No team went through as many changes as the Miami Marlins did this past offseason, and their fans have taken notice. Changes included getting a new name (the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins), hiring outspoken manager Ozzie Guillen, moving into a brand-new 37,000-seat stadium (that features an over-the-top structure in center field, see left) and signing prized free agents Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.
If those moves alone didn't add to excitement among baseball fans, the team has become a sleeper pick to win the National League East Division and possibly the World Series. The team's first test will be the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals on opening night, April 4. The game has created a buzz around the city and has caused Miami Marlins tickets for this game to have a higher average on TicketNetwork.com than any other opening day game this week.
It's almost April, which will hopefully bring some spring weather (without the relapses into winter that filled up March here in CT). April will also bring some pretty great live events, plus April Fools Day, National Welding Month and National Karaoke Week (my favorite!). Check out the preview of April live events below!
Coachella: For the first time, the festival will span two weekends, starting April 13 and going through April 22. Top headliners include Radiohead, David Guetta, Florence and the Machine, Gotye, and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
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Nickelback: Nickelback is teaming up with Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days for their latest tour, which kicks off April 10 in Moline, IL.
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Crosby, Stills and Nash: The trio is back again with a US tour starting April 17, continuing all the way through September.
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Last week we gave you a guide to the Grapefruit League in Florida; now we turn our attention west, to the Cactus League in Arizona. The remaining 15 teams from Major League Baseball call Arizona home for Spring Training: eight from the National League and seven from the American League. Two teams from the Cactus League, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, have already begun reporting to camp, apparently trying to get a jump on the rest of the league. The remaining teams are set to open camp on February 19, which is the voluntary report date for pitchers and catchers.
What to Look For
Pujols Changes Uniforms – First baseman Albert Pujols surprised the baseball world (especially in St. Louis) this offseason when he left the Cardinals and headed to L.A. to play for the Angels. I guess when someone gives you a $254 million contract, you don't mind leaving the team you just won a World Series with.
Theo Tries to Break Another Curse – In 2004, Theo Epstein helped the Boston Red Sox break an 86-year curse to win the World Series. In 2012, he joins the Chicago Cubs as their new President of Baseball Operations and will have a lot of work to do if he wants to break the 103-year curse that every Cubs fan has suffered through. Good luck with that.
Rangers Welcome Yu Darvish – The Texas Rangers fell just short of winning the World Series last year and are hoping their latest addition to the pitching staff will help. Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish joins the club and should provide a lot of fanfare surrounding Rangers Spring Training similar to the welcome that Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka received in 2007 when he came over from Japan.
Now that the NFL season is over, it's time to look forward to the Major League Baseball season, and that all begins with Spring Training 2012. All 30 MLB teams will begin to report to camp in just a couple of weeks, so what better time to take a look at all the teams and give you a guide to this year's Spring Training? Today, we will take a look at the 15 ball clubs that play as part of the Grapefruit League in Florida. Next week, we'll shift west and look at Arizona's Cactus League.
What to Look For
Grapefruit League Tickets
JetBlue Park – The newest ballpark in the Grapefruit League, JetBlue Park is the new home to the Boston Red Sox and located just a few miles away from their old home, City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, FL. The stadium was built as a mini-Fenway Park featuring a 37-foot "Green Monster" in left field and will seat approximately 11,000 fans.
New-Look Marlins – No longer the Florida Marlins, the Miami Marlins will feature a whole new look for the 2012 season and Spring Training will be the first chance for fans to catch a glimpse of their team. Along with a new logo, the Marlins also have a new shortstop in Jose Reyes, who joined the team this off-season from the New York Mets.
A Prince Moves to a New Kingdom – First baseman Prince Fielder surprised almost everyone just a few weeks ago when he decided to sign a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers. He will debut in his new duds at Joker Merchant Stadium in Lakeland, FL, when he reports to camp in just a couple weeks.
After more than six months and nearly 2,500 games, Major League Baseball is finally down to its final two teams: the Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals. The two teams will battle it out for the Commissioner’s Trophy and the right to be called 2011 MLB Champions.
Both teams that made it to the Fall Classic are certainly not strangers to the event. This is the 18th time the Cardinals will play in the World Series (having won 10 of them), while it will be only the second time for the Rangers, with the other time happening just last season. Thanks to the National League winning the All-Star Game, the Cardinals will have the advantage of starting the series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Most of the country has seemed less-than-enthused at the prospect of the match-up, but that hasn't stopped fans in Texas from paying an average of $569 for tickets to the three possible games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, with Game 5 carrying the highest average at $604. In St. Louis, Cardinals fans have paid slightly less for their possible four games with an average of $434, although the few tickets already sold for a possible Game 7 have an average price of $965.