The latest baseball book I read was Florida Spring Training: Your Guide to Touring the Grapefruit League. Man did this book get me going. I’ve never been down to spring training. Being a CPA, it’s never really been possible to take time off to take an extended trip because it’s one of my busiest times of year and it probably won’t happen this year because we already have our vacation planned. I do have a friend who’s moving to Tampa though, so the hope is to get down there next year and check out the Tigers and a few other teams and soak in the spring training experience.
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to someone who plans on heading down to Florida in March. It was a fun read and it gives you tips and suggestions to get the most of your spring training trip.
The first chapter has an interesting history of spring training. It talks about how many teams have chosen to chase the dollar and it seems like every year, a team decides to find a new spring training home. In some cases, they move out of the Florida completely and head to the Cactus League in Arizona. It also provides a short glossary of terms that are used through out the book.
The next 17 chapters give the ins and outs of each of the 17 spring training stadiums in Florida. Want to know what each stadium has to eat? It’s in the book. Want to know how much parking is? Also in the book. Want to know whether you should buy tickets in advance rather then on game day? Well, that’s in the book too. In fact the book answers just about every question you might have including which part of each stadium to sit at to get shade and the best way to get autographs.
Chapter nineteen ranks each of the spring training sites. Dodgertown comes in first while the Tigers spring training stadium, Joker Marchant Stadium, is further down the list at twelve. The rankings are determined based on a five factor rating which includes Intimacy, Autographs, Comfort, Food and Style. Joker Marchent rated very high in Style (9) but very low in Autographs (3) mostly because of a net that protects fans on the first base side.
The final chapter maps out five week long spring training trips. Want to stick around the Tampa area? There’s a trip for that. And there’s also a trip if you want to center your spring training trip around a visit to Disney World.
The only warning is to make sure you buy the most recent edition. Spring training is constantly morphing and even the Dodgers will be leaving historic Dodgertown and the Indians are heading for Arizona in the next couple of years as well. In addition, current facilities are being modified on a regular basis so if you have an old edition of the book, you might be showing up to a stadium that looks nothing like the description.