Baseball is synonymous with springtime. As our favorite ball players dust off their gloves and start lathering up the pine tar in Arizona and Florida, we watch with envy and wait the final few weeks for the world to thaw. Many fans visit the various spring training homes of their beloved teams to feel the warm breeze, listen to the crack of a line drive, and debate whether their underachieving star will FINALLY stay healthy for 162 games.
These areas of Arizona and Florida are gorgeous to look at and offer flawless weather – but there are many more things to do in spring training locations outside of spending your entire day on the baseball field.
Sarasota, FL (Baltimore Orioles)
Between the Lines: The 2014 season will mark the Orioles fifth Spring Training at Ed Smith Stadium. The stadium was built in 1989 and was renovated prior to the 2011 season. Tickets cost as low as $9 per game. The stadium features 7,100 seats recycled from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles players include stars center fielder Adam Jones, first baseman Chris Davis, new pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, and catcher Matt Wieters. The Orioles are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2013 campaign after shockingly making the playoffs in 2012.
Outside The Box Score: Located on the gulf coast of Florida, Sarasota offers much to do both above and below sea level. For the art lovers, be sure to visit The Ringling. This area houses many museums and theaters – you could spend an entire day there and still have more to see. For the lover of legitimate theater, the Sarasota Opera and Asolo Repertory Theater are highly recommended. For the kids, check out the amazing feats of acrobatics and strength at the Sailor Circus. For afternoon relaxation, take a stroll through the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens featuring some of the most beautiful flowers in Florida. If your family loves animals, check out the Cat Depot (yes you can pet them), Mote Marine Aquarium, and the Big Cat Sanctuary (no you probably shouldn’t pet them.) For the adventurous group, visit the Myakka River State Park (complete with insane canopy walkway) and spend the day hiking and enjoying the wildlife. If you’re hungry, eat at Gentile Bros Authentic Cheesecake or the Mozzarella Fella (if for nothing else but the awesome name.) You’ll love spending time in Sarasota.