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It's That Time of the Year Again! Spring Training in Florida

February 24, 2010 at 9:35 AM | by | Comment (1)

Spring must be right around the corner, because pitchers and catchers have already reported to the Sunshine State. They’re loosening up in time for next week when the first spring training games in the Grapefruit League are scheduled to begin. It’s time to book some cheap airfare and head down to Florida to get out of the snow and celebrate the national pastime. Here’s the scoop on a few teams, where they play, and what they offer.

· New York Yankees
The Yankees begin to defend their title by kicking off their practice schedule next week. Just like their real home in the Bronx, things are expensive if you’re thinking about dropping by Tampa to check them out. The cheap seats start at $17 in the outfield, but seeing Derek Jeter in person is priceless—that’s at least what the ladies tell us.

Their schedule begins on March 3 when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05pm. After that they’ll face the Rays on Friday and the Blue Jays on Saturday. There’s over 11,000 seats at Steinbrenner Field, but you better hurry up and purchase tickets for the games that are musts. In 2008 almost 175,000 fans attended Yankees’ spring training games, which was the league’s highest attendance figure.

· St. Louis Cardinals
If you’re looking for spring training drama you’ll find it in Jupiter, as the media will be in full force to question steroid star Mark McGwire as he begins his role as a team coach. The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to get past this and focus on some baseball as their initial games begin. Their first home game is on March 5 against the New York Mets. A spot on the bleachers will only set you back $14, but there are options into the $30 range if you need to be closer to the action.

Roger Dean Stadium is unique in that it actually hosts two different teams. Besides the Cardinals, the Florida Marlins also work off the winter weight gain during the spring season. So if you want to maximize your game attendance, it might be wise to just park yourself in Jupiter for the week. The stadium was built in 1998 at a cost of almost $30 million and can hold about 7,000 fans, so there’s plenty of room for everyone. If the weather is nice be sure to bring a blanket and score a relaxing spot in the sunshine within the Grass Berm seating.

· Detroit Tigers
The citizens of Detroit need something to be excited about, and hopefully bringing Johnny Damon to the Tigers for a year can do the trick. The team is going to beat up on Florida Southern College next Tuesday, but their first real game is against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 4 at 1:05pm. The Yankees will roll into town on March 10 in case you want to heckle Damon for leaving, or let the Tigers know that they made the right decision.

No shiny new ballpark here, but the Joker Marchant Stadium has been doing a good job in Lakeland since 1965. It did get a renovation in 2003 to prepare it for the years ahead, and it can now hold about 8,500 baseball fans. Tickets here are a little more affordable, and you can plant yourself on the grass for less than $10. If you want an actual seat even the best options are right around $20; however, a few games are considered premium and inch the ticket prices up by a few bucks.

Related Stories:
· Florida Grapefruit League [Official Site]
· Steinbrenner Field [Official Site]
· Roger Dean Stadium [Official Site]
· Joker Marchant Stadium [Official Site]
· Sports Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Wikimedia]

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