Extended Spring Training Guide
Extended spring training games don't draw a lot of fans but are a very fan-friendly experience: admission is free and so is parking at the team complexes where the games are always played in daylight hours from early April through early June. If interested in attending the games so few people even know about, read our Extended Spring Training Guide, which is really the only one of its kind.
2018 Spring Training Schedules Posted
All team schedules for 2018 spring training in Arizona and Florida have been posted. The master schedules for each league are also available, with the Cactus League currently scheduled to host 234 games and the Grapefruit League showing 245 games on tap. The first of the 479 total games to be played in the two states is slated for February 21 and March 27 marks the endpoint. You can take a look at all the schedules on a team-by-team basis on the 2018 spring training schedules page.
Same Places, New Names in Florida
In a flurry of recent renaming activity, four Grapefruit League ballparks changed their names (in 2017) while another two parks made slight alterations to what they're called (in 2018). So the Phillies now play at Spectrum Field (formerly Bright House Field), the Pirates at LECOM Park, which was McKechnie Field, Mets games are held at First Data Field, which became the name of what had been Tradition Field, and the Blue Jays' exhibition home simply became Dunedin Stadium when its previous name, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, expired. To conclude the rebranding bonanza, Roger Dean Stadium has been amended so that the Cardinals and Marlins now play at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium and the Astros and Nationals now host their games at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches after FITTEAM was added to the front of the ballpark's name.
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Spring Training Features
A Guide to Attending Spring Training Practice...and Getting Autographs at Them
Proximity to the pros at a price that can't be beat. That sums up the free to attend practice only portion of spring training, during which time autographs are easy to come by and barriers between players and fans are often remarkably minimal. Spring training in February has an ambiance of fan-friendliness that's unmatched in professional sports. To help you bask in it, Graham Knight has compiled a guide with team-by-team listings of where practices are actually held, when you should be there, and the guidelines for getting autographs at them.
Before the games begin, players have to report to camp. To see when pitchers and catchers are due to report and first practices are held for your team, visit the 2018 Spring Training Reporting Dates page.
The Spring Training Ticket Information Guide covers all the aspects a fan needs to know about for obtaining tickets to attend a game anywhere in Arizona or Florida. From listing on-sale dates to primary and secondary ticket providers, posting box office phone numbers and alerting you to ticketing trends that can drive up, and in some cases down, prices, the ticket guide compiled by Spring Training Connection is full of details and information about the ticket buying process.
Spring Training Jobs Guide
For those in search of seasonal employment at a spring training site, our page dedicated to Spring Training Jobs has the lowdown on what to expect and who to contact about positions and possibilities in Arizona and Florida for 2018.
Let's Watch Two
Ernie Banks famously said "Let's play two!" and while there are no doubleheaders during spring training there are plenty of opportunities for fans to watch two games in one day. With 63 games scheduled to be played at night in 2018 fans can enjoy a day/night DH at different ballparks. Check out the list of 2018 Spring Training Night Games to plan your creative double dip.
Essential Ballpark Information Guide
If you're going to a game at any spring training ballpark in 2018, our Brief Ballpark Info Guide will give you an idea of what to expect concerning parking and ticket prices, gate opening times and other nice to know stuff, like ages kids get in free and whether chairs are allowed in lawn seating. All the info and explanations are a quick read and detail the most typical ballpark FAQs for the 2018 spring training season.
Split Squads Explained
How is it possible for a team to play games in two locations on the same day and generally at the same time? The usage of split squads is the answer. Every team has split squad dates during spring training. Why, what that means, and which players are likely to play where is explained in our page detailing Split Squads During Spring Training.
Tips For Getting Autographs
How do you get autographs in spring training? Joe Connor answers that question. Read his article, How to Get Autographs During Spring Training, to learn about the three important factors autograph seekers must be aware of in their quest.
Things To Do In Arizona and Florida During Spring Training
Fans of all ages have plenty to experience and see in the Grand Canyon and Sunshine States besides watching their favorite team train in their winter home. Joe Connor details a “starting nine” of sports and recreation things to do when you're not at your favorite team’s ballpark.
Planning For Spring Training
What do you need to know before you go? Joe Connor helps you answer that question in his article, 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning Your Spring Training Trip.
Spring Training History
Spring Training Sites of World Series Teams
Shockingly, more teams have advanced to the World Series after training in Cuba than in Sarasota, from which no team has ever embarked on a championship run despite 81 years of trying. To see where the World Series winners have wintered (and the runner-ups too), we've listed the city/states where all 110 Fall Classic participants held their Spring Training camps, breaking the list down into two eras: 1947 to present, and 1903-1946. That split was chosen because 1947 was the first year that teams permanently set up camp in Arizona. Since that groundbreaking spring training, the only states to send their trainees to the World Series are Arizona and Florida; prior to '47 the finalists came from 10 states.
2017 Spring Training Recap
Spring training returned to West Palm Beach and not a single game was rained out anywhere.
Those were the two biggest headlines of 2017, when spring training ran longer than usual thanks to the World Baseball Classic.
In West Palm Beach, the debut of an almost $150 million complex and ballpark, dubbed the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, got the Astros and Nationals to move from their previous Florida bases to just the second two-team complex ever built in Grapefruit League history. Previously, the well-to-do city hosted spring training games in West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium from 1963 through 1997. The ensuing 20-year hiatus of exhibition baseball in the city's confines ended on February 28, 2017 when the Nationals hosted the Astros in the first game in the new ballpark, where 140,685 tickets were sold for 31 games in its inaugural season.
Prior to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Cubs' Sloan Park in Mesa was the most recent spring training ballpark to open, which it did in 2014, and since then the Cubs have been #1 in all attendance rankings. In 2017 they set the all-time record for full season home attendance (226,933) and per game average (15,129) over the course of their 15-game Cactus League schedule at Sloan Park.
The Cubs were among the teams that hosted special exhibition games against countries participating in the World Baseball Classic. In all, 16 MLB teams played teams representing 10 countries in 19 games at 14 ballparks and attendance at those locales totaled 110,314. The Cubs added a leading 24,966 to their total crowd count at Sloan Park by hosting two of the WBC tune-ups there.
Including all games for which paid admission was collected at ballparks in Arizona and Florida during the 2017 spring training season, there were 3,583,022 tickets sold to the 521 games that were played in 24 venues in the two states. Based on those numbers, the average attendance for a spring training game in 2017 was 6,877.
In the Cactus League, 258 games were played by 15 teams in 11 ballparks. Total attendance was 1,945,887, an average of 7,542 per game. For the second straight year, no games were canceled due to weather, so every game scheduled was played. Among them, two were held at the Diamondbacks' regular season home, Chase Field, and they contributed 23,276 fans to the 2017 Cactus League total, which also included 4,004 from an exhibition game that a college team played against the D-backs.
In the Grapefruit League, 263 games were played by 15 teams in 13 ballparks. Total attendance was 1,637,135, an average of 6,225 per game. For the first time in the 21st century, zero games were rained out. The final tally in Florida included the 20,263 tickets that were sold to watch five Major League squads take on collegiate/non-MLB teams.
If strictly including only games played between the 30 MLB teams at the 23 spring training ballparks, then the combined total of fans to watch those 494 Cactus and Grapefruit League games was 3,425,165, with the per game average crowd for them being 6,934. The Cactus League average was 7,572 (1,847,500 tickets sold to 244 games) and the Grapefruit League average was 6,311 (1,577,665 fans and 250 games).
On the facility front, while West Palm Beach was the only city to open a new ballpark, substantial renovations to the stadiums in Lakeland and Tampa made them look and feel a lot newer in 2017. Meanwhile, in Arizona a multi-year renovation to the Peoria Sports Complex was finally finished (mostly, anyway) to ensure that it won't meet the fate of Osceola County Stadium and Space Coast Stadium anytime soon. Those were the stadiums in the cities that the Astros (Kissimmee) and Nationals (Viera) left behind upon their joint relocation to West Palm Beach.
2017 Attendance Rankings
(home games only, ranked by per game average)
* Attendance figures include all games in which paid admission was collected at a spring training ballpark
|Grapefruit League ||City ||Average ||Total
|1. Red Sox
12. Blue Jays
Port St. Lucie
W Palm Beach
W Palm Beach
|Cactus League ||City ||Average ||Total
13. White Sox
* Standings only include games played in Arizona and Florida between MLB teams
2017 Grapefruit League Standings
| ||W ||L || T ||GB
|Yankees ||24 || 8 || 1 || -
|Cardinals ||20 || 8 || 4 || 2
|Pirates ||19 ||11 || 1 || 4
|Red Sox ||18 ||14 || 3 || 6
|Twins ||16 ||13 || 3 ||6½
|Orioles ||16 ||14 || 3 || 7
|Astros ||14 ||14 || 3 || 8
|Mets ||15 ||17 || 3 || 9
|Phillies ||14 ||17 || 5 ||9½
|Marlins ||13 ||17 || 5 ||10
|Nationals ||13 ||17 || 4 ||10
|Rays ||12 ||16 || 5 ||10
|Tigers ||14 ||21 || 2 ||11½
|Blue Jays ||11 ||18 || 2 ||11½
|Braves || 8 ||22 || 2 ||15
2017 Cactus League Standings
| ||W ||L || T ||GB
|Angels ||19 ||13 || || -
|Mariners ||19 ||14 || 3 ||½
|Royals ||17 ||13 || 2 || 1
|A's ||16 ||15 || ||2½
|Rockies ||16 ||15 || 2 ||2½
|White Sox ||16 ||15 || 2 ||2½
|Indians ||16 ||15 || 3 ||2½
|Dodgers ||17 ||16 || 1 ||2½
|Giants ||16 ||16 || || 3
|D-backs ||15 ||15 || 2 || 3
|Reds ||16 ||17 || 1 ||3½
|Brewers ||15 ||16 || 1 ||3½
|Rangers ||14 ||15 || 3 ||3½
|Cubs ||10 ||17 || 5 ||6½
|Padres ||11 ||21 || 1 || 8
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
- Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby
"It's the fans that need spring training. You gotta get 'em interested. Wake 'em up and let 'em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll.”
- Harry Caray
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