You know that someone's really a fan of baseball when they can't wait for the regular season to begin and get excited about spring training. This is a series of exhibition games and practices that take place in Florida and Arizona between all of the different major league teams. It is meant as a place where the team's existing players can get ready for the competitive season and where new players can try to impress the powers that be and make it onto the team. But, you will find that there are lots of people from the area and from as far away as Toronto who get excited to come out to these games.
Spring training starts in February and usually lasts for about six weeks until just before opening day. This is typically around the beginning of April. Training starts with the pitchers and catchers, because they are the ones that benefit the most from additional training and then the other players come a couple of weeks later. You will find that there are already people back in New York or Boston who are creating their fantasy rosters based on what happens at spring training.
Spring training is a tradition that has been around almost as long as major league baseball. Teams started training away from their regular home stadium in the 1890s and by the 1910s it was done by most of the existing teams of the time. Long before players were getting sponsorships and before team owners were worried about merchandising, the New York Yankees were training in New Orleans and Pittsburgh Pirates in Honolulu. The Detroit Tigers were the first to train in Arizona and the Philadelphia Phillies the first in Florida.
There are now fifteen teams that train in Arizona and the same amount who go to Florida. These are not the same teams that will face each other during the regular season. You might even see posters up for extended spring training for those that are not ready or unable to play on one of the farm teams due to injury. If you're someone who is really passionate about baseball and are in the Arizona or Florida region during these months then this is a cheap and exciting way to see some of the best players and some of the future greats. Springtrainingonline.com is a great source for more information.