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Cactus League names Bridget Binsbacher first executive director

baseball field

The Cactus League has appointed Bridget Binsbacher as the organization’s first executive director. Binsbacher, a Peoria City Council member, has been involved with the Cactus League for over a decade and is the first full-time staff for the previously all-volunteer nonprofit.

“With her long experience in spring training and strong relationships statewide, Bridget is the ideal choice to lead the Cactus League,” Cactus League President Jeff Meyer said.

Binsbacher will be responsible for executing Cactus League strategic initiatives, maintaining business relationships with the 15 MLB franchises that train in Arizona, and promoting and fundraising for the Cactus League.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Cactus League Hall of Fame welcomes five new members

The Cactus League Hall of Fame welcomes five new members this year:

• Ken Griffey Jr., Hall of Fame outfielder and American League MVP who played for the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.

• Robin Yount, Hall of Fame shortstop and two-time American League MVP with the Milwaukee Brewers.

• Fergie Jenkins, Hall of Fame pitcher and National League Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs.

• Roland Hemond, three-time MLB Executive of the Year during a seven-decade career.

• Bobby Freeman, who has served as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organist at Chase Field since the team’s inception.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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The Cactus League: An economic driver for Arizona

Cactus League economic impact

The Cactus League means big business for Arizona. Spring training generates economic impact rivaling a Super Bowl or Final Four – and it happens every year.

In 2018, the Cactus League generated $644 million in economic impact, according to a study by ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. The study found the Cactus League created 6,439 annual jobs paying $224.6 million and directly created a total of $31.9 million in taxes for state ($24.2 million) and local governments ($7.7 million).

Over 6 in 10 spring training attendees come from out of state, the study found.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Cactus League volunteers: Unsung spring training stars

Cactus League volunteers

Our volunteers play a key role in the Cactus League experience for visiting fans, pitching in to help as parking lot attendants, ushers and program sales people, to name just a few duties. Their smiles and enthusiasm for the game are as much a part of spring training as hot dogs and beer.

In 2018, a total of 1,944 volunteers worked a combined 90,000 hours at the 10 Cactus League parks and raised $2.6 million for their respective local organizations. Most of that money went to community youth organizations, programs, sports and academic scholarships and public education.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Salt River Fields packs them in

Salt River Fields

Salt River Fields is located within and owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and is the first MLB spring training facility built on Native American land. The ballpark is shared by NL West rivals – the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.

With 11,000 seats, Salt River Fields is one of the Cactus League’s tougher tickets; the Diamondbacks averaged 10,379 in 2018, trailing only the Chicago Cubs in that category.

Fans can fill up on the Talking Stick Mega Dog, which features a half-pound, foot-long hot dog topped with pork and mac-n-cheese.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Scottsdale Stadium is one of Cactus League’s toughest tickets

Scottsdale Stadium

The San Francisco Giants have drawn at least 9,700 fans per game at Scottsdale Stadium each of the last six years, behind only the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. Giants faithful have come to love Scottsdale Stadium, located a short walk from Old Town bars and restaurants.

The ballpark offers views of Camelback and McDowell mountains. Fans can stop by the halls of fame for the Arizona Fall League and Scottsdale Sports, located under the covered portion of the grandstand. Kids get to run the bases, and seniors get to stroll the bases, after 1:05 p.m. games.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Red Sox visit highlights Sloan Park this spring

Sloan Park

When it comes to spectators, the Chicago Cubs are the Cactus League’s prime draw. With the league’s largest seating capacity, Mesa’s Sloan Park has hosted the 20 biggest crowds in Cactus League history, led by the 15,849 who attended a 2018 game against San Francisco. The Cubs in 2016 averaged a record 15,078 per game.

This spring, Sloan Park’s hottest tickets promise to be March 25 and 26, when the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox make a rare Cactus League appearance. The Red Sox trained at Scottsdale Stadium from 1959-65 before moving camp to Florida.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Tempe Diablo Stadium: A scenic treat for Angels fans

Tempe Diablo Stadium

The Cactus League’s oldest and smallest ballpark, Tempe Diablo Stadium, still packs them in each season, ranking in the top six in attendance. The stadium is one of the circuit’s most scenic venues, with an ancient rock formation rising beyond the left field corner. A freeway passes just beyond the right field wall, which must remind Anaheim Angels fans of home.

Originally opened in 1968, Tempe Diablo Stadium underwent an extensive $20 million renovation back in 2005. The ballpark has numerous concession stands and patios down each foul line, offering traditional ballpark fare, ice cream, Mexican delicacies and even barbecue.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications

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Camelback Ranch-Glendale: A baseball oasis in the desert

Camelback Ranch-Glendale

Home to the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, Camelback Ranch-Glendale has walking trails, citrus groves and a lake for fans to enjoy a stroll before games – and the grandstand offers stunning mountain views.

The ballpark features eight full suites, four mini suites and a suite-level party deck for corporate hospitality. This season, the ballpark has added free Wi-Fi for fans.

The most popular food offerings are Dodger Dogs and Vienna Beef Chicago hot dogs. Kids can run the bases after every Sunday game and seniors (55 and up) can stroll the bases after Thursday games.

– Andrew Bagnato, Bagnato Pflipsen Communications