Cactus League Baseball Games To Start Friday In Surprise

By Matthew Casey
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 11:55pm
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 8:41am

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aerial view of surprise stadium
City of Surprise
An aerial view of Surprise Stadium, the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.

The first game of the 2020 Cactus League is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Surprise, but there’s also an unofficial start to Arizona’s annual springtime love affair with baseball.

The song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," played as people found their tables on the floor of the arena at Grand Canyon University. They were there Wednesday for the sold-out, annual Cactus League Luncheon, which had its own first pitch, seventh inning stretch, and hall of fame inductions.

“Let’s play ball,” said Laurel Prieb, Major League Baseball’s vice president for special projects.

Prieb went over rule changes for the crowd. Generally, team managers can no longer switch pitchers as often. They also get less time to decide if they want to challenge an umpire’s call.

“And I guess the point of all of this is that the game really doesn’t stand still. Nor can it,” Prieb said.     

The rule tweaks are aimed at speeding up the game, said Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox, which train at Camelback Ranch in the West Valley.  

“But I don’t think we ever want to do anything to fundamentally change the game. I think that would be a terrible mistake. This is the best game there is,” Reinsdorf said.

Last year, fans at 9-inning games saw Major League Baseball for a record average of 3 hours, 5 minutes and 35 seconds.

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