Florida Spring Training 2013
The snowbirds are not the only people to move down to Florida during the winter.
Since the early 1900s, a lot of the major American and National League baseball teams have taken advantage of Florida’s wonderful winter/spring climate and have set up Spring Training camps in Florida each year. This allows the players to train away from the cold and snow of the north and it also allows the managers to check on the talent.
The aptly named Grapefruit League plays in Florida throughout the month of March each Spring and another league, the Cactus League, plays in Arizona
Over time, this has resulted in the Grapefruit League and the teams now play each other throughout the month of March. Recently, Arizona has tempted 15 teams out west but attempts by Las Vegas to set up training camps in Nevada have come to nothing. As it now stands, 15 teams train in Florida and another 15 in Arizona with the Cactus League.
[Courtesy of Disney]
2013 Spring Training Season
This year, only 15 teams are playing in Florida, down from 18 in 2008 and 16 in 2009. The Cleveland Indians (previously playing at Winter Haven), the Los Angeles Dodgers (Vero Beach) and now the Cincinatti Reds (Sarasota) have all moved to Arizona in recent years.
There is still uncertainty over the fate of the Chain of Lakes Park stadium in Winter Haven, one possibility is that it could be demolished to make way for a new development. And 2008 was the last year that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays played at the Al Lang Field as they moved to the rebuilt ballpark in Charlotte County for 2009.
If you are used to paying upwards of $100 to watch a game then you are in for a real treat. Prices vary by stadium but general admission can be as little as $6 and box seats are typically between $20 and $25.
One of the great things about Spring Training is that the ballparks are generally small which means you can get to watch a top ranking baseball team up close and personal. Spring training is also an ideal opportunity to get autographs of your favourite players.
The first game of the 2013 season is on February 21 and games continue all the way until March 30.
Baseball Team Training Grounds
For the 2013 Spring Training season, 15 teams have made their home at 14 of Florida’s baseball stadium in Central and Southern Florida.
If you are staying in the Orlando area, then you have the Osceola Stadium and Champion Stadium, Disney Wide World of Sports on your doorstep with Lakeland only a short drive away.
On the Gulf Coast, there are five stadium within a short drive of Tampa; namely Dunedin, Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton and Sarasota with Fort Myers to the South.
On the Atlantic Coast, there is Melbourne, Port St Lucie and Jupiter in the North with Fort Lauderdale to the South. Click on the name of the ball park for details of all upcoming games (opens in a new window):
- Bradenton, McKechnie Field - Pittsburgh Pirates
- Clearwater, Bright House Networks Field - Philadelphia Phillies
- Dunedin, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (formerly called Dunedin Stadium) - Toronto Blue Jays
- Sarasota, Ed Smith Stadium - Baltimore Orioles
- Fort Myers, Hammond Stadium/Lee County Sports Complex - Minnesota Twins
- Fort Myers, City of Palms Park - Boston Red Sox
- Jupiter, Roger Dean Stadium - Florida Marlins and St Louis Cardinals
- Kissimmee, Champion Stadium (formerly called Cracker Jack Stadium) - Atlanta Braves
- Kissimmee, Osceola County Stadium - Houston Astros
- Lakeland, Joker Marchant Stadium - Detroit Tigers
- Port St Lucie, Digital Domain Park (formerly called Tradition Field) - New York Mets
- Port Charlotte, Charlotte County Sports Park - Tampa Bay Rays
- Tampa, George M. Steinbrenner Field - New York Yankees
- Viera, Space Coast Stadium - Washington Nationals