Warm up with Florida’s Grapefruit League

The 2012 Florida Spring Training season begins in late-February/early-March.
First, pitchers and catchers head to the Sunshine State. Then, the teams migrate to Florida. This triggers the fans who will be there to see the first full slate of games set for March 3.


Tiger Town in Lakeland. The Tigers have been training in Lakeland since 1934 and have been playing in Joker Marchant Stadium since 1966. photo by springtrainingonline.com

Schedules are posted for all 15 teams and tickets are on sale throughout January.
Major League Baseball’s spring training warm up is played in March at 14 in Florida stadiums. Locate your team and print the free 2012 Florida Spring Training Guide from the Florida Grapefruit League.

You can also request a free guide by sending an e-mail with your mailing address to ngandy@flasports.com. The Training Guide includes stadium information, ticket prices, telephone numbers, team schedules and directions.

Every team has their loyal fans who return each spring. More than 1.5 million baseball fans cheered on the grapefruit league in 2011. Each and every team starts out with a clean slate and a focus toward the World Series. For the fans, it’s an opportunity to get to know their team.

Spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season for In Major League Baseball teams. Training typically lasts about six weeks. Usually, team members wear their batting practice uniforms for the duration of spring training and only wear the traditional jerseys on Opening Day.

Canoe launch

There is more than baseball during Spring training. Savannas Preserve State Park offers canoeing, kayaking, and fishing in the wetlands. photo FL State Parks.

History – Florida’s spring training began in 1913, when the Chicago Cubs played in Tampa, and the Cleveland Indians in Pensacola. The next year, two other teams moved to Florida for spring training, and that was the real start of the Grapefruit league.

The Grapefruit League really took shape in St Peterburg’s Sunshine Park, the training site of the Philadelphia Phillies. When the 1915 Phillies won 14 of their first 15 games and went on to win the National League pennant, St. Petersburg’s and Florida’s reputation as the nation’s premier training ground was sealed.

The Grapfruit League teams and their location:

Atlanta Braves: Champion Stadium, Lake Buena Vista

Boston Red Sox: JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

Baltimore Orioles: Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

Detroit Tigers: Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland

Houston Astros: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee

Miami Marlins: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

Minnesota Twins: Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers

New York Mets: Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie

New York Yankees: George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Philadelphia Phillies: Bright House Field, Clearwater

Pittsburgh Pirates: McKechnie Field, Bradenton

St. Louis Cardinals: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

Tampa Bay Rays: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte

Toronto Blue Jays: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin

Washington Nationals: Space Coast Stadium, Viera

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium is ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top five facilities to watch a Major League Baseball Spring Training game. photo: 2012 Minor League Baseball.

For fans who like to be in the know about their team, Reporting Dates are listed for each Organization, Pitchers & Catchers, First Workout, Position Players and First full workout are listed here. For more information about the Grapefruit League and the 2012 Master Schedule click. The Cactus League master schedule is on the same site. Learn more about the 15 teams playing in Arizona, who are known as the Cactus League.

Feature photo: Fort Myers. Ft. Myers has been the spring-training home of the Minnesota Twins since 1990.


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