Are you headed to Surprise for spring training this year? Do you want to see the Texas Rangers' talented minor league system first-hand? If so, I've got a few tips for you to catch the action.
Gates to the Surprise Recreation Campus open at 10:00 a.m. each day. Both the major league and minor league sides are already underway with their daily workouts at this time.
The public entrance is located on Bullard Avenue, just north of Greenway Road. Parking can be found across Bullard from the complex.
Upon entering, you'll immediately see the two major league fields, complete with big league campers working out. Continue walking directly toward the back (follow the sidewalk) and you will find the four minor league fields. At 10:00 a.m., the minor leaguers are typically just getting into batting practice. They continue working out for awhile before going in for lunch and returning for the 1:00 p.m. game.
When watching minor league games during spring training, pay little attention to the actual rosters––they rarely have any bearing on where the player will open the 2013 season. Still, younger prospects often compete with the High- and Low-A squads while older players generally play with the Triple- and Double-A teams.
With so many upper-minors players in major league camp, prospects are often bumped up a level on the minors side until players begin being reassigned to the minor leagues.
There are at least two minor league games being played on the Rangers' back fields every game day. They'll either be the Triple-/Double-A group or the High-/Low-A group. The two groups typically switch off between home and road every other day.
Minor League pitchers and catchers report on March 4. Position players will report on March 7.
Even before these dates, however, you are likely to find early reporters to camp working out (including throwing bullpens and taking batting practice) on the back fields every morning.
All minor league games will begin at 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 14: Kansas City (High-A/Low-A)
Friday, March 15: Chicago White Sox (Triple-A/Double-A)
Saturday, March 16: San Diego (High-A/Low-A)
Sunday, March 17: Cleveland (Triple-A/Double-A)
Monday, March 18: Kansas City (Triple-A/Double-A)
Tuesday, March 19: San Diego (High-A/Low-A)
Wednesday, March 20: Camp Day
Thursday, March 21: Seattle (Triple-A/Double-A)
Friday, March 22: Kansas City (High-A/Low-A)
Saturday, March 23: Chicago White Sox (Triple-A/Double-A)
Sunday, March 24: Camp Day
Monday, March 25: Kansas City (Triple-A/Double-A)
Tuesday, March 26: Chicago White Sox (High-A/Low-A)
Wednesday, March 27: San Diego (Triple-A/Double-A)
Thursday, March 28: Camp Day
Friday, March 29: Chicago White Sox (High-A/Low-A)
Of course, when the Rangers' minor league clubs face Kansas City, the "road" teams will play on the Royals' side of the complex.
Every camp day is a little bit different, but there will typically be at least some action early in the day, whether it be a workout, an intrasquad game, or a scrimmage against a traveling amateur team. The camp days almost always start before 1:00 p.m.
If you have any questions (whether it be now or when you're in Surprise), don't be afraid to shoot me a tweet @LoneStarDugout with any questions you may have, and I'll be happy to answer.
Minor league camp is always fun. Where/when else can you see every single prospect in the Rangers' system at the same time? It's free and open to the public, and many fans rarely make the short trek to the back fields.
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Lone Star Dugout's Guide to Minor League Camp
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