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Cactus Country

Feb. 28, 2005
Feb. 28, 2005

Table of Contents
Feb. 28, 2005

Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
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Cactus Country

It's heating up in the land of the Giants and 11 other clubs--but it's a dry heat

1 TEMPE DIABLO STADIUM (Angels) This place is devilish--and dangerous. Angels SS Gary DiSarcina broke his left forearm when first base coach George Hendrick accidentally thwacked him with a bat in 1999; in a 2002 bench-clearer (Padres versus Angels), Anaheim lefthander Dennis Cook wound up on the DL with bruised ribs.

This is an article from the Feb. 28, 2005 issue Original Layout

2 TUCSON ELECTRIC PARK (Diamondbacks and White Sox) In '98 Rockies manager Don Baylor accused the D-Backs of spying on his team by videotaping from centerfield without permission. In 2001 Arizona's Randy Johnson infamously struck and killed a flying dove with a fastball.

3 HOHOKAM PARK (Cubs) Where hope springs eternal: Cubs set a spring training attendance record with 189,692 fans in 16 games in 2004 and regularly lead the league in fan turnout.

4 HI CORBETT FIELD (Rockies) The oldest park (it opened in 1928) in the Cactus League adjoins a zoo and a public golf course. Also where some of the ball-playing scenes in Major League were filmed.

5 MARYVALE BASEBALL PARK (Brewers) The Brew crew's home away from home: mid-game sausage races, bratwursts with Brewers "secret stadium sauce" and sparse crowds.

6 PHOENIX MUNICIPAL STADIUM (A's) In 1991, with outfielder Rickey Henderson griping publicly about his meager $3 million-a-year salary, A's manager Tony La Russa and players stuffed a jar with dollar bills and gave it to him. "You're worth more than $3 million. We know it; we want you." Said Rickey, "Fill it up again."

7 SCOTTSDALE STADIUM (Giants) Home of the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame. Not among its members: a long-legged outfielder named Michael Jordan, who played for the league's Scottsdale Scorpions here in '94, hitting .252 in 35 games.

8 PEORIA STADIUM (Mariners and Padres) During batting practice in 1995 Mariners manager Lou Piniella bet Ken Griffey Jr. a steak dinner that Griffey couldn't hit the next pitch out of the batting cage. Griffey whiffed. He later delivered a 1,200-pound cow to Piniella's office.

9 SURPRISE STADIUM (Rangers and Royals) How's this for a surprise: Just before an A's-Royals exhibition game here last year, a huge swarm of African bees had to be fought off by firefighters. The facility cost $48.3 million to build by its 2003 opening and lured both teams from their spring homes in Florida. --Adam Duerson

FAN SIGHTS

Local spots where sports stars have left their mark

A TONY ROMA'S Where Ichiro Suzuki, visiting as a member of Japan's Orix Blue Wave in '99, believed he may have gotten food poisoning. Said Ichiro, "No more Tony Roma's." He's right. Rib spot has closed, replaced by Italian eatery.

B AXIS/RADIUS Trendy nightclub brings in the rookie crowd. When Michael Jordan's in town, he likes to come by too.

C PACKARD STADIUM Home to five-time national champion Arizona State baseball team, which has yielded elite sluggers Barry Bonds (pictured in 1983) and Reggie Jackson.

D PUSSYCAT LOUNGE In November, Mike Tyson hopped onto the hood of a car outside the club and pummeled it. Damages: $1,400.

E ALCOR LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION Home of Ted Williams's cryogenically frozen remains.

F PINK PONY Harry Caray and Billy Martin were springtime regulars at this steak house, as was late Angels owner Gene Autry.

G GAINEY RANCH GOLF CLUB A 27-hole course lies adjacent to Bud Selig's vacation home.

COLOR MAPMAP BY JASON LEEB/W PHOTOTED S. WARREN/AP (ICHIRO)COLOR PHOTOJEFF TOPPING/GETTY IMAGES (ALCOR)COLOR PHOTORONALD C. MODRA (SELIG)COLOR PHOTOPASCAL DESCHAMPS/REUTERS (JORDAN)COLOR PHOTOCHARLES BENNETT/AP (CARAY)COLOR PHOTOJERRY WACHTER (MARTIN)COLOR PHOTOARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFO/AP (BONDS)