Updated for Spring Training 2016!
Spring training is America’s annual transformation from darkness to light, from cold to warm, when millions of baseball fans – both hardcore and casual – descend upon warmer climes to shed their winter blues. For those of us living north of the Mason-Dixon line, baseball’s spring training is not a luxury but a necessity, our reward for living in climates filled with overcast skies, snow, ice, and rain.
Beer and brats in hand, we arrive in Florida every February and March to soak up some sun and catch some baseball. We wait months for that first whiff of freshly mown grass at the ballpark, that first foul ball, that first inevitable sunburn. Who cares whether the starting pitcher is some kid who will likely begin the season in Double-A Trenton? As long as the drinks are cold and the dogs are hot, all is right with the world.
This book covers the best of spring training in Florida, with extensive guides to all the major-league camps, completed with schedules, workout times, concessions highlights, seat recommendations and more. Also included: where to stay near the camps (including RV camps), what to do when not at training camp, and other areas of interest to both hardcore fans and casual attendees.
We begin planning our winter getaways months in advance, juggling airline schedules and hotel openings to ensure the maximum number of games. We show up to morning workouts, just to stand by the fence and feel like we’re part of the action. And we take spring-training performances a lot more seriously than do the players and managers.
This book is both for the hardcore baseball fan – who goes to spring training to scout out their favorite team in depth – as well as the more casual fan who heads to spring training more in search of the perfect suntan than in search of this year’s spring phenom. While the hardcores just want to know the shortest route between their hotel and the ballpark, the casual fan knows that the richness of spring training is augmented with visits to local restaurants, shopping areas, and area attractions.
This book is arranged by area: the Gulf Coast (where the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays train), greater Tampa Bay (where the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, and Toronto Blue Jays train), Orlando (where the Atlanta Braves, and Houston Astros train), and the Treasure Coast (where the Miami Marlins, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Nationals train).