A Perk to Living in Florida
I am lucky to live in Florida, the Sunshine State, home to 15 of the Major League Baseball spring training. Teams travel south to Florida during March to rev up their engines and get ready for their upcoming season, for 128 years now. Florida’s Spring Baseball Training Games are inexpensive and on a small scale, so they are intimate in feel and big in excitement.
Florida has 14 locations for games (Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium hosts 2 teams at the same facility) and is referred to as the Grapefruit League. My coast, the Atlantic side of Florida, is home to the Washington Nationals (Viera), St. Louis Cardinals as well as the Miami Marlins (Jupiter), and the New York Mets (Port St. Lucie). Other leagues throughout Florida include the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros (Kissimmee), Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota), Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox (Fort Myers), Detroit Tigers (Lakeland), Tampa Bay Rays (Port Charlotte), Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin), New York Yankees (Tampa), Pittsburg Pirates (Bradenton), and Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater).
Enjoy America’s favorite pastime!
Tips for Florida’s Spring Baseball Training Games
Tickets for the games may be purchased at the gate, online, or through discount ticket sites. I have found that I get the cheapest prices, and often at the last minute, through Vivid Seats as opposed to Razor Gator or StubHub. Box seats, which are normally $40+, are available for $11-18. There are fees for the online service and to print at home, which can add up; but depending on the price, you still stand to save money.
If I buy tickets at the gate, I choose stadium seats (the cheapest available) as it seems that really enthusiastic fans are in that area and it gives me more money for the epic eats throughout the park. Plus, all of the seats in these smaller venues provide a good view, so there is really no need to spend more money for a pricier seat. Consider investing in a seat cushion if you plan to attend multiple games.
The stadium parking lots start at $10 so and they only take cash. Try to arrive at the game 30-45 minutes prior to the start so the parking lots will be less crowded and your walk to the stadium shorter.
Chances are the temperatures at every Florida stadium are going to be 80 degrees or above, plus the sun will be beaming down on you, especially at the 1:05 PM games. It is best to dress in cool clothing (shorts, t-shirts, or tank) and wear lots of sunscreen. Do not forget to reapply! A hat is helpful and sunglasses are a must. Ladies, ponytail advisory as the winds are not cooperative at this time of year.
Each stadium varies with its restaurant and food options, but rest assured there will most likely be hotdogs, corn dogs, burgers, pizza, fries, nachos, popcorn, and beer. Ice cold beer. Prices are on the more expensive side so expect to pay more for your lunch than you did for your admission ticket. There are also foodie choices, such as the $12 Reuben hotdogs, which I highly recommended. Concession workers will roam through the stadium selling bottled water, lemonade, and beer so you do not have to leave your seat for those items. Cotton candy is also offered. You will need cash if you purchase beverages or food from your seats but can use a credit card at the stands. Do not forget to stay hydrated; the Florida sun is intense.
Do Not Forget
Make sure to bring your ball-glove if you wish to catch fly-balls or balls that are knocked out of the field. The team players are pretty accessible at these spring training games and it is easy to interact with them, so perhaps pack a pad of paper and a pen if you wish to get autographs. Often the players will sign autographs prior to the game and there may be a scheduled time listed on the internet. As usual, do not ever leave home without your camera. Outdoor ballgame pictures are a must!
Plan Your Spring Training Vacation
The parks in Florida are all within a few hours of each other so you can easily drive from coast to coast, seeing all 15 teams play ball. This is considered a major tourist destination and people from all over the country come to see these games. Last year over 1.5 million people took in Florida’s spring baseball training games. Come enjoy the fun!
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