Your Dream Place for Spring Training

Overall, I enjoy Spring Training. Still, there are parts about the whole event that I dislike. Aspects such as heightened speculation over insignificant bench roles, discussions about offseason workouts and people taking small samples too seriously are almost a rite of passage now. Something to be endured before baseball can begin again in earnest. I could do without those parts.

Those are mostly outweighed however, by the good bits. Baseball returning at least in spirit for one and despite the many fluff pieces, there is a growing amount of actual news to digest. Spring Training is also a chance to travel to usually warm destinations, see something resembling baseball for slightly cheaper than normal and have greater access to players and staff than you would have at a regular Major League game.

As for the games themselves, I have never been able to elicit any passion for exhibition or preseason games in any of the sports I’ve followed. Not that I think those who do are wrong to do so. I just cannot follow the same path and so wonder how or why they are able.

Aside from the games and the media, Spring Training is also a venue. I wonder though, since Arizona and Florida have teams all season long, have they lost any appeal as Spring Training destinations? Would it be more intriguing to travel to New Mexico perhaps, or maybe Las Vegas instead of the Phoenix area? Or Alabama instead of Florida? Places that do not see baseball in the regular season for example.

Obviously not all alternatives are as suitable as the current settings. Climate, infrastructure, tradition and a host of other factors give credence to keeping things in place, but there are other options both realistic and fanciful. If you had a choice, where would you like Spring Training to be held?

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

25 Responses to “Your Dream Place for Spring Training”

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  1. Matt NYSOS says:

    I think Las Vegas would be awesome.

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    • Steve says:

      Yea…that would be seriously awesome. Wake up late. Buffet. Catch a game. Little gambling. Dinner at a 5 star restaurant. Lots of gambling and debauchery. Repeat. The problem with Vegas is finding something to do during the day. Golf is super expensive, and it’s not easy to gamble 12 hours a day for 2-3 days.

      A more realistic dream would be to have all 30 teams in AZ in close proximity. To the point where you have 2-3 stadiums grouped together (with multigame tickets) so you could bounce around between games if you wanted to.

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    • yceberg says:

      Agreed. Take the whole family and attendance figures could go through the roof. Plus if the wife and kids are bored lots of other things for them to do. Plenty of accommodations and cheap buffet style food…

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    • walkoffblast says:

      The Detroit Tigers think this is a terrible idea …

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    • rtewrte says:

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    • Justin Bailey says:

      Can we all admit that a city that is both culturally bankrupt and aesthetically repulsive can’t really be “awesome,” by definition?

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      • Preston says:

        I can admit that I enjoy drinking, gambling and eating way to much. I can admit that in short spurts that I can find bright lights aesthetically pleasing. I can also admit that I love baseball. So putting all of these things together would indeed be AWESOME.

        I can also admit that moralists, not unlike yourself, work for Major League Baseball and would not want or allow the sport to be in a venue where it would have such a strong tie to gambling.

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  2. Lorenzo says:

    For a never-happen dream spot, Tahiti – in the 1890s when the natives all went topless.

    For a place in the present, put all the teams on Molokai, with topless hula girls as cheerleaders.

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  3. Anthony says:

    I think there should be like an “exotic” league and a “mainland” league. The teams go back and forth and the venues change. The exotic ones can be like Hawaii or Dubai (what isn’t there?) or Puerto Rico, and the mainland ones can move around warmer climates that don’t have a team like the south, New Mexico, the Carolinas, etc.

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  4. Randy says:

    Have it in Central America.

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  5. Joltin' Joe says:

    Tijuana, Mexico please

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  6. Adamsternum says:

    Texas! I’ve never been, and I’m sure they’ve got the infrastructure, and I know they’ve got the barbecue for the Yankee’s starting five.

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  7. Jonathan says:

    San Diego.

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  8. dorasaga says:

    My first reaction is Mexico, Cancun and all those resort places.

    Let’s admit. March is for a vacation. (That’s why schools hold their spring break then.) I think as both WBC-s had shown, the Mexicans have a lot of passion for baseball.

    MLB, the commission, and owners might be able to win more chicano friends by doing it where their ancestors are from. Why not, when both the market and the political correctness are there, right?

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    • dorasaga says:

      My second thought, though, will be the Southern Hemisphere. They have an opposite climate from USA. Australia, Brazil, or perhaps Argentina, America’s last American ally (“Blame Canada!”).

      March is windy and chilly even in Florida and Arizona, where Major League franchise had already occupied. Argentina and Brazil would be sooo much warmer, so are their people more hot (tell me which fashion show not having a super model from Brazil).

      Baseball needs to reach out, open up the market (and soccer fans’ pocket).

      GO, SELIG!

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  9. gnomez says:

    A giant indoor facility somewhere cold.

    How about retooling some abandoned factory in Detroit?

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  10. Cy Schourek says:

    I love the idea of Dubai, Qatar…the whole eastern Arab peninsula. It’d be a great PR grab and let’s face it, it’d be good for the Luke Scotts of the world to get some fresh air.

    Outside of that sheer impossibility, New Mexico and Alabama sound great, or any other non-baseball place. The Dominican Republic has the infrastructure, so that would also be a neat option.

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  11. Chisoxfan says:

    I think Puerto Rico would be the best place. They have a few stadiums, could upgrade more and is a part of the US. I love the Exotic ideas, but hate the hassle of passports for a quick family trip. Puerto Rico solves this and they deserve some more help. Carolina area and other areas without teams could be great.

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  12. I think Florida and Arizona are fairly ingrained by now as the two primary hubs, an important aspect of baseball spring training is for a good number of teams to be in close proximity to each other since so many exhibition games are played. In other sports it’s a bit more feasible for a team to hold its training camp in a random, far-flung location. For instance I used to live in St. Thomas, USVI and the San Antonio Spurs held their training camp there on year, in fact Tim Duncan personally paid for several ferries to bring fans over from St. Croix (his home island) to watch the games. I think another year the Spurs held training camp in France, Tony Parker’s homeland.

    I imagine MLB teams would also be concerned about losing revenue by moving their camps to a more exotic but in some ways less fan-friendly locale. There are going to be security concerns for some fans about leaving the country and higher travel costs for fans, plus the logistical challenges for the team of setting up camp somewhere new (especially outside the US). Puerto Rico might be one of the best bets, since they do have a decent stadium that has hosted MLB games and it’s close to Florida, but it still seems like too much of an inconvenience for a team to actually do when the existing locations and facilities are just fine.

    If you want to catch a baseball game in Las Vegas, remember that the Blue Jays’ AAA affiliate is based there, the Las Vegas ’51s. They also play host to a couple of MLB exhibition games each spring (the Cubs have played there 7 straight years). This year’s games are CHC-CIN on March 12 and CHC-LAD on March 13. Tickets can be purchased here:

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  13. Speaking of the Las Vegas ’51s, isn’t it something that they’re the AAA affiliate of the Bluejays? Vegas to Toronto (according to Google Maps) is 2,256 miles. At the other end of the spectrum, Tacoma (AAA) to Seattle is 34 miles. Can anyone think of a team with a more extreme distance between the AAA team and the big league club? Boston – Pawtucket is close, 42 miles.

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  14. The UK! Obviously weather will be an issue.

    Maybe Spain, I can get cheapish flights to Spain.

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  15. yceberg says:

    Japan for one spring, more for the clubs benefit than the fans. Revenues for the clubs would be through the roof, with the stipulation that all funds must be reinvested into the clubs via FA spending, lowering tickets, stadium renovations or the like…

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