Ah, springtime in Florida. It is that magical time between the brisk chilling hours of winter and the barely-there bikinis of summer. It is a time of perpetual 75-degree weather, before tourist season but after the snowbird exodus. It is a time for baseball. A time for warm-ups and wunderkinds, for reclamations and rejuvenations. And most importantly, it is time for another tour of the Grapefruit League.
So far I have visited seven different spring training facilities in the last two years. I have been to Clearwater (twice) to see the Phillies,
Melbourne Viera to see the Nationals, Lakeland to see the Tigers, Sarasota to see the Reds, Dunedin to see the Blue Jays, Bradenton to see the Pirates, and Winter Haven to see the Indians.
Then, of course, there was my trip to the Trop to see the then-Devil Rays take on the Mets in an exhibition.
This year I intend on continuing this glorious tradition and visiting spring training facilities throughout Florida.
This year’s itinerary should (no guarantees) include:
Pirates vs. Yankees in Tampa, Feb 28th
Mets vs. Nationals in
Melbourne Viera, Mar 8th
Pirates vs. Rays in Port Charlotte, Mar 15th
Blue Jays vs. Twins in Fort Myers, Mar 22nd
Yankees vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Mar 28th
Red Sox vs. Phillies at Clearwater, Mar 29th
That’s six games and four more stadiums checked off the list. If I go to all these games, the only home teams I’ll have yet to see are the Red Sox, Marlins, Cardinals, and Orioles.
Nothing beats springtime in Florida.
(Ok, the picture has nothing to do with spring training. But it’s Julia Stiles and Mets baseball. It’s the Reese Peanut Butter Cup of images.)