22 of 30 Team Schedules Have Been Released
The Giants, on October 2, became the first of Arizona's 15 teams to release their 2016 spring training schedule, while the Twins' schedule was the first to be known in the Grapefruit League, as it was announced on October 14. The Spring Training Schedules page is where to find links to all individual team schedules and as each is made available we'll also be updating the day by day league schedules. And if you like and then follow Spring Training Connection on Facebook, notices about and links to each team's schedule will be posted there when they become available.
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Spring Training Features
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 2016 Spring Training Reporting Dates page.
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.
The 2016 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 in March and early April. 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.
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 45 games scheduled to be played at night in 2015 fans can enjoy a day/night DH at different ballparks. Check out the list of 2015 Spring Training Night Games to plan your creative double dip.
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.
The Best Ballpark Atmospheres During Spring Training
In 2011, Joe Connor ranked, from worst to first, the general game day atmosphere found at each Grapefruit and Cactus League ballpark. Not surprisingly, the rabid Red Sox and Cubs fan bases ensured that their teams topped the respective lists.
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.
To Dine For: Ranking the Ballparks Based on the Food They Offer
In 2009, Peoria and Lakeland topped our list by having the best ballpark concessions fare in their respective leagues. Which other ballparks also did a good job at satisfying appetites? See the rankings and explanations for all 26.
Spring Training Ballpark News
Cubs Now Play at Sloan Park
The name Cubs Park didn't last long, as the Mesa ballpark that opened in February 2014 has a new name as of January 8, 2015, when it was announced that the Sloan Valve Company had spent an undisclosed sum to name the Chicago Cubs' spring training home "Sloan Park" for the next 10 to 20 years. Sloan Valve is based in the Chicago suburbs and is best known for their toilet technology and products, some of which have been in Wrigley Field since it opened in 1914, a full century before what's now Sloan Park debuted. Although neither the dollar amount or exact duration of the deal were publicly released, the partnership between the Cubs and Sloan reportedly "is for seven figures annually" and includes publicity perks for the now much better known plumbing products company at Wrigley as well.
Tigers Allow Fans Early Entrance to Watch Batting Practice for $5
In general, the gates at spring training ballparks don't open early enough for fans to see the home team hit, which usually happens between two and three hours before game time. That being the case, the Tigers in 2013 came up with the idea to offer fans that opportunity...for a fee. For $5, fans in 2014 can once again get into Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium an hour or so early to watch the Tigers take their BP from the place where BP homers often land: the grass hill in left field. For fans wanting to partake in the "batting practice experience," the cost of a Batting Practice Pass is added onto the regular cost of a ticket at the box office, where already bought tickets can be upgraded for the same $5 price. You must have a game ticket to be eligible to get in early and the only part of the ballpark that is open early is the berm and left field line bleacher grandstand. Admission is via the 3rd base gate only and the time for early batting practice admittance can vary slightly. For day games, it's usually 10:00 a.m. but it actually depends on when the Tigers start hitting, which could be later like 10:15 but is always going to be in the 10:00ish range. While many teams will likely copy the Tigers and offer such access in the future, right now they're the only one doing it exactly this way.
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.
2015 Spring Training Recap
No new ballparks opened in 2015, but three looked a lot different than they had in the past courtesy of multi-million dollar renovations. Mesa's Hohokam Stadium, the Peoria Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers all received major enhancements to their exteriors and much slighter changes within their respective confines. The upgrades were tied into lease extensions in Fort Myers (Twins) and Peoria (Mariners and Padres) while the Hohokam Stadium updates returned the A's to Mesa, where they had last trained in 1978.
The Cubs have been training in Mesa continuously since 1979 and 2015 marked their first year in Sloan Park, which opened in 2014 as simply Cubs Park. Named for a plumbing parts company that paid handsomely for the privilege, Sloan Park became only the second spring training ballpark in Arizona to ever sport a sponsored name and the venue's second season was even more record-breaking than its first, as 12 times the Cubs drew crowds that topped 15,000 (compared to six such occasions in 2014) and that enabled them to surpass the all-time attendance records the team set in 2014, as the Cubs' 2015 draw of 222,415 fans and a 14,828 per game average were 8,600 and 574 better than what had been the spring training ballpark historic highs of the year prior.
The largest crowd at Sloan Park during the 2015 season was 15,342 for the Cubs-White Sox game on March 27 and that match-up in Mesa of Chicago's two teams now holds the title of most ever tickets sold to an individual game at a spring training-specific ballpark.
Big crowds were often the norm elsewhere and enough tickets were collectively sold to all the games played in Arizona and Florida to top the 3½ million mark for the first time, as 3,531,150 fans paid to see 471 games in 26 stadiums. The average attendance for a spring training game in 2015 was 7,497.
In the Cactus League, 234 games were played by 15 teams in 11 ballparks. Total attendance was 1,916,374, an average of 8,190 per game. Just one game was rained out. Two of the league's games were played at the Diamondbacks' regular season home, Chase Field, and they contributed 31,025 fans to the 2015 Cactus League total, which also included 17,414 from the three exhibition games that one group of minor league players and two college teams played against MLB clubs.
In the Grapefruit League, 237 games were played by 15 teams in 15 ballparks. Total attendance was 1,614,776, an average of 6,813 per game. There were three rainouts. The Rays played one official spring training game at Tropicana Field and it drew 8,934, while another 27,357 were added to the final tally in Florida as that's how many tickets were sold to watch Major League squads take on collegiate/non-MLB teams in exhibitions at six spring training stadiums.
If strictly including only games played between the 30 MLB teams at the 24 spring training ballparks, then the combined total of fans to watch those 458 Cactus and Grapefruit League games was 3,446,420, with the per game average crowd for them 7,525. The Cactus League average was 8,157 (1,867,935 tickets sold to 229 games) and the Grapefruit League average was 6,893 (1,578,485 fans and also 229 games).
One place that didn't draw any spring training fans for the first time since it opened in 1964 was Phoenix Municipal Stadium, as the move to Mesa by the A's ended the Cactus League history of the stadium, which became the third in Arizona since 2011 to be abandoned for elsewhere. Previously, a spring training park in Arizona hadn't permanently been deserted by a MLB team since the Padres left Yuma's Desert Sun Stadium to relocate to Peoria in 1994.
2015 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
2. Red Sox
14. Blue Jays
Port St. Lucie
|Cactus League ||City ||Average ||Total
12. White Sox
* Standings only include games played in Arizona and Florida between MLB teams
2015 Grapefruit League Standings
| ||W ||L || T ||GB
|Blue Jays ||18 ||12 || || -
|Mets ||18 ||12 || 1 || -
|Red Sox ||17 ||12 || 2 || ½
|Pirates ||15 ||11 || 4 || 1
|Astros ||12 ||10 || 4 || 2
|Cardinals ||13 ||11 || 3 || 2
|Marlins ||14 ||12 || 1 || 2
|Rays ||15 ||13 || 2 || 2
|Yankees ||16 ||16 || 1 || 3
|Braves ||15 ||17 || 2 || 4
|Twins ||13 ||16 || 3 ||4½
|Nationals ||11 ||15 || 4 || 5
|Phillies ||12 ||17 || 2 ||5½
|Orioles ||12 ||19 || 2 ||6½
|Tigers ||12 ||20 || 3 || 7
2015 Cactus League Standings
| ||W ||L || T ||GB
|A's ||21 || 7 || 2 || -
|Royals ||18 ||10 || 1 || 3
|D-backs ||19 ||13 || 2 || 4
|Dodgers ||14 || 9 || 7 ||4½
|Padres ||17 ||12 || 1 ||4½
|Reds ||14 ||13 || 3 ||6½
|Rockies ||15 ||16 || 2 ||7½
|Angels ||13 ||14 || 1 ||7½
|Brewers ||13 ||16 || 1 ||8½
|Indians ||14 ||18 || 1 || 9
|Cubs ||13 ||17 || 1 || 9
|Mariners ||13 ||17 || 2 || 9
|White Sox ||11 ||17 || 3 ||10
|Rangers || 9 ||16 || 4 ||10½
|Giants ||11 ||20 || 1 ||11½
"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
Contact Us With Any Questions About Spring Training