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.
What Else to See
Sure, you made the trip for baseball, but the Gulf Coast of Florida is within minutes of six spring training stadiums. At least take a walk on the sand at Longboat Key, Siesta Key or Clearwater Beach. If that's not your thing, find a pole and a fishing pier – Highway 275 from Tampa to Sarasota has multiple pull-offs where fishing is allowed – or hire a guide. "There's a lot of other fun stuff to do besides the baseball games," says one relief pitcher who has been trying for a couple years to catch snook.
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