The crack of the bat and the smell of fresh cut grass excite the senses. It’s baseball season! Well, almost. There’s still snow on the ground up north, but not in the Grapefruit league. When Major League Baseball suits up for spring training, the teams head south. Teams that train in Arizona are considered part of the Cactus League and teams training in Florida are known as members of the Grapefruit league.
Spring Training started over 100 years ago as a fat camp for out of shape players. Coaches and owners soon realized spring training was more than a way for players to get in shape; it presents an opportunity to try out new talent without the repercussions of regular season losses. It also creates a fan friendly event where players can watch pre-season games and attend Meet-and-Greet events with famous players.
The Grapefruit League and their training locations:
• Atlanta Braves: Champion Stadium, Lake Buena Vista at Walt Disney World
• 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
• New York Mets: Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie
• New York Yankees: George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa
• 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
Visit MLB.com or your favorite teams website for a full list of events and dates.