February is the month where baseball fans everywhere begin dreaming of spring as Major League training camps open across the country. For New York baseball fans, Florida is the destination as the Mets have arrived in Port St. Lucie and the Yankees have taken over their complex in Tampa.
Every year hundreds of New Yorkers descend upon Florida around this time to escape the end of winter and take in a bit of sunshine. Baseball is included in many itineraries and in addition to the Mets and Yankees, 13 other Major League teams hold Spring Training throughout the state. Collectively they are known as the Grapefruit League and attract a lot of visitors from up north.
The spring home of the New York Mets is Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie. The intimate 7000 seat stadium includes a general admission picnic area behind the right field fence. The Mets kick off their home schedule on Saturday with a 12:10 p.m. contest with the reigning National League East Champions, the Washington Nationals.
George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa holds close to 11,000 spectators and therefore allows fans to get up close for a great view of the game. Like the stadium in the Bronx, Steinbrenner Field is also home to its own version of Monument Park. The Yankees’ begin their Spring Training schedule next Sunday versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
Many of the teams that make up the Grapefruit League play each other throughout Spring Training. It’s therefore possible to see the Mets or Yankees at one of the home complexes of a number of other teams. Choices include:
- Atlanta Braves Champion Stadium Lake Buena Vista
- Baltimore Orioles Ed Smith Stadium Sarasota
- Boston Red Sox JetBlue Park Fort Myers
- Detroit Tigers Joker Marchant Stadium Lakeland
- Houston Astros Osceola County Stadium Kissimmee
- Miami Marlins Roger Dean Stadium Jupiter
- Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium Fort Myers
- Philadelphia Phillies Bright House Field Clearwater
- Pittsburgh Pirates McKechnie Field Bradenton
- St. Louis Cardinals Roger Dean Stadium Jupiter
- Tampa Bay Rays Charlotte Sports Park Port Charlotte
- Toronto Blue Jays Florida Auto Exchange Stadium Dunedin
- Washington Nationals Space Coast Stadium Viera
Whether your plans include a trip to Orlando and central Florida or the beaches of the East or West Coasts, Spring Training baseball can be seen nearby. The pre-season action continues through the end of March before teams head north for the start of the regular season.