I recall a glorious time in March during the mid-90s when I managed to see four baseball spring training games in two days – at the old Devil Rays’ field in downtown St. Petersburg, at the old Phillies’ park in Clearwater, then the next day at the Blue Jays’ field in Dunedin and the Yankees’ place in Tampa. There couldn’t have been more than two hour’s total driving to all those parks, my total for tickets didn’t crack 40 bucks, and there was much beer and sunshine. And the world was good.
These days, spring training is a bit more swanky here in the land of the Grapefruit League, but it’s still a wonderful way to see baseball in a more raw form. Plus there are guys playing who have three digit numbers on the backs of their jerseys. “Let’s get on base, number one-hundred-and-twenty-one!”
I’ve got the Mets and the Marlins/Cardinals a short drive to the north. I can tolerate the Marlins, and the Cards are fine, but the Mets just suck. What I really do is look for the Red Sox – who train on the West Coast in Fort Meyers -- to come through the area for that rare away game here on the East Coast. And I have my game in sight – March 9 – with Marlins tickets going on sale very very soon. In the meantime, maybe I’ll grab myself some actual Sox tickets. They go on sale this coming Saturday at 10:00 am. I’ll have my redial button ready.
I include a photo of the 1912 Red Sox, who trained that year in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The many pleasures of Arkansas aside, it does not appear to have been a particularly hot spring in Hot Springs.
I could go MLB's official website for all my spring training gumbo, but I prefer Spring Training Online, a blog which does away with much off the razzle-dazzle and garbage.