visit there too.