The Super Bowl is in the books, which means spring is just around the corner. Major League Baseball spring training starts soon, and since Florida and Arizona make a great vacation spot this time of year, a Spring Training vacation may the perfect way to spend a long weekend, a week, or an entire month in the sun.
Beginning in late February, players flock to their second home away from home to get re-acclimated before a month’s worth of exhibition games in March and early April prior to the regular season. It’s a thawing out process of sorts, especially for fans that make the trip.
Mar 23, 2014; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles fans wait for an autograph from Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones before the spring training exhibition game against Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
For three years I worked for the Helena Brewers, a Minor League professional baseball team in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Each year, a few of our most die-hard fans travelled to Arizona in February or March to get out of the snow and bitter Montana cold and also reconnect with players that came through Helena.
Many of our fans were also host families and the players lived with them during their time in Helena. Having an opportunity to say hi in person and catch up meant a lot to the fans, and probably to the players as well.
Because of the way Major League and Minor League and teams are connected to one another, each ball club will have well over 100 players at their spring training sites to work out, practice, play games and compete for a spot on the rosters of the different teams in the organization.
Also, because of the laid-back atmosphere – especially early in the Spring Training schedule – players are much more accessible than they are in the regular season. That means you have more opportunities to grab an autograph or even chat for a bit in some cases.
If a Spring Training vacation sounds like fun, here are a few basic links that can help you plan your trip:
- If you are a die-hard fan, your favorite Major League team posts a lot of information about schedules, ticket options, and more.
- Those looking for an all-in-one package can book through Major League Baseball, which has 15 to choose from. You can also book through the spring training leagues themselves, or the local office of tourism.
- Fans interested in visiting sites can compare the stadium locations and game schedules of teams in various cities in order to map out the best travel route. Note that the facilities in Arizona are much closer together than those in Florida which makes seeing several different teams and ballparks easier.
- The Cactus League (the teams that play in Arizona), has a great complete game schedule for 2015.