The Grapefruit League: Florida Baseball Spring Training
Written March 14, 2017
Birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and baseballs are flying through the air all over Florida. It can only mean one thing, time for Florida spring training baseball! There are two spring training baseball leagues, the Cactus League located in Arizona and the Grapefruit League located in sunny Florida, and TradeWinds happens to find itself in the center of many Grapefruit League locations. From the resort, you are less than 30 minutes away from the New York Yankees in Tampa, Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater and the Blue Jays in Dunedin. The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburg Pirates train about an hour south in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.
What makes spring training exhibition games so exciting, especially the Grapefruit league, is that they can entail games against other Florida-training teams, regardless of regular-season affiliations. Teams can also play exhibit games against colleges, minor league clubs and even each other (in inter-squad games). Spring training games also have the added bonus of being able to see your favorite players in sunny stadiums all over Florida for a fraction of the price!
Grapefruit League History
Major League Baseball teams have been training away from their regular season game sites since the 1890’s. The first teams to conduct their spring training in Florida were the St. Louis Browns and the Kansas City Athletics. The first of the current major-league teams to train in Florida were the Philadelphia Phillies in 1889, who now train in Clearwater. The real start of the Grapefruit league was after the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians took their training to Tampa and Pensacola respectively in 1913. Two more teams joined the following year and the Grapefruit league has been a spring training tradition ever since!
Fun fact: Florida has hosted all but six of the major league baseball teams at one point or another!
Current Grapefruit League Teams
Typically, Major League Baseball teams are broken up based on their geographic location. Eastern teams find themselves scattered along Florida’s shores to play each other in the Grapefruit League. Those teams (and their Grapefruit League stadiums) are:
- The Atlanta Braves – Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista
- The Baltimore Orioles – Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota
- The Boston Red Sox – JetBlue Park in Fort Myers
- The Detroit Tigers – Publix Field in Lakeland
- The Houston Astros – The Ballpark in West Palm Beach
- The Miami Marlins – Roger Dean in Jupiter
- The Minnesota Twins – Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers
- The New York Mets – Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie
- The New York Yankees – Steinbrenner Field in Tampa
- The Philadelphia Phillies – Spectrum Field in Clearwater
- The Pittsburg Pirates – LECOM Park in Bradenton
- The St. Louis Cardinals – Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter
- The Tampa Bay Rays – Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte
- The Toronto Blue Jays – Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin
- The Washington Nationals - The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach
While any of these Grapefruit league locations are a car-trip away, there are a couple of team training facilities that make for an ideal day trip during a spring TradeWinds stay.
The New York Yankees – Tampa
The New York Yankees were one of the first Major League Baseball teams to move their Spring Training to Florida. Many of the greatest players to ever hit the field have spent the months before the beginning of their record breaking seasons warming up on Florida’s shores. The team bounced around the Jacksonville, St. Petersburg and Ft. Lauderdale areas before finally settling in Tampa Bay. Since 1996, the New York Yankees have been holding their spring training in Tampa at Steinbrenner Field - named after beloved owner George Steinbrenner.
New York Yankees Spring Training Location
So, where is New York Yankee spring training exactly? Steinbrenner/Legends field is located at 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. That’s just a quick 30 minute drive from TradeWinds, down I-275 and over the Gandy or Howard Franklin Bridge lands you at the front gates, making a Yankees Spring Training game the perfect afternoon break from the beach.
New York Yankees Spring Training Schedule
When does Yankees spring training start? With 35 games total in the New York Yankees spring training schedule, there are plenty of opportunities to see them play at home or away between February and March. On top of excellent ticket pricing and location, many of the spring training games held at Steinbrenner Field have special promotions where the first 10,000 fans receive an awesome souvenir and post-game entertainment.
New York Yankees Spring Training Tickets and Pricing
There are 17 home spring training games on the New York Yankees spring training schedule throughout February and March. You can check any number of websites to locate the price of Yankees spring training tickets. Don’t forget to check out Yankees spring training vacation packages and Yankees spring training travel packages to get the most out of your spring retreat, it is Florida after all!
The Philadelphia Phillies – Clearwater
The Phillies were the actual first current Major League Baseball teams to train in Florida before regular season. The Phillies settled in to Clearwater for spring training in early 1947 and have remained there ever since. They began their stint there in a field previously used by the Cleveland Indians and Brooklyn Dodgers. Due in part to their steady history with the city of Clearwater, Phillies fans travel from all around to watch players hit the field and frequently sell out games.
Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training Location
Spectrum Field in Clearwater is a quick 40 minute drive from TradeWinds, straight on I-275. One awesome feature of the stadium is the concourse, which completely wraps around the stadium and is open to the playing field. In pure Clearwater fashion, there’s also a fountain plaza featuring towering palm trees. Spectrum Field is located at 601 N. Old Coachman Road, Clearwater.
Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training Schedule
When does Phillies spring training start? There are 37 games total in the Philadelphia Phillies spring training schedule, starting in February. On top of excellent ticket pricing and location, many of the spring training games held at Spectrum Field have special promotions where fans can bid on memorabilia to benefit Clearwater charities like their local little league.
Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training Tickets and Pricing
There are 18 home spring training games on the schedule throughout February and March. Phillies spring training ticket prices vary depending on the game and seat level. Don’t forget to check out Phillies spring training vacation packages and Phillies spring training travel packages to get the most out of your spring retreat.
The Pittsburgh Pirates – Bradenton
Located at one of the oldest spring training facilities in Florida, originally built in 1923 for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pirates spring training location has been LECOM Park (formerly McKechnie Field) in Bradenton since 1969. That’s not the first dabble the Pirates had in Florida spring training either, they have previously held court in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami and Fort Pierce.
Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Location
Where is Pittsburgh Pirates spring training exactly and what’s unique about their field? LECOM Park is located at 1611 9th Street, West, Bradenton. Due to its rich history, LECOM Park is as authentically retro as they get. While the Pirates play their spring training games there, they actually practice at Pirate City, roughly five miles away. Pirate City is located at 1701 27th Street East, Bradenton.
Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Schedule
When does Pirates spring training start? Spring training officially starts in February and lasts through the month of March. With 32 games total in the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training schedule, and 17 home games, it’s easy to catch a game at home or away!
Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Tickets and Pricing
As mentioned above, Pirates spring training lasts throughout February and March. You can purchase Pirates spring training tickets in multiple places online. Don’t forget to check out Pirates spring training vacation packages and Pirates spring training travel packages to get the most out of your spring retreat.
Baltimore Orioles – Sarasota
The Orioles spring training location has been Sarasota since 2010, but they have a rich history of playing in Florida with stints in: St. Petersburg, Deland, Miami, Daytona Beach, Tarpon Springs and Fort Lauderdale. The Orioles have actually called Sarasota their spring training home twice, once in the 1989 season and then again to stay in 2010.
Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Location
We know they are in Sarasota, but where is Orioles spring training exactly? Orioles’ Spring training location is Ed Smith Stadium, located at 2700 12th Street (12th Street and Tuttle Avenue), Sarasota. Originally built in 1989 and utilized by the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds before both teams relocated to the Cactus League, Ed Smith Stadium was renovated in collaboration with the city of Sarasota and the Orioles when they decided to call it home base. It now features a Mediterranean style exterior, a second-level concourse extended canopy, a picnic area, and even some reclaimed seats from Oriole Park at Camden Yard.
Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Schedule
When does Orioles spring training start? Orioles spring training starts in February as well, with games throughout March. There are 35 games total in the Baltimore Orioles spring training schedule, 15 of those being home games.
Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Tickets and Pricing
You can pick up Baltimore Orioles spring training tickets any time between February and March. Check Orioles spring training ticket prices online. Don’t forget to check out Orioles spring training vacation packages and Orioles spring training travel packages to get the most out of your spring retreat.
Toronto Blue Jays – Dunedin
The Toronto Blue Jays spring training location has been Dunedin since their inception in 1977. The city has had such a good relationship with the Blue Jays over the years that they have continuously chosen to forge agreements to keep the team there every time their contract comes to an end. During the 1995 Major League Baseball strike, the Blue Jays even considered hosting regular season games in Dunedin, but that option never came to fruition.
Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Location
Where is Blue Jays spring training located in Dunedin? The Blue Jays’ spring training location is Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, located at 373 Douglas Ave, Dunedin. Originally built in 1930 and named after the Mayor of Dunedin, Albert Grant, the stadium has undergone a number of renovations and names. It has consistently been ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the best facilities to watch an MLB spring training game. One notable feature of the park is that they offer Lebatt Blue on tap for their Canadian contingency.
Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Schedule
When does Blue Jays spring training start? Blue Jays spring training begins in February, with games played throughout March. There are 33 games total in the Toronto Blue Jays spring training schedule, 13 of those being home games.
Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Tickets and Pricing
You can pick up Baltimore Orioles spring training tickets any time between February and March. Check Blue Jays spring training ticket prices online. Fans from all over, don’t forget to check out Blue Jays spring training vacation packages and Blue Jays spring training travel packages!
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