Catch spring training in the Valley of the Sun According to baseball lore, spring training originated in 1886 as a pre–season detox (“to boil out the alcoholic microbes,” as Cap Anson of the Chicago White Stockings put it). Today, the games are a proving ground for rookies and an annual rite for ardent fans. While half of the MLB teams (the Grapefruit League) play stadiums sprinkled across Florida, the other half (the Cactus League) share 10 ballparks clustered in the Phoenix area – no two venues are more than a 45–minute drive apart. At Salt River Fields, cheer on the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies from the sun–soaked lawn areas inside the 11,000–seat stadium, surrounded by mountain views that hit the experience out of the park.
Celebrity chefs cook up top–notch concessions Pretzels and popcorn have competition from big–name chefs opening arena outposts. Order Michelin–starred Chris Galvin’s lasagna of Dorset crab (on the fine–dining menu at London’s new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) or David Chang’s habanero fried chicken (his fast–growing Fuku concept just landed at Washington, D.C.’s Audi Field). Coming soon: At Chase Center’s Thrive City in San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors and chef Michael Mina will team up to launch a food hall with interactive sports games and hawker stands.
A green soccer stadium in England gets the green light Forest Green Rovers FC has an ambitious plan to build the world’s first fully timber–frame stadium. The self–declared “greenest” team (the club is known for serving an all–vegan menu to both fans and players) recently secured approval for the carbon–neutral 5,000–seat arena in Gloucestershire, England, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and fittingly named Eco Park.
Try a soccer–inspired gin and tonic at Como Taperia At this lively Vancouver tapas joint – one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2019 – the founders’ soccer fandom shows in the decor and on the drinks menu. The El Clasico cocktail, named after Real Madrid and FC Barcelona’s rivalry, gets its kick from Gin Mare, a savoury spirit from outside Barcelona, plus Mediterranean tonic, fino sherry and Spanish olives.
This major women’s match is set to be a game–changer On International Women’s Day (March 8), Australia will host the best women cricketers on earth, vying for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. They could make history in more ways than one: Melbourne Cricket Ground’s colossal capacity (100,024) means a world record could be set for highest attendance at a women’s sporting event.