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Fewer seats, fewer innings: The Cactus League is quite the hot ticket

Bill Shaikin
·2 min read
Fans take photos through the locked gates at the Cactus League's Sloan Park, the spring training site of the Chicago Cubs.
Fans take photos through the locked gates at the Cactus League's Sloan Park, the spring training site of the Chicago Cubs. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

For the first time in 353 days, fans Sunday will be able to see every major league team play in person.

Not many fans. And not cheaply.

The Dodgers said they sold out their entire Camelback Ranch spring schedule in about two hours. With stadiums limited to a fraction of capacity to provide distance between seating groups, attendance this spring is capped at 2,400.

Of the 15 Cactus League teams, a Los Angeles Times survey Friday showed seven teams sold out for the spring, with several of the remaining teams down to a handful of tickets to weekday games. The Angels had a limited selection of seats available for games next Monday and next Wednesday, with attendance capped at about 2,000 at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The limited supply of tickets has juiced the resale market. For fans that missed out on tickets sold directly from the team, the average cost of a Cactus League ticket this spring is $82, according to Gametime, which specializes in selling tickets to last-minute buyers.

The average resale price of a Dodgers ticket: $134, up from $30 last spring. The average resale price of an Angels ticket: $72, up from $23 last spring. The highest average resale price for any team: $152, for the San Francisco Giants.

The minimum resale prices: $37 for the Dodgers, $28 for the Angels, and as low as $16 for the Seattle Mariners.

Fans are advised they must wear a mask whenever they are not eating or drinking, stay off the practice fields that are the best spots for autographs, and be prepared that the game could end before the seventh-inning stretch.

For this year, exhibitions can be shortened to as few as five innings through March 13, and as few as seven innings thereafter. Under baseball’s health and safety protocols, most minor leaguers will not report to spring training until the major leaguers depart. As a result, teams will not have access to the scores of minor leaguers they often deploy to play out the final few innings of exhibitions.

While the major league season is scheduled to start April 1 and the triple-A season is set to start April 8, the double-A and Class A seasons are not scheduled to start until May 4.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.