BY Steve Rudman 07:55AM 02/11/2011

Top 5 List: Mariners spring training

A quick and useful guide to making the most out of your trip to the desert

The Mariners share the Peoria Sports Complex with the San Diego Padres / Wiki Commons

Pitchers and catchers report to Mariners’ spring training headquarters in Peoria, AZ., on Sunday, with position players due to arrive Feb. 18. The Mariners begin their spring training schedule on Feb. 27 in the annual charity game with the San Diego Padres (the Mariners will play 17 of those games in Peoria).

If you are heading — or thinking of heading — to the desert to watch spring training, Top 5 List has created a quick guide so that you will not have to wade through mountains of Googled irrelevancy to find what you want.

In a bonus Top 5 list, we offer, by way of Phoenix-area natives and veteran spring training attendees, a tutorial on what to do when you arrive in the Valley of the Sun, where to stay, where to dine, where to play golf and what not to miss.

Residence Inn near Peoria Sports Complex

WHERE TO STAY: There are more than a dozen hotels near the Peoria Sports Complex, where the Mariners (and San Diego Padres) train every spring. Here are five, starting with the most expensive: Residence Inn by Marriott is close to the Arrowhead Country Club (approximately $150 per night) . . . Hampton Inn Glendale/Peoria (it’s in what’s called “The New Times Square of the Desert” and runs about $110 per night; Glendale is where former Mariner Randy Johnson resides and the site of University of Phoenix Stadium) . . . Comfort Suites Peoria (it’s about one block from the complex and near Phoenix International Raceway and the Turf Paradise racetrack; about $100 per night) . . . La Quinta Inn and Suites (near the complex and Arrowhead Country Club; Victory Lane Sports Complex is also nearby; about $95 per night) . . . Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites (approximately $90 per night) is between the complex and Surprise Stadium, where the Kansas City Royals train.

Lamb chops at Don & Charlie's

RESTAURANTS: SPNW’s John Hickey, a veteran gourmet as well as a veteran of numerous Arizona spring trainings, recommends Tee Pee (it’s on Camelback in Phoenix and serves, according to John, “very down-home” Mexican); Don & Charlie’s (a legendary Scottsdale spot with great baseball memorabilia on the walls; lots of baseball people go there for steaks, ribs and lamb chops); Cutters (in Peoria, about a half mile from the Mariners’ facility, and serves steaks); Tuchetti’s (in Phoenix on Camelback: good Italian); Abuello’s (in Peoria about a half mile from the Mariners’ facility. Specialty of the house is “Los Mejores”, a succulent combination of wood-grilled, bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin medallions and bacon-wrapped shrimp, stuffed with fresh jalapeño and blended cheeses). Note: If you are a first timer to spring training and can only choose one of the above establishments, make it Don & Charlie’s. It has been a popular hangout for decades. It was at Don & Charlie’s that Lou Piniella used to hold court while he managed the Mariners.

Palm Valley is minutes from Phoenix

DESERT GOLF: The Greater Phoenix area has more than 200 golf courses. SPNW’s Bob Sherwin, who is still trying to break 80, recommends Palm Valley and 500 Club. Palm Valley is located minutes from downtown Phoenix and is one of the most complete golf facilities in the Southwest. Of the 500 Club, the Arizona Republic wrote, “The 500 Club offered a positive experience from start to finish. The whole course has a ton of spectacular holes” . . . Golf Digest awarded a five-star rating (out of five) to the Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, remarking, “Superb. Golf at its best. Pay any price to play it once in your life” . . . Westbrook Village Golf Course features the “Lakes”, a traditional golf course, and “Vistas,” a links-style course . . . Two of the area’s better courses are found in Scottsdale at Troon North Golf Course, which is actually two courses, “Pinnacle” and “Monument.” Golf Magazine raters ranked Pinnacle as the No. 1 course in Arizona and No. 21 in the nation.

Red rock country at Sedona, AZ.

ATTRACTIONS / AMUSEMENTS: Our Phoenix-area contacts recommend the following: When you are not watching games or gobbling guacamole, Take a Hot Air Balloon Sunrise Flight and check out the painted desert . . . Take a day trip (at least four hours one way) to the mother of all natural attractions, the Grand Canyon . . . Take a drive north from Peoria to Sedona’s inspiring Red Rock Country and browse the shops and galleries . . . south and east toward Tucson, take a sunset tour of the Sonoran desert, which comes with champagne and a Cajun shrimp cocktail . . . Try the Four Peaks Hummer Tour: you’ll ride in the shadow of Arizona’s most majestic peaks. You’ll see Saguaro Lake, Weaver’s Needle, Superstition Mountains, cactus and wildlife . . . Experience Phoenix: here’s a tour that will take you to see the major sights in Phoenix and Scottsdale, and you will visit the Heard Museum of Native American Culture . . . Take a trip to Tortilla Flat: Leaving from Phoenix,  follow the scenic Apache Trail (Route 88) at the base of the Superstition Mountains (somewhere in those mountains, supposedly, is the Lost Dutchman Mine). You’ll visit Goldfield Ghost Town and have time for lunch and browsing at Tortilla Flat . . . The Desert Botanical Garden, recommended by Julia Akoury Thiel, who shot many of the photographs in our Destinations pages, is located in Phoenix and is home to one of the world’s most spectacular living collections of the world’s desert plants.

Peoria Stadium seating chart

TICKETS / RESOURCES: You can purchase tickets to Mariners games via the Mariners website . . . tickets can also be purchased by calling 800-677-1227, or in person at the Peoria Sports Complex box office located at 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, AZ., 85382 . . . Individual game tickets are from $6 to $23 . . . Check out the Mariners Cactus League schedule here . . . features a story about the history of the Cactus League . . . The Mariners have participated in the two most-attended games in Cactus League history. Check out the top 20 biggest Cactus League crowds . . . .Daylight Savings Time goes into effect on Sunday, March 13, but Arizona does not change its clocks. As a consequence, through March 12, Arizona will be on Mountain Time and all the games will start at 1:05 MT and 12:05 PT.

Peoria Sports Complex map


  • Bossfifty

    I live in Austin and have to put up with “hook-em” Horns crap all year long.  This was a year that I and several fellow Huskies were going to be able to tell some folks what they could do with those Horns.  Thanks Mr. Holt for showing us why Washington football was soooo bad for so many years.
    Basics RULE on defense….. never leave your feet when making a tackle, look the ball carrier in the eye as you size them up, hit hard and drive right through the ball carrier AND wrap them (repeat WRAP) them up as you plant them solidly into the turf.  This game was almost the worst I ever endured as a dog fan.     But…. there are KUDOS for Mr. Price who was not awed by RG3.

  • KYVEN11


  • teaching points?  If these kids can’t tackle BEFORE they get to college how the heck did they get there??  It’s called effort and it was lacking on D Holt and do it for them they should be ashamed knowing they caused three families to be uprooted because they couldn’t wrap up and cover

  • CompassRosy

    “As to Edgar’s almost-exclusive role as a DH, I’d argue that every American League team has had to fill that position every day for nearly four decades, and no one filled it better than Martinez” …. hence why each year the most outstanding DH is awarded the EDGAR MARTINEZ AWARD :-) 

  • Always loved your writing, Art.   

    It may take a while for Austin to learn the schemes, but it’s possible he could have a very positive effect with his strength, work ethic, good hands, and aggression.   The Dawgs’ thin front court needs beef and good hands.  Who better than this “longshoreman?”   ;-))

  • Anonymous

    Sad – Pineda is such an incredible talent. He will come back to haunt us for years.
    Hope this everyday player is what he’s cracked up to be – guess we need to trust Jack.

  • Caribou

    I had a feeling back into last season Pineda would be trade bait. With his prospective future in mind and as a pitcher (likely a #2) this trade reeks of desperation due to the teams lack of offense. I only hope Montero’s production justifies the move. I so looked forward to Pineda’s starts as well as Fister’s for that matter. 2/5ths of what appeared to be a very formidable upcoming line up is gone. I just hope the team can fill the enormous voids left by their departures.    

  • HunterGatherer

    Another dumb trade by a dumb organization. Trading a pitcher for a questionable bat is ludicrous – yet here we go again.

    Ever wonder why they Yankers have dangled this guy for over two YEARS…? With all their resources they couldn’t make a catcher out of the guy. If they could have he’d be starting this coming season.

    M’s ownership – get out of this business please.

  • RadioGuy

    “One of the NFL’s most reliable players?”  Marshawn Lynch?  Really?  The same Marshawn Lynch that Buffalo was willing to let go with over a year on his contract because he was such an underachiever for the Bills?  The same Marshawn Lynch who was a dog in Seattle until he began his salary drive the last few weeks of the 2011 season?  That Marshawn Lynch?

    Hey, if he plays as hard now that he’s got $18 million guaranteed, I’ll come back here to SPNW and publicly make a mea culpa.  I’m just not as convinced as others seem to be that he’ll put up the same numbers now that he’s got the kind of contract he wanted.  Benoit Benjamin used to do the same thing:  Big Ben would sign a contract for 3 years and play like Fido for the first 2-and-a-half years, then play well enough down the stretch to get another big 3-year deal the following offseason.

  • Grover

    Running backs are a dime a dozen.  Giving any running back a big guaranteed contract is stupid, let alone an imminently ordinary running back like Marshawn Lynch.

    Spend your big bucks on linemen, receivers, and a quarterback.  Don’t waste money, especially guaranteed money, on a running back.

    Stupid mistake.

  • RadioGuy

    “Guest” is right:  MLS is not top-rank soccer, but it’s NECESSARY soccer because it gives domestic talent experience and a chance to improve their game.  It definitely has its place.

    Still, I’m glad the Sounders understand the “big picture” of their sport.  Yes, it’s nice beating teams like the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake, but teams don’t really earn a reputation beyond their own borders until they start beating teams from beyond those borders.  The CCL is a step in that direction, including this series with Santos Laguna, who’ve been quite successful in Mexico’s Premier Division in recent years.  This IS a big game.