Spring may not be in the air quite yet, but we still get a small taste of what’s to come with Major League Baseball teams gearing up once again for the pre-season excitement of America’s favorite pastime!
Pre-season spring training is split up into two segments, which consist of the Grapefruit League in Florida and the Cactus League in Arizona. Teams within these leagues participate in a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season, which has become a lucrative enterprise, drawing crowds traveling to these 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, a time before the state even had a pro sports team of its own. In 1888, the Washington Nationals traveled to the town of Jacksonville to prepare for the upcoming season, but due to their poor performance that season, no baseball teams would return to Florida for spring training until 15 years later.
By the Roaring Twenties, however, the state had become the hub of spring training due to improved travel means 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, drawing millions of fans to the many 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.
A Prickly Addition
In 1947, the Cleveland Indians and New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) were the first two teams to go against the grain and hold their spring training season in the great state of Arizona. Now known as the Cactus League, 15 MLB teams prepare for their upcoming seasons in the Valley of the Sun 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 and has become a premiere destination for baseball lovers everywhere!
The pre-season festivities for professional baseball are almost upon us, starting in mid- to late-February and lasting just before Opening Day, which is usually around the first week of April. You can find and purchase tickets online or by them directly at the ballparks on game day, so make sure you check out the spring training schedules for both the Grapefruit League and Cactus League to watch your favorite players and teams during the MLB spring training season.
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!