Every February and March in Florida spring training baseball becomes part of Florida life. Fifteen major league teams now trained in Florida but 14 of those are on the line from central Florida to the south of the state. It is becoming a bigger business every year, and this year we can expect bigger ballparks and better facilities than last year. There is great competition among the cities in Central and South Florida to host a major league team, and they seem to be sparing no expense to make everything first class.

What I think is the most interesting aspect of spring training baseball, especially in parts of Florida is you can see multiple teams within a short driving distance. Fort Myers hosts Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, so for those baseball-starved people who were away from the game since the previous fall there is always something to see when you’re in that area. Houston, Atlanta and Detroit all play in close proximity to Orlando so when things begin in March is possible to attend in a couple of games in a day, although never in the same park.

March is when the games are played and they draw pretty decent crowds. In 2014 the Houston Astros averaged the lowest crowds in the grapefruit league at a little fewer than 4000 a game. The Yankees were on the high-end line with nearly 10,000 spectators on average, meaning that if you decide to go to the ballpark get tickets early because there will be a crowd.

But for me the fun part is February prior to the games beginning. Barriers between fans and players as they go through their preseason routines are minimal, and it is fascinating to see how talented these young guys are. You could say that February spring training has a fan friendliness that you won’t find in any other professional sport. But to get the most out of it you ought to plan ahead. The MLB website has loads of information on every team, so it is easy to find out what time players will be on the field working out.

It is possible to get autographs and banter with players at this time, as everything is usually pretty easy-going. But you should also respect these players as they are professionals preparing themselves for the season. I think that for anyone who is getting away from the weather in the North and going to central or south Florida if you like baseball at all this should be something you should try at least once.

Source by Glen Wheaton

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