Springtime is when the Valley comes alive, both literally and figuratively, from cactus blooms to the Cactus League. There’s no shortage of things to see, do and eat – and plenty of ways to burn off those extra calories. Make the most of Arizona’s high season with this handy blueprint.
Cactus League 2023
February 24-March 28
From the moment the Kansas City Royals toss the first pitch to the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium in February to the last out of the Cleveland Guardians/Arizona Diamondbacks Cactus League capper in late March, the hallowed ritual of consequence-free spring baseball will take center stage in the Valley of the Sun. Even if you don’t like baseball, it’s guaranteed good people-watching and sun-tanning during the last good weather of the year. cactusleague.com
D-Backs Home Opener
April 6 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The first of the team’s 81 home games in 2023 pits them against a familiar, reviled rival – the defending NL West champion Dodgers, puffed up on a 111-win season. But for the first time in recent memory, the D-Backs will sport a bit of well-earned swagger themselves, on the strength of their electric young outfield and excellent top-of-the-rotation starting pitching. Hope springs eternal for spring baseball fans, but in 2023 – the team’s 25th year in existence, as it happens – the hope could actually stretch into August for Arizona. mlb.com/dbacks
Zac Gallen Bobble!
Mark the April 22 game against the San Diego Padres on your calendar. It’s the season’s first big fan giveaway, featuring the amusing likeness of its presumptive ace starting pitcher.
D-Backs 25th Anniversary Blowout
Details were still sketchy as we went to press, but the team plans to celebrate its silver anniversary with a series of fan events, player appearances and more in the summer. Visit mlb.com/dbacks later in the season for updates.
Chase Field Food Guide
It’s always a treat seeing what delicious new abominations Chase Field chef Stephen Tilder unveils in the spring. Remember the Churro Dog (pictured)? One of his all-time classics. The funnel-cake chicken sandwich? Also his. A more complete list of 2023 Tilder originals will become available closer to opening day, but here are some new culinary wrinkles at the ballpark in 2023 to tide you over.
Per tradition, Tilder has an updated menu of 22 limited-run specialty hot dogs in 2023 – one for each visiting team. First up: the L.A. Street Dog (bacon-wrapped foot-long with onions, bell peppers and jalapeños) for those dastardly Dodgers. Find it at Big Dawgs in Section 105.
Gyro Station @ Section 129
Gyro at a ball game? Heck, yeah. Carved off a vertical rotisserie and served in a pita with tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce and Kalamata olives, the all-natural, gluten- and preservative-free beef and lamb promises to be a juicy home run for protein lovers.
Flamin’ Hot Chicken Wrap
Beer-battered chicken tenders tossed in Cheetos Flamin’ Hot seasoning and wrapped in a spinach tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cheddar, bacon and ranch. Because, it’s a baseball game. Find them at Section 142.