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.
Tips for Enjoying Spring Training in Florida
Bring a Pen – At no point in the season will the players and coaches be more willing to sign autographs, so make sure you are ready to get your favorite player's signature.
Bring Your Sunscreen – Most Spring Training games are during the day and the Florida sun can be brutal. The last thing you need is a burn the shape of your sunglasses on your face.
Be Ready to Enjoy More than Baseball – Many of the areas around the Spring Training facilities are full of great things to do for you and your family including golf, restaurants and beaches. If you are a Braves fan, their stadium is just minutes from Walt Disney World!
Map of Grapefruit League Spring Training Stadiums
|1. Roger Dean Stadium (Marlins and Cardinals)
||8. Bright House Field (Phillies)
|2. Tradition Field (Mets)
||9. Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (Blue Jays)
|3. Space Coast Stadium (Nationals)
||10. McKechnie Field (Pirates)
|4. Osceola County Stadium (Astros)
||11. Ed Smith Stadium (Orioles)
|5. Champion Stadium (Braves)
||12. Charlotte Sports Park (Rays)
|6. Joker Merchant Stadium (Tigers)
||13. JetBlue Park (Red Sox)
|7. George M. Steinbrenner Field (Yankees)
||14. Hammond Stadium (Twins)