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Cactus League getting ready for spring training

The Valley ballparks lost many of its games in 2020 due to COVID-19, but league officials are hoping baseball fans will come out in droves this season.

MESA, Ariz. — The Arizona Cactus League is getting ready to kick off its 75th anniversary and league officials are hoping the ongoing pandemic won't interrupt its celebratory season.  

Baseball fans should grab their ball gloves and get ready to welcome Major League Baseball teams back to the Valley for some of the most fun sports fans see all year long.  

The Valley ballparks are preparing for its first lineup of games and the league's leaders gave 12 News an inside scoop on what fans may be able to expect as tickets start to go on sale. 

"It seems like people really are excited to get back to the ballpark," said league representative Andrew Bagnato said. "Just judging from the interest of the fans and all the questions we've been getting about ticket sales and so forth."

The gates open on Feb. 26 for the first game and local cities are hoping to see sellout crowds.

"We're hoping for a robust economic impact for the Cactus League -- it is one of Arizona's top tourism drivers," Bagnato added.

Bagnato said that the boost from ballgames took a hit last year during the pandemic.

"In 2020, when we lost about 40 percent of the games because of COVID-19, the economic impact was only $363 million," he said.

Whereas in 2018, an Arizona State University study showed spring training raked in $644 million to the local economy, Bagnato said. Regardless of the financial benefits, Cactus League leaders are closely monitoring COVID-19 for the safety of fans and athletes.

"Cactus League facilities will follow the guidance of state and local health authorities and as always we advise fans to check with the ballpark before they head out," Bagnato said.

At this time, there are no restrictions in place for capacity at the ballparks, so sit back with your peanuts and crackerjack and enjoy!

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