Every year, in February and March, baseball fans from around the country descend upon Arizona and Florida for spring training, desperately trying to alleviate the baseball withdrawal that they’ve felt since October (or September for Cubs fans).
Whether your team makes camp in the desert around Phoenix or by the beaches of Florida, you are more likely to enjoy your baseball spring training experience if you consider the following tips.
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Consider a Travel Package
Especially if this is your first time to visit baseball’s biggest spring attraction, you might prefer a package deal that includes whatever amenities are most important to you.
Think about things such as free breakfast, a hotel shuttle to the ball park or a rental car, admission to local attractions or whatever else best suits your needs and interests. Often these package deals include airfare to and from your destination, as well.
Prepare for the Weather
It will be spring, and even in the warm-weather states of Florida and Arizona, spring showers can dampen your spirits if you are not prepared. Make sure to bring an umbrella and/or raincoat.
Also remember that you may be getting more sun than your winter skin has had in a while, so bring along some sunscreen to avoid an unexpected sunburn.
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You may have to be a bit strategic in order to get the autographs you want. Remember that baseball is a job to the players, so trying to catch them right before a game, especially at the dugout, is likely to be seen as a nuisance rather than an act of support and admiration.
It’s much better to show up to the complex a few hours before game time. Not only will you get to watch your favorite players on the practice fields, but more often than not, a few of them will take a break to sign some autographs at some point.
Just remember to be respectful to the players, and don’t do anything stupid like pushing kids out the way to get closer. It’s kind of disconcerting how many people need to be reminded of that.
And speaking of showing up early for workouts
Look for Unique Opportunities
While spring training tickets are relatively cheap, there are a few opportunities to see your favorite players in action at absolutely no cost. Find out when your team conducts its morning batting practices, and often if you stay after the game you can watch some post game workouts.
These are the most casual and intimate times to watch your favorite players at work. More often than not, you can get right up next to the field, and even when you can’t you’re still closer than you’re ever likely to be at an actual regular season game.
Weekday games are cheaper than weekend or night games, and sometimes you can snag lawn tickets for as little as $5.
Take advantage of all specials at restaurants, and download any spring training apps which will keep you updated about your favorite players, teams and schedules.
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Location is Everything
The Florida stadiums are much more spread out than those in Arizona, so be sure to choose a home base close to your favorite teams’ fields and make day trips as needed.
And don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to your own team’s complex! Spring training is a time for baseball fans from all across the country to come together and share in their love of the game.
Plan ahead to find some other interesting things to do in the area in your down time or if your game is rained out. Look into museums, hikes, theme parks, etc.
About the Author
Jason Kane has already planned his yearly expedition to Phoenix to try to shake off his baseball withdrawal. He is a blogger for Travel Docs, a leading provider of travel visas for the past 30 years.