Spring Training : Grapefruit League Baseball
Every February and March, hundreds of baseball players at all levels of expertise head to Florida to earn or keep their places on some 20 different major league teams and their farm club affiliates. The informality and ease of access during this spring training, which is known as the Grapefruit League, attracts thousands of baseball fans as well (more than a million spectators for the month-long “season”). Though they’re not necessarily played to win, Grapefruit League games are played in modern 10,000-seat stadia that approach the major leagues in quality. The smaller size allows an up-close feel you’d have to pay much more for during the regular season. (And your chances of snagging balls during batting practice, or the early morning training sessions, are infinitely better, too.)
Most of the Grapefruit League teams make their springtime homes on the Gulf Coast, but many others locate in cities and towns along Florida’s Atlantic coast, and some teams are in the Orlando area, including the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. The teams move around from town to town depending on the deals they can finagle from local taxpayers, but at time of writing, the New York Mets train in Port St. Lucie, the Washington Nationals in the Space Coast town of Viera, while the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins play in Jupiter.