Spring Training Fan Guide: Royals

Spring Training Fan Guide: Royals

Surprisingly enough, 2007 marks the Royals' fifth Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz. Time flies when you're working in what arguably could be the best training base in the Major Leagues.

The citizens of Surprise did it right, with a sparkling stadium in the center of a two-team complex, with the Royals on the left-field side and the Rangers on the right. Practice fields cut into the desert, with the White Tank Mountains on the horizon providing plenty of wide-open vistas for the athletes and strolling fans.

As Royals fans prepare for their journey to Arizona, here are some questions and answers that should help:

When do the Royals arrive at camp?
The pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 16 with their first workout the next day. Positional players check in on Feb. 21, and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 22.

When do the games start?
The Royals begin their Cactus League slate on March 1 with a visit to the Angels in Tempe, Ariz. They then return to Surprise for a three-game set against the Rangers, with the clubs alternating as the home team.

The Royals will play 14 games as the home club in Surprise, and 16 overall at the ballpark as part of their 30-game spring schedule. Two games at Houston, March 30 and 31, finish the exhibition schedule.

How do I get tickets?
Tickets are on sale at the Surprise Stadium box office, 15960 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise, Ariz., 85374. They can be obtained by mail or phone at 623-594-5600.

Single-game tickets can be obtained through the Royals Web site.

Various packages are available. Prices and other information can be found at Royals' Spring Training Tickets page.

Where is Surprise, and how do I get there?
Surprise is a fast-growing community northwest of Phoenix. The training complex is about a 45-minute drive from the Phoenix airport.

From the airport, take I-10 West to Loop 101 and head north. Take exit 9 at Grand Ave. (Route 60) and go west to Bell Road. Take a left turn on Bell to Bullard Avenue, and the complex is on your left. Parking is free.

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Warning: There are relatively few hotels in Surprise, so you might have to stay outside the city limits.

How can I watch the team work out?
It's easy. Most workouts begin at 10 a.m., and fans can cruise sidewalks through the various practice fields or eyeball the batting cages near the clubhouse.

For the three night games at Surprise, the official pregame work begins mid-afternoon, but there are usually players on the field most of the day.

Where can I get some autographs?
If you hang out between the practice fields and the clubhouse around noon, when the players are finished with their work, you can catch them before they head inside for lunch. When the games start, many players will stop along the left-field stands to sign as they enter the stadium or leave afterward.

What else is there to do in Surprise?
There are plenty of golf courses in the area. Surprise is still catching up with the rest of the Phoenix area, but new restaurants are popping up along Bell Road near the stadium. The White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers various activities. For more information, check out www.surpriseaz.com.

About 10 miles away, at Bell Road and Loop 101, the city of Peoria is home to a shopping area called Arrowhead. If it's upscale dining or entertainment you want, Scottsdale offers both about a 45-minute drive away.

When do the Royals open the regular season?
The opener will be against the Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium at 3:10 p.m. CT on Monday, April 2.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.