One of the great things about the cool months of February and March in Florida is Spring Training. For 130 years, Major League Baseball has come to Florida to prepare for the upcoming season.
The long history of baseball in the Sunshine State
The Grapefruit League – which includes 12 teams playing in ballparks from Dunedin to Fort Myers and three additional teams on the Atlantic Coast centered around West Palm Beach – brings big money to Florida. According to Forbes reporting, the six weeks of spring training in 2017 netted $687.1 million.
The Tampa area first hosted spring baseball in 1913, when the Chicago Cubs worked out at Plant Field, the present site of the University of Tampa. The warm weather brought more teams to the area specifically Branch Rickey’s St. Louis Browns to St. Petersburg, and, a few years later, with the help of train travel, the Grapefruit League was born.
Go enjoy a game here in Tampa
Nowadays, the ever-popular New York Yankees call Tampa their spring home. George M. Steinbrenner Field, named after the esteemed former Principal Owner of the ball club, plays host to some of the league’s best players including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Aroldis Chapman.
Tickets to a Yankees game (as well as other teams in the area) are affordable and offer a more intimate experience than a regular Major League game due to smaller stadiums and smaller crowds.
Games are winding down for the Bronx Bombers, so take a look at their remaining schedule here.
Other teams to check out in the area
If the Yankees happen not to be your team of choice, there are plenty of teams within a short driving distance.
The Philadelphia Phillies play in Clearwater. The roster has been revamped with talent that includes Bryce Harper and Jean Segura. You can check out the remaining games here for the Phillies.
Heading South down 75, you can catch a Pittsburgh Pirates game in Bradenton and give a shout to former Ray, Chris Archer. You can check out the remaining games for the Pirates here.
Catch the Orioles in Sarasota
And, if you are willing to head a little further down the road, and might have a hankering for some crabcakes and Utz potato chips, you can see a Baltimore Orioles game in Sarasota. Check the remaining Orioles games here.
Of course, last but not least, our hometown Rays are down in Port Charlotte at the Charlotte Sports Park. Information on how to see reigning American League Cy Young Award Winner, Blake Snell, and the rest of the team is available here.