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Desert diamonds

Hear that? It's the crack of the bat. Spring training is about to begin.

February 10, 2008|Jay Jones | Special to The Times

"Play ball!" Major League umpires won't shout those magical words in the Southland for nearly two more months. Can't wait that long? Then plan a jaunt to Arizona, where the Angels and 11 other teams will play in the Cactus League. In late March, they'll be joined by the Dodgers, who are moving their spring training from Florida to Arizona. It's all just a short flight -- or an easy drive -- from L.A. Ticket prices are a real steal, starting around $5 for lawn seating to $25 for a seat behind home plate. Check out schedules at cactusleague.com and springtrainingonline.com.

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TEAM: Arizona Diamondbacks

HOME STADIUM: Tucson Electric Park,

2500 E. Ajo Way, Tucson

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 28 to March 29

$5 to $16

diamondbacks.mlb.com, (866) 672-1343 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: Strong pitchers led the D'backs to the best record in the National League last year. Look for stellar repeat performances in '08.

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TEAM: Chicago Cubs

HOME STADIUM: HoHoKum Park, Hohokam Stadium,

1235 N. Center St., Mesa

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 29 to March 27

$6 to $26

cubs.mlb.com, (800) 905-3315 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: They finished first in the NL Central Division last year, but a spot in the World Series continues to elude the Cubbies.

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TEAM: Colorado Rockies

HOME STADIUM: Hi Corbett Field,

3400 E. Camino Campestre, Tucson

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 29 to March 26

$4 to $17

rockies.mlb.com, (800) 388-7625 and at the stadium box office.

THE VIBE: After handily winning the NL pennant, the Rockies lost four straight games to the Red Sox in the World Series. The folks in Denver are still licking their wounds.

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TEAM: Chicago White Sox

HOME STADIUM: Tucson Electric Park,

2500 E. Ajo Way, Tucson

Feb. 27 to March 27

$5 to $16

whitesox.mlb.com, (866) 672-1343 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: Chicago's South Siders cringe at the thought of the White Sox team's 72-90 record last year, the opposite of their its 90-72 record in '06. Maybe they the White Sox can split the difference this year.

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TEAM: Kansas City Royals

HOME STADIUM: Surprise Stadium,

15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: March 1 to 26

$7 to $22

royals.mlb.com, (800) 326-4000 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: All but the top three spots in the Royals' lineup are still up- for- grabs, depending on who's hot during spring training.

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TEAM: Angels

HOME STADIUM: Tempe Diablo Stadium,

2200 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 28 to March 29

$5 to $25

angels.mlb.com, (480) 784-4444 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: The Angels won the American League West division title last year but faltered in the playoffs. Fans hope they'll make it all the way to the World Series this season.

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TEAM: Dodgers

HOME STADIUM: Phoenix Municipal Stadium,

5999 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix

(2 games only)

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: March 20 versus White Sox

March 22 versus Angels

$6 to $21

dodgers.mlb.com, (877) 493-2255 and at the stadium

THE VIBE: After 56 years of spring training in Vero Beach, the Dodgers will play their last game in Florida on March 18. Next year, the team will head west to Airzona to train in a new stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale.

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TEAM: Milwaukee Brewers

HOME STADIUM: Maryvale Baseball Park,

3600 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 28 to March 27

$8 to $19

brewers.mlb.com,

(800) 933-7890 and the stadium.

THE VIBE: It has been a hard winter in Wisconsin, so look for flocks of snowbirds in cheesehead hats at the smallest of the Valley of the Sun's ballparks.

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TEAM: Oakland Athletics

HOME STADIUM: Phoenix Municipal Stadium,

5999 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 29-March 19

$6-$25

athletics.mlb.com, (877) 493-2255 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: The A's play in one of the area's older ballparks, much improved by an $8-million renovation three years ago.

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TEAM: San Diego Padres

HOME STADIUM: Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 29 to March 26

$6 to $23

padres.mlb.com,

(800) 677-1227 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: The Padres share Peoria Stadium with the Mariners; it has nearly 13,000 seats. Many also think it's the best place to watch a game.

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TEAM: San Francisco Giants

HOME STADIUM: Scottsdale Stadium,

7408 E. Osborn Road, Scottsdale

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 28 to March 25

$8 to $28

giants.mlb.com,

(877) 473-4849 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: The Giants hope to improve on their last-place finish in the NL West to mark the team's 50th birthday anniversary this year of the team's move to San Francisco.

TEAM: Seattle Mariners

HOME STADIUM: Peoria Sports Complex,

16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 28 to March 27

$6 to $23

mariners.com,

(800) 677-1227 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: Thanks to some big off-season trades, the Mariners expect to go from strength- to- strength.

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TEAM: Texas Rangers

HOME STADIUM: Surprise Stadium,

15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise

SCHEDULE/TICKET INFO: Feb. 29 to March 27

$7 to $22

texasrangers.com,

(480) 784-4444 and at the stadium.

THE VIBE: The Rangers finished last -- 19 games behind the Angels -- in '07, so the only way to go is up.

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