This year February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, but also the day Pitchers and Catchers report to spring training in Florida and Arizona. That’s the day that every baseball fan longs for through the long, cold winter without baseball. The past few years I have been making the trek down to Tampa, Florida to take in the sun, reunite with old friends, and watch the first baseball games of the year.
One of the most exciting aspects of spring training baseball is how close you are to the field and the players. You can shout stuff like “Hey rookie umpire!” and “Good luck in the Minors!” and sometimes the guys on the field even answer back. Also the stadium rules and regulations are much more relaxed compared to a regular season game. At a number of spring training games I went to, it was possible to purchase a mixed alcoholic drink and a regulation baseball bat in one purchase. One can only imagine what would happen if such policies existed at Fenway Park!
Tampa is great for many reasons. Not only do you have 11 Major League Baseball teams located within an hour and a half drive, you have a place called Ybor City. Ybor City is a great place to party. The best way to describe it is a cross between Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Hoboken, NJ. That’s enough to send most of you running the other way, but luckily it has strong appeal to baseball fans and college kids looking to blow off steam for spring break. Other than partying and going to baseball games, there is also great fishing, golfing, and of course the beach.
After reading this I definitely don’t expect any of you to cancel your spring break trips to South Africa, Costa Rica, and Brazil and book flights to Tampa, Florida. However if you are a big baseball fan I definitely recommend planning a last minute trip to check out Major League Baseball spring training.