It’s been a cold snowy winter for much of the US, but there is one harbinger of spring that is just around the corner: Baseball Spring Training! It’s time to head south to Florida or Arizona to catch some games and soak up the sun during the Grapefruit and Cactus League’s exhibition seasons.
Spring training runs from mid-February through the end of March and is a magical time for the baseball lovers in your family to bond over ballpark hotdogs and the hope of catching a foul ball. It’s a time when 10-year olds can dream of glory and 70-year olds can remember their own dreams. The manicured field is the stage, the players are the artists and the CRACK of the bat on the ball is the music in an all-American ballet about teamwork, perseverance, luck and patience.
Spring training is a time-honored tradition that dates back to the late 1800’s. Originally, most teams traveled from their home cities to various parts of Florida to prepare for the regular season and they collectively became nicknamed the Grapefruit League. But in 1946 Bill Veeck, owner of the Cleveland Indians, took his team to train in Tucson. He convinced some other teams to come to Arizona for pre-season training and the Cactus League was born.
Today there are 15 teams in each spring league. Each team has their own training facilities and they play a series of exhibition games against each other.
The really exciting part of spring training is that packages, tours and tickets are available so you can actually interact with the seasoned veterans and scout the new talent of your favorite team. You’ll definitely want to watch a couple games, which is a delight with smaller crowds in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. You can get dugout photos and autographs, arrange a behind-the-scenes clubhouse tour or even take batting practice with the team and sit side-by-side with the pros. What kid wouldn’t talk about that for years?
Show your love of both baseball and your future big league star by making a trip to spring training this year. Whether your favorite team trains in Arizona or Florida, contact Covington Travel to make all the arrangements so all you have to do is make the memories.