This will be our third year in a row heading out to Spring Training… we went to Arizona two years ago, and last year we spent a week in Florida. We can’t wait to see a few Cactus Leauge games this weekend (and be sure to check back next week for a recap!). In the meantime, here are few reasons why we love Spring Training and think it makes for the perfect family vacation.
1. Weather~ Whether you go to Florida or Arizona, you’re bound to get some warm days, which will put you even more in mood for baseball, in my opinion. With so much of the country still experiencing winter in March, it can be a much-needed reprieve to hit up some baseball games near the beach or in the desert.
2. Intimacy~ When else are you going to be able to get so close to the field and to your favorite players? We’ve had great experiences with players being open to signing autographs and even seen them posing for pictures on occasion.
3. Practice~ Sure, getting to the game early to watch batting practice is cool, but it pales in comparison to leaning against a chain-link fence, just yards away from a handful of Major-Leaguers shagging fly balls, or right behind the backstop while your favorite hitter takes a few swings.
4. Cheap (& Good) Seats~ Even at the newest of Spring Training facilities, you can still get great, close-to-the-action seats for reasonable prices (which is more than I can say for every third spring’s other baseball event).
5. Atmosphere~ There’s a certain electricity to Spring Training- I’m not sure if it’s due to everyone finally thawing out from a cold winter, the anticipation of Opening Day or possibly just that loud beer-guy with the big hat who sings about his Bud Lights that he’s selling.
6. Lawn Seating~ If you’ve got little ones, you know how hard it is to get them to sit in a stadium seat or a lap. Enter the berm seating area, which most Spring Training fields offer. We’ll be sitting exclusively in the grass in Arizona this year, and we’ll be sure to let you know how Chiquita fares.
7. Scouting Rites~ Be the among the first to scout out your team’s new roster, and because the big guys don’t always play very many innings, you’ll also get a chance to see a lot of the up-and-comers.
8. Proximity & Variety~ With minimal driving, you can easily see say, five different games in five different ballparks in five days or less in either Florida or Arizona. At Spring Training You can get a taste of a variety of MLB teams and fans without leaving your one vacation destination.
9. Location, Location, Location~ You can get to Spring training in a reasonable amount of time from almost anywhere in the country (either by car or plane) thanks to the two leagues being so spread out. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to drive it one day (ie, Southern California to Arizona), but last year, getting out of Colorado in March was well-worth a flight to Florida.
10. Sheer Awesomeness~ I think every baseball fan should make it to Spring Training at least once. You feel almost like an insider, taking part in the behind-the-scenes aspect of Major League Baseball. And if you have a family of young baseball fans, this is a perfect family vacation that can easily be catered to a weekend trip for a couple of games or a week-long escape complete with multiple games, theme parks, golf and/or other excursions.