Spring training is an American ritual of low-key exhibition games that almost, almost brings the sport back to its small-town roots for a few precious weeks each year in March until opening day at the start of April.
Florida is the focus of the action, a tradition that goes back to 1914, when the St. Louis Browns wintered in St. Petersburg. Today, 15 teams train and compete here, making up what’s known as the Grapefruit League.
See the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees
The Philadelphia Phillies have one of the most fan-friendly stadiums in MLB, the 8,500-seat Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater. The New York Yankees, though, are the most famous team, and their stadium, George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, is the largest in MLB's Grapefruit League, with seating for 10,387 fans and field dimensions identical to those at the team’s Bronx home. Fans can tour a miniature Monument Park with plaques commemorating each Yankees Hall of Famer, or crowd above the dugout before the first pitch to try for autographs. Those who want to live the experience can sign up for Yankees Fantasy Camp, a week-long immersion into the world of Yankee baseball, with daily instruction and coaching from former players and current coaches, your own Yankee uniform, a locker in the clubhouse and a dream game against the pros. Batter up!