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 9, Arizona
Giants at Dodgers (Camelback Ranch, Glendale – 1:05 p.m.; tickets from $8) These two teams have a rivalry so heated, that in recent years, fans have engaged in serious fights after games. Hopefully the laid-back atmosphere in Arizona will eliminate that angst. However, this is the only meeting of these two teams before they see each other again on April 4 in San Francisco, so it's worth checking out. The Giants are playing against their "futures" team at home on the same day, so expect this traveling squad to be slightly under-manned.
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