There is something special about Spring Training. I’m sure that a big part of it is getting away from the cold north to the reasonably warm and sunny south but there is more to it than that. The trip itself is pretty easy; flying to Florida or Arizona is hardly a grand adventure and hotels are cheap enough. But there is more to it than that. Everyone has fun at Spring Training. Lots of it.
|Getting the field ready for play||Built to the same dimensions as the old Yankee Stadium, but with cheaper seats|
For the fans, there is the opportunity to be up close to the game, much more so than is possible at most MLB stadiums in the country. Even better, the tickets are way cheaper, even if you have to buy from scalpers since they happen to buy most of the season seats the minute they are released. Top notch seats run a fraction of the cost as during the regular season. Sure, the ball being played isn’t as good, especially early on in the spring, but it is still baseball and after four months off small allowances can be made for things like that. And the fans don’t seem to mind at all. Young and just young at heart, fans flock to Spring Training in droves. And they are rewarded with access to the players.
|Up close watching batting practice||Getting some autographs before the game|
Just as entertaining as the fans out enjoying the spring weather and the return of baseball is the fun that the players are having. Whether a veteran just getting back into shape or a minor leaguer making a play for a roster position, the guys are all enjoying the time they have there.
You just don’t see that attitude as much in the regular season.
And, as noted above, the travel is really easy. A late Friday night or early Saturday morning flight south can have you in Florida in plenty of time to catch a couple games one weekend and be back in time for work on Monday morning. With a rental car you can even make it to a road game if the schedule deals you a split weekend like they all were this year for the Yankees. And, quite frankly, going to parks other than the Yankees’ facility is recommended. Like just about everything else they do, the Yankees’ facility is overpriced, a bit more removed for fans and underwhelming choices for food and beer variety. The Twins’ park down in Ft. Myers had way better choices and was an easier overall experience, other than being in a smaller town.
This may have only been the second year we’ve been, but it looks like this is going to be one of those recurring trips that we don’t miss going forward.
Lots more photos in the slideshow here.