The Padres have been playing in Peoria since 1994, and this February's return to the desert marks the fourth time they'll come out to their Spring Training home as defending NL West champions.As Friars fans head east to check out the Padres up close at camp, here's some information that should help make it a great trip: When do the Padres arrive at camp?
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 15, with the position players following on Feb. 19. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 21. When do games start?
After an annual charity game against their Peoria Sports Complex neighbors, the Seattle Mariners, on March 1, the Padres' Cactus League schedule opens the next day in the same park against the same foe. That's followed with another "away" game at Peoria Stadium against the Mariners. How do I get tickets?
Tickets for all Padres Spring Training games at Peoria Stadium are on sale and can be purchased at the Peoria Stadium box office, by phone at 480-784-4444 or online at www.padres.com. Peoria Stadium holds 10,133 fans, including more than 3,000 on the berm beyond the outfield fence -- always a popular spot for families. The stadium also has some seating in the shade, as well as fully stocked concession stands on the outer concourse. Ticket prices and other information can be found here, at the Padres' Spring Training Tickets page. Where is Peoria and how do I get there?
If you're coming from San Diego, you actually have a couple of options. If you have the time, you can make the drive of six hours or so to the Valley of the Sun. But there are also non-stop flights of about one hour to Phoenix from San Diego through several airlines, so that's the preferred method for most. Located about 25 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix and about a 45-minute drive from the airport, the Peoria Sports Complex is shared by the Padres and the Mariners. To get to the Padres' half of the Peoria Sports Complex, exit Loop 101 at Bell Road and head east to 83rd Avenue, the next intersection, and take a right. Turn left on Paradise Lane and you'll see Peoria Stadium to your right. The Padres' complex is east of the stadium, marked by a team logo on the building. Parking is available there in the stadium's outfield lot. To see games at Peoria Stadium, you can stay on 83rd and enter the parking lot there, or head to the outfield lot.
How can I watch the team work out?
There is no admission to see the Padres work out on their fields at the Peoria Sports Complex. The Major League team uses the two full fields and one half-field nearest the clubhouse and offices; the Minor Leaguers will report in early March to the fields farther east.
If they're finished with their work for the day, you might catch players heading back to the clubhouse, between Field 2 and the batting cages. You can also catch players as they enter and exit the parking lot. Once games start, the seats down the right-field line and the fenced area located along the road between the stadium and the clubhouse are prime autograph spots. What else is there to do in Peoria?
A lot more than there was when the Padres first got there, that's for sure. In 1994, the complex had the Arrowhead Mall across the street and a few restaurants on Bell Road, but not much else. Today, there are literally hundreds of restaurants and shops -- as well as several hotels -- within a mile of the complex, most of it along Bell Road. There's an ice rink nearby, movie theaters and plenty of shopping. For more information on Peoria, visit the city's Web site at www.peoriaaz.com. When do the Padres open the regular season?
The Padres begin the 2007 campaign with a three-game set against the Giants at AT&T Park beginning April 3. The Friars return home April 6 and host another NL West rival, the Rockies, in the home opener at 7:05 p.m. ET.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.