A Fan’s Perspective: MLB Spring Training

Couch Side's own Derek Barsness visited Arizona for a handful of Cactus League games during Spring Training this year. Photo by: Derek Barsness / © Couchsideshow,com

BY DEREK BARSNESS, Couchsideshow.com writer

After returning from a weekend in Arizona for a few Cactus League games, I remain convinced that baseball is the true American sport.

Many aspects of baseball’s spring training are desirable to both the avid and casual fan.  The first and probably biggest reason it’s so popular is the weather.  For the majority of the country we are still suffering the end of a harsh winter in March.  After six months of cold, snow and wind there are few things more appealing than sitting in 80+ degree weather drinking a cold beer and watching baseball under sunny skies.

For those of you who haven’t attended games at either the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League (in Florida) you need to put it on your bucket list.  The atmosphere at the games is incredible.  Literally every seat in the stadium has a great view.  For the younger crowds, many new stadiums are including a second level “Party Deck” which is an excellent option for spring breakers.  For more of the family atmosphere there is the lawn seating where the outfield bleachers usually are.  Make sure to arrive early and claim your spot with a blanket or two.  This is a great option if you have younger kids as there is usually plenty of room for them to run around and not have to sit still for two hours.

For the true and diehard fan, spring training offers a unique opportunity for an up close and personal interaction with the players.  Players are more approachable and laid back than during the regular season and getting an autograph is almost guaranteed if you try hard enough.  Fans also have the opportunity to watch practice on an off day.  Many star players will stay after to sign autographs and take pictures, something that doesn’t usually happen during the regular season.

The other beauty of spring training is being able to see multiple teams.  In the three days that I was in Arizona I saw three games and six different teams.  In Florida the teams are spread out across the state.  However, in Arizona, the recent move of the White Sox and the Rockies from Tucson to the Phoenix area has every stadium located within an hour of each other.  Seeing multiple teams gives me an advantage as an avid fantasy baseball fan.  I was able to scout some younger players and even a few veterans who could produce this year.

There are so many great things when it comes to attending spring training.  Whether you are a casual fan looking to escape the woes of a long winter or an avid fan looking for a unique and close-up view of the players, I guarantee you will love every second of your trip.

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