Let’s Play Ball!
Most baseball fans can agree that Spring Training is a big deal! Fans converge on Arizona and Florida by the tens of thousands to see their favorite baseball teams play in late February through March every year. Some make the trip once, while others make the pilgrimage year after year.
Spring Training Details
If you know little or nothing about Spring Training, here are the ins and outs. Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training has two leagues. One is the Cactus League in Arizona and the other is the Grapefruit League in Florida. Baseball teams take advantage of the warm and sunny climates of Arizona and Florida to train and prepare for the upcoming regular season that starts in early April.
Spring Break Vacation
What makes Spring Training work for so many fans is that they can schedule a trip around spring break with their kids. Also, Arizona and Florida are often much warmer than their hometowns. Let’s see…staying home in the snow and cold or heading to a balmy climate to watch baseball outdoors and maybe go to the beach too? I would pick the latter every time!
Boston Red Sox & Minnesota Twins
And many fans do! Fort Myers, Florida is the Spring Training home to two MLB teams – the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Both of these teams have first class, modern Spring Training stadiums here with seating for close to 10,000 fans in each. The Boston Red Sox play at newer JetBlue Park, which is designed to replicate famed Fenway Park with its renowned Green Monster in left field. The Minnesota Twins play at beautiful Hammond Stadium which has recently been renovated and updated.
Jet Blue Park & Hammond Stadium
Seating in these stadiums is generally closer to the field than in the regular stadiums as well, giving fans a better look at their favorite players. A lot of the players are often more accessible to the fans than during the regular season too. Getting those coveted autographs is just a little bit easier as a lot of the players stop by and visit with the fans in the stands. Since the stadiums are smaller and the crowds less, fans feel a more personal connection with the players.
Jet Blue Park and Hammond Stadium are full of fans on most days and the atmosphere is fun and exciting. Everyone is happy to be there! Experiencing a Spring Training game is a big event for these fans! Stadiums are full of people of all ages and devotion, from the casual fan to the hard core ones. Many fans are decked out in the jerseys and hats of their favorite teams and players and some even paint their faces.
Spring Training Fans Boost Local Economy
During late February to the end of March, Fort Myers becomes a Mecca for baseball fans and they are everywhere, not just at the stadiums. They fill up the local restaurants and hotels, and they flock to the beaches in droves. The economy absolutely thrives down here in the spring and Fort Myers wouldn’t have it any other way! It is a win/win for everyone!
Arizona & Florida Host All Teams
If you are a baseball fan, you probably know where your team plays their Spring Training games. If you don’t or you’re interested to know where each team plays, check out the MLB Team Spring Training locations here. Both Arizona and Florida host all of the MLB Teams somewhere in their state. So it is easy to travel throughout the state and see several teams during their Spring Training schedule. Or, you can follow your favorite team as they play another team in another part of the state.
Games are Fun
As you can see, Spring Training is quite the thing for MLB fans. Many plan their vacations around it every year. I have a friend who has been going to Arizona with his family for Spring Training for many, many years. It is a family tradition. Since I live right here in the Fort Myers area, it is easy for me to catch a few games each year and it is always fun. I am constantly amazed at how many people attend the games and have seen many people build friendships with other fans they see at the games each year.
If you have never caught a Spring Training game and enjoy watching baseball, head to Arizona or Florida in February or March to watch your favorite team. You might start a tradition of your own after getting caught up in all the fun and sun that is Spring Training.
While you’re here, check out my post on the Daytona 500, another fun annual sport in Florida.