Spring may not be in the air quite yet, but it's nearly time for baseball spring training! During this exciting time of year, we get a small taste of what's to come with Major League Baseball teams gearing up for America's favorite pastime.
Pre-season spring training is split up into two segments. These segments include the Grapefruit League in Florida and the Cactus League in Arizona. Teams within these leagues participate in practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Recently, spring training has become a lucrative enterprise, drawing travelers to warmer climates to watch their favorite teams play.
The tradition of big league baseball spring training in Florida began during the turn of the 19th century. At this point in time, Florida didn't even have a pro sports team to call its own.
In 1888, the Washington Nationals traveled to the town of Jacksonville to prepare for the upcoming season in warmer weather. But due to the poor performance of the Nationals that season, no baseball teams would return to Florida for spring training for 15 years.
By the Roaring Twenties, however, the state had become the hub of spring training. This resulted from improved means of travel and the natural advantages of the Sunshine State's warm, dry winters.
Over the years, legends such as Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, and Roberto Clemente have graced cities throughout the state of Florida. Their talents have drawn millions of fans to ballparks and stadiums built specifically for this very special time of year. Today, 15 teams make up what's now known as the Florida Grapefruit League.
In 1947, pre-season baseball took another turn. The Cleveland Indians and New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) became the first two teams hold their spring training in Arizona.
Now known as the Cactus League, 15 MLB teams prepare for their upcoming seasons in the Valley of the Sun. Spring training takes place at ten professional baseball facilities, all within an hour of Phoenix. In fact, the Phoenix metropolitan area has the greatest concentration of professional baseball facilities in the United States!
The pre-season festivities for professional baseball are almost upon us. Events usually begin in mid- to late-February and last until just before Opening Day, or about the first week of April.
You can find and purchase tickets online or buy them directly at the ballparks on game day. Be sure to check out the spring training schedules for both the Grapefruit League and Cactus League to find your favorite players and teams!
At Sun RV Resorts, we have a great selection of properties near spring training facilities in both states. Check out our complete list of locations in Florida and Arizona to find out which teams are close to your favorite destination!