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Simply Smart Travel
Play Ball!
by Jeff Orenstein and Virginia Orenstein

It’s Spring Training in Florida’s Grapefruit League 

Are you ready for spring? How about major league baseball? If either appeals to you, it is time to plan a trip to Florida since the Grapefruit League’s spring training schedule beckons you with both.

Starting on February 22 and continuing through March 27, the cries of “Play ball” and the crack of the bat will echo across the 15 Major League Spring Training stadiums in the sunshine state. The stadiums are clustered on the state’s east and west coast, with a couple on I4 between the two. With distances between stadiums ranging from just a few miles across town in places like Ft. Myers, Sarasota and Tampa to a maximum of a little over 200 miles across the state, it is relatively easy to take in several different teams and stadiums.

Good planning now for your trip is required if you don’t want to be disappointed. These relatively small stadiums sell out fairly quickly, especially when traditional rivals play each other. Nearby hotels also fill up often since spring training coincides with the annual Florida influx of snowbirds and tourists.

Ed Smith Stadium
Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles (and before them, the Cincinnati Reds), is a typical grapefruit league ball park. Credit: Jeff Orenstein

Most spring training stadiums are modern and up to date, with a wide range of amenities and concessions appropriate to the big leagues. Because the ball parks are smaller than regular-season parks, most seats offer a more intimate view of the playing field than most major league patrons get to enjoy.

The quality of baseball in spring training is truly major league. While there are some tryout players who will not be starters in the majors at least in the beginning of the 2018 season, most of the regular team rosters play every day in spring training games, particularly as opening day approaches.

Tips

Before You Go Check out

Getting There:

Spring training sites can be reached by highway, air or train.

Ed Smith Stadium
Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles (and before them, the Cincinnati Reds), is a typical grapefruit league ball park. Credit: Jeff Orenstein

Grapefruit League Teams

Data from www.springtrainingconnection.com

Team Stadium City
Atlanta Braves Champion Stadium Lake Buena Vista
Baltimore Orioles Ed Smith Stadium Sarasota
Boston Red Sox Jet Blue Park Fort Myers
Detroit Tigers Joker Marchant Stadium Lakeland
Houston Astros Ballpark of Palm Beaches West Palm Beach
Miami Marlins Roger Dean Stadium Jupiter
Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium Fort Myers
New York Mets First Data Field Port St. Lucie
New York Yankees Steinbrenner Field Tampa
Philadelphia Phillies Spectrum Field Clearwater
Pittsburgh Pirates LECOM Park Bradenton
St. Louis Cardinals Roger Dean Stadium Jupiter
Tampa Bay Rays Charlotte Sports Park Port Port Charlotte
Toronto Blue FL Auto Exchange Stadium Dunedin
Washington Nationals Ballpark of the Palm Beaches West Palm Beach

Jeffrey Orenstein, Ph.D. and Virginia Orenstein are travel writers from Sarasota, Florida. Their Simply Smart Travel column appears in newspapers and magazines in eight states. Reach them at jorenstein@SimplySmartTravel.com