The best time of the year is approaching us soon. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Tampa on Thursday; a signal that spring is on the way and Major league Baseball will be returning back to action.
For me, it is a time of the year in which I am busy trying to catch up with HW and the preparation for my annual trip Tampa. Though many think I am crazy attending all these games by myself, it is the best type of atmosphere one can ever embark on. The fans you meet down in Tampa are like none other. Their knowledge about baseball is vast and you can hang around the field all morning before the games starts, just talking solely about baseball. I can't think of anything better.
I am purchasing a laptop soon so that I can document my week long travels down to Florida more extensively than I have in the past. The players are easier to see down in Tampa and the autographs are much easier to come by than if you are going to a game in the Bronx.
Is anyone else heading down to Tampa soon? I have gone to spring training during the practices in February and also the games in March.
Advantages of going to practices:
- Admission into the stadium is free (parking was free back in the day, not sure if it still is); you can sit wherever you want
- Players are friendly and autographs are easier to come by
- Player development
- You can see the different drills the players engage in to build strength
- Catcher activities are always fun to watch. The players also have fun with this which makes it entertaining
- Its only a practice. Players are running and doing sprints. Not a great deal of action, though you can watch the pitchers throw a BP session.
- Only pitchers and catchers for the first week. If you head over the Himes field you can try to catch a glimpse of the position players. Forewarning, do not park close to the field. You could get your car smashed by a ball. Seen it happen first hand.
- Last i checked, the practices were maybe 2 hours long. Not a great deal of time at the field, especially if you're traveling from far away.
- Player development- If you are into seeing the guys in the Yankees farm system, this is the place to catch a glimpse of what is in store for the future.
- Autographs are easier to come by, though you need to get to the games early, when the players are practicing in the morning before the game.
- $$$... The tickets are pretty expensive, especially considering the fact you are seeing the stars play for only 3 innings or so. Parking, last I checked, was 7 dollars. I work 3 jobs and tutor a handful of kids just to afford this. But it IS worth the money, I assure you.
For the record, if you attend spring training during the beginning of March, the regulars are only going to be starting about 3 innings. Starting pitchers start out slow and will be pulled after a certain pitch count (typically going 3 innings, which is built up during the last week of camp). if you go to see big players such as Jeter or Arod, then your best bet is to try heading down at the middle to end of spring training. Those who enjoy player development are better off going in the beginning. As camp starts to progress and wind down, players are sent to the minor leagues, which is located a few minutes away from the GMS complex.
Those with kids and jobs may only be able to attend spring training in February when kids are on break. While I think the games are better, I still recommend going to the workouts. Not only do you see the players close up, but its Florida and the weather is amazing as it is. Attending practices is certainly cheaper than games too.