The Real Deal of Spring Training
Even before the regular baseball season sets in, there are events like spring training to keep baseball fans sated. For a hardcore fan, everything related to baseball is sacred, may it be watching their favorite team prepare to play in the actual game season. Spring training not only allows a team to practice before the competitive play but also is the time when new players are added to the roster and trained for the position spots.
That is why spring training has become as popular as regular season over the years. Fans come in great numbers to watch their champs polish their play and to see what new talent will be added to the roster. So it is a time important not only for the team that evaluates its own play but also for fans who get a taste of what to expect from the team’s performance in the upcoming season.
Where it all Started
It was somewhere in 1890s that the idea of training and practicing in sites other than the team’s official home grounds became popular. By the year 1910, this concept had become widespread. The first teams to move to other sites for spring training included St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Browns and Kansas City Athletics.
Spring Training Locations
Over the years, the rules of spring training solidified in a way that the teams were divided into Arizona and Florida. The modern practice states that teams which train in Arizona, play against other teams training in Arizona in the exhibition games and the same for the teams training in Florida. The session in Florida is known as Grapefruit League while the one in Arizona is named Cactus League.
Detroit Tigers were the first to carry out spring training in Arizona while Philadelphia Phillies are attributed to be the first team to conduct the training session in Florida. Teams can play minor league baseball clubs, colleges, intra-squad games, B games and split-squad games. The games are carried out in different stadiums across the state. In fact, a handful of new stadiums are built in these states especially for spring training. These include jetBlue Park at Fenway South and Salt River Field at Talking Stick. 2011 saw a new attendance record in Cactus League games where 1.59 million baseball fans attended the spring training games in various arenas around the state.
Spring Training Experience
The exhibition and practice games that spring training brings with it come as a wonderful treat for fans who come after the winter season to see the live baseball action. They travel to warmer places to enjoy baseball and the weather. Most interestingly, the series come at a perfect time for college students whose spring break coincides with the spring training. For such fans, Spring Training tickets come as a revered commodity which they buy to be a part of the new season’s celebrations.