Best Opening Weekend Fun With The Florida Grapefruit League
One of the many signs spring has sprung in Florida, are the millions of baseball fans altering their lives to watch their teams train in March. Whether your heart belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees or the Philadelphia Phillies, or just baseball in general—The Boys of Summer are starting early with the Florida Grapefruit League.
Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park
Price: $27 field box/$24 baseline box/$22 field reserved/$19 baseline reserved/$10 berm/boardwalk/Sat to Sun NYY/Bos games $9 Mon to Fri/$7 March 5 and April 2
The Rays train at the recently renovated Charlotte Sports Park approximately 75 miles south of Tropicana Field, the Rays’ home stadium. With 5,000 fixed seats at Charlotte Sports Park, a new suite level, and a 360-degree baseball boardwalk that includes a tiki bar with a view of the action—it’s worth the drive. The facility also houses a Kids Clubhouse zone with age-appropriate play areas and a kid-friendly concession stand. The renovated park includes a green roof and sustainable landscaping.
Related: A guide to Tropicana Field.
New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field
Price: $33 level one/$31 level two/$29 level three/$17 level four/$32 level five/$27 level six/$10 parking
The Yankees’ spring training complex, George M. Steinbrenner Field, seats 11,076 people, the largest seating capacity in the Grapefruit League. Given the popularity of the pinstripes, tickets to watch the Yankees play at Steinbrenner Field are difficult to find, and the most expensive to buy to boot. However, if you are just hoping to get a peek at on of the most iconic baseball franchises without shelling out the cash, the Yankees hold daily practice sessions before the start of exhibition games. There is also the opportunity to become part of the action, as the Yankees Baseball Fantasy Camp Championship Series gives fans access to the field, facilities and training that the pros get. But be careful, as apparently you are also subject to the same injuries as the pros. The big boss’ (as in George Steinbrenner) daughter, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal was recently reported to have sustained a knee injury while attending the fantasy camp when running out an infield grounder.
Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field
Prices: vary. Click here to purchase tickets
Bright House Field has hosted the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training since 2004. It is one of the newest stadiums in the Grapefruit League, with a seating capacity of 8,500 people. The stadium contains a kids’ play area and an adult play area — a tiki bar that is reminiscent of the Tampa Bay Bucs’ Pirate Ship at Raymond James Stadium. Giving a taste of home, fans munch on Philly cheesesteaks from the concession stands while discussing (okay, arguing) over whether a steak should be served with or without Cheese Whiz.
Peggy Macdonald-Demosthenous, Ph.D. is a native Floridian who also writes about Disney World for Examiner.com. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
- Florida’s Baseball Spring Training Guide (tampa.cbslocal.com)