The stadium-by-stadium, cross-country road trip is great in theory – cheer the Sox, boo the Yanks (or vice-versa) then make fun of the last-place Cubs – but it takes time, planning, and a lot of gasoline. Save yourself the 3,000-mile drive and head to Spring Training instead. You'll be scarfing hot dogs, munching peanuts, throwing back beers, and watching team after team in a series of intimate stadiums. And you'll do it all in one long weekend.
A flight to Tampa (home to Steinbrenner Field and the Yankees) from LaGuardia will run you about $400, and once you're there, it's fewer than 100 miles to the camps of eight other teams, including the Tigers, Phillies, Blue Jays, Orioles, and Pirates. If you can get yourself to Phoenix, it's even easier: none of the 15 teams at 10 sites are more than 65 minutes apart.
The games played in Florida and Arizona don't count, but the memories are real. Here's how to get the most out of your early March trip.
March 7, Florida
Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees (Steinbrenner Field, Tampa – 7:05 p.m.; tickets from $17) The last time Derek Jeter played in a game against Detroit, he broke his ankle, as the Yankees finished the season with a whimper, getting eliminated by the Tigers in the 2012 American League Championship Series. The Yankees have reloaded in what Jeter says is his final season, adding veterans like Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann and recruiting Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka. The Tigers have their share of new faces, too, led by former Texas Rangers infielder Ian Kinsler. This is a night game, making your travel to Florida a bit easier -- you can make it even if you have to leave the office at noon.
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