Interleague play has taken away some of the luster of rivalry games, but they are still an important part of the spring training schedule. Here is information on the top spring training rivalry games for 2018.
Despite interleague play, these games will sell out (or come close) during spring training, making them some of the hottest ducats in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues. You’ll want to plan ahead and purchase tickets before you head to the ballparks. Here are our favorites–and the games mostly likely to sell out.
San Francisco vs. Oakland. This rivalry plays out well both in the Valley of the Sun and in the Bay Area, drawing fans to a variety of venues. The storyline is great—the bluebloods of San Francisco talking on the working-class Athletics—leading to some sold-out ballparks. The rivalry plays out for five games in Mesa, Scottsdale, San Francisco and Oakland: March 12 at Hohokam Park, March 17 at Scottsdale Stadium (a St. Patrick’s Day game to boot!), March 25 at the Oakland Coliseum, March 26 at AT&T Park and March 27 at AT&T Park.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. Like the Giants and A’s, the Angels-Dodgers rivalry plays out both across the Cactus League and greater Los Angeles. This year should see some intensity when the teams meet: the Dodgers are coming off a World Series appearance, and the Angels have reloaded with the signing of Shohei Ohtani. The rivalry plays out for five games in Glendale, Tempe, Anaheim and Los Angeles: March 7 at Tempe Diablo Stadium, March 22 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, March 25 at Angel Stadium, March 26 at Dodger Stadium and March 27 at Dodger Stadium.
Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs. One of the best rivalries in pro sports, there’s plenty of passion at a White Sox/Cubs match every time. There are three Cactus League games on the spring-training docket: Feb. 27 at Sloan Park, March 10 at Sloan Park and March 16 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees. Records don’t matter these these two teams meet. Yes. they’re on television often, but there’s nothing like being in the same ballpark with fans of both teams. The Red Sox and Yankees have two spring games scheduled: March 3 at JetBlue Park and March 23 at Steinbrenner Field.
New York Mets vs. New York Yankees. Again, records don’t matter when the Mets and Yankees meet. They don’t always meet during spring training, playing on opposite sides of Florida, but this year sees each team hosting a home game: March 7 at First Data Field and March 10 at Steinbrenner Field.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, these teams meet plenty during the regular season, but it takes on special meaning when the Pennsylvania clubs meet in Florida. We’re guessing it’s proximity: the drive between Clearwater and Bradenton is considerably shorter than the drive between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The pair meets up five times in Grapefruit League action: March 3 at LECOM Park, March 9 at Spectrum Field, March 23 at LECOM Park, March 26 at LECOM Park and March 27 at Spectrum Field.