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 February 22, 2016
Bases Are Loaded In Scottsdale For Spring Training Fans; Grand Slam of Baseball, Packages & Activities Await In Sunny Scottsdale, Arizona

 Batter up, baseball fans! The 2016 Cactus League Spring Training season is right around the corner, and Scottsdale is the place you can root for your favorite teams both in and out of the stadium. During the month of March, greater Scottsdale is the home-away-from-home for the three time World Series champion San Francisco Giants, who play at Scottsdale Stadium, and the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who practice their swings, catches and slides at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. During the days, soak up rays while you catch them and the 12 other teams that play within 45 minutes of Scottsdale. And while you'd probably like to set up camp at your team's stadium for the duration of your stay, you certainly won't want to miss out on Scottsdale's spectacular resort accommodations, robust dining scene, impressive arts and cultural attractions, savory spas, exhilarating nightlife and impressive array of golf courses.

Taking In The Big Leagues

Scottsdale's spring training baseball history, which dates back to the 1950s, is alive and well today. Jump in your very own time machine during a self-guided tour of downtown Scottsdale's legendary baseball hangouts on the Cactus League Legacy Trail. Drink a brewski or chomp on a steak at downtown favorites such as The Coach House, Don & Charlie's and Pink Pony where Major League Baseball (MLB) memorabilia and tchotchkes from yesteryear line the walls. Finish the evening with an ice cream indulgence at Sugar Bowl, a hangout for rookie players since the 1950s, or with an after-hours drink at Karsen's Grill, a longtime MLB umpire hangout. After taking in the history of America's favorite pastime, get a firsthand look at how the March tradition has grown and evolved at the Spring Training Festival. This free, family friendly event on March 5 commemorates the start of the Cactus League Spring Training season and offers meet and greets with players, as well as access to batting cages and pitching machines, sports memorabilia, live music, food trucks and so much more.

Setting Up Home Base

With more than 70 hotels and resorts to choose from, diehard baseball fans can rejuvenate and rest just in time for game day. Here are a few of the destination's award winning packages.

You don't want to miss any of the big moments at the game, but you also have a fairly healthy obsession with your hotel. Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch takes the guilt out of staying an extra day with the "Sunshine on Sale" package, which offers baseball fans a sixth night on a five-night stay for free. Rates vary based on availability. Stay three nights at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, and you will get the fourth night free with the "Home Run Package." Rates start at $447 per night.

Just like no baseball game is complete without crackerjacks, no visit to a Scottsdale resort is complete without experiencing a meal, spa treatment or the like. That's why you'll receive a $100 resort credit at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North when you book the "Experience More" package. This offer is available when you book two nights and rates start at $609 per night. Leaving your room may be a struggle with the "Play Ball Package" at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, which includes a $100 resort credit, 20 percent off lunch or dinner at one of the resort's restaurants and 15 percent off spa treatments at Agave, The Arizona Spa when you present your game ticket stub. Rates start at $554 per night.

If you want be in the heart of the action and maybe even run into one of your favorite MLB players, stay at W Scottsdale, just a quick walk from the Scottsdale Stadium. Upon arrival, you'll be gifted a W hat and bag and two cocktails of your choice. Rates start at $394 per night. Just a hop and a skip from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is the reimagined Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel. Get a firsthand look at the $10 million renovation the resort underwent with the "2016 Spring Training Package," which includes a third night free when you book two nights, plus a $50 dining credit and $25 spa voucher. Rates start at $259.

Not Peanuts Or Crackerjacks

Nothing beats peanuts, nachos or a hot dog while rooting on your favorite team, but with more than 800 restaurants in Scottsdale, you'll have countless choices for your next meal after you've left stadium. Scottsdale Stadium is just a few minute walk from AZ88, a contemporary restaurant with an open floor plan, quirky modern art and tasty takes on sandwiches, salads and appetizers, or Hula's Modern Tiki, a classic tiki restaurant with an urban twist. Venture over to The Mission, a sophisticated yet casual mainstay in Scottsdale's dining scene that's known for its modern Latin cuisine and award-winning margaritas.

Head a little further north to explore the authentic dining experiences that await. You won't want to miss the formidable 'Pomo Cucina & Pizzeria Napoletana, only a short drive from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and the only pizzeria in greater Scottsdale to be honored with the prestigious Certification of True Authentic Neapolitan Pizza. For an authentic Arizona meal, grab some of El Chorro's famous sticky buns and watch the sunset over Camelback Mountain. Head to Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue for mouthwatering barbeque, including beef brisket, barbecue chicken, pulled pork and even vegetarian 'pulled squash.'

If indecision is your middle name, have no fear. Sample up to six of downtown Scottsdale's foodie favorites on Arizona's Food Tours Presents A Taste of Old Town Scottsdale. Come hungry for tasty food and a lesson in Scottsdale history. If your adventurous palette prefers sweet to savory, Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale is a must. Walk the streets of downtown as you try some of Scottsdale's indulgences in chocolate, which may include truffles, baked goods, ice cream, hot chocolate and more.

Hit It Out Of The Park

You are a baseball fan. You enjoy the thrill of competition, the pressure of the last inning and the excitement of sliding into home base. But there's no reason why you should limit your competitive nature to game day.

If you are looking for a quintessential desert experience, there is no better way to see the Sonoran Desert than on an off-roading journey. The Jeeps may be pink, but there is nothing fluffy about Pink Adventure Tours. Guides will drive you over the craggy desert trails and teach you all about the terrain and wildlife that call the Sonoran Desert home. Looking to get your hands on the wheel? Navigate the desert's undulations while driving a TomCar with Green Zebra Adventures.

Cowboys may have been among Scottsdale's first thrill seekers and you can receive your unofficial cowboy degree during a visit to Arizona Cowboy College. Choose between one-, three- and five- days courses where you will learn horsemanship skills, equine safety, roping, penning, and sorting. If you are looking to giddy up at a bit of a slower pace, saddle up with Fort McDowell Adventures for a trail ride.

Speaking of views, take in bucket-list worthy vistas while you peacefully soar over greater Scottsdale in a hot air balloon. Hot Air Expeditions and Rainbow Ryders are the captains of this adventure, and they will take you up to 5,000 feet above sea level during a surreal morning or evening flight amidst the clouds. Your flight will finish with a champagne toast and a light breakfast after landing.

Your adventurous side is a little grander, you say? Take off with Desert Splash Adventures, offering Arizona's only seaplane experience. During your 60-minute flight, you'll experience spectacular views and dramatic rock formations as well as a signature water landing.

What A Game

For additional information on what to see and do in Scottsdale, visit the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau's website. From sample itineraries to details on events and activities, the bureau's website features complete listings of area hotels, resorts, golf courses, restaurants, art galleries and attractions. You also can call toll-free 1-800-782-1117 and request a complimentary Experience Scottsdale destination guide. To purchase stadium and general admission tickets at the Scottsdale Stadium, visit www.sfgiants.com or call 877-4SFGTIX. To purchase stadium and general admission tickets at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, visit www.saltriverfields.com or call 888-490-0383.

Cactus League 2015:

Cactus League hosts 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2015, three teams played in the greater Scottsdale area -- the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants. Last year's Cactus League fans set attendance records with nearly 1.9 million fans attending at least one game in greater Scottsdale.

For more ideas on what to do and see during Cactus League Spring Training, please reach out to one of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau contacts below or check out www.experiencescottsdale.com. Hi-definition footage and images are available from the bureau upon request.

www.experiencescottsdale.com

@scottsdaleaz