Bucket List – Spring Training Tour

So… one of these years before they plant my carcass among the daisies, I wish to spend a week (at least) on a Spring Training Tour.  My wife, who is also a baseball fan, is totally on board with this idea.  Yes, I know… there are two distinct destinations for said tour.  I have seen the arguments for Arizona vs Florida, I have even read through Lefty’s totally unbiased “Grapefruit is Overrated” post and all the rebuttals to it.

However, one comment by Paper Lions in Lefty’s post sort of summed it up… “If your favorite team in in FL, that is the place for you to go.”

Well, peeps, our team is (at least for the next couple of years) in Dunedin, on the beautiful Gulf Coast, hard by Clearwater, and a mere stone’s throw from one of our own resident “bat-shit crazy Floridians” (to again quote Paper)… yes Indaburg, I am referring to you.

Full disclosure time: I have been to Phoenix, to Luke AFB actually, on deployment and yes, the teams are closer, but, like ‘Burgie, I prefer my heat with some moisture in it.  I like being near the ocean, I like seafood, I like Kennedy Space Center… etc.

But for me, there are another couple of compelling arguments for choosing Grapefruit over Cactus and they are both financially- (as well as sanity-) based.

First, to get to Florida from where we live, it is a mere matter of driving a couple of hours to Bangor, Maine, hopping on an airplane and within 4 hours, we are landing at either Tampa (PIE) or Orlando Sanford (SFB) airport… non-stop.  By contrast, it is a minimum of 8 hours travel time, with at least one stopover, to get to Phoenix.  And I absolutely detest sitting around in airports.  Or, if I was masochistic enough to want to drive (I’m not) .. it is THREE THOUSAND FUCKING MILES from here to Phoenix… that’s a week right there.  Another consideration here: the time zone change… FL is one time zone away, while AZ is three, with the accompanying jet lag.

The other reason is accommodations.  If we were to travel to Phoenix, we’d still be needing a place to stay… likely a vacation rental, as these are normally more economical than a hotel. Having a kitchen, and possibly a pool is a great asset when you are spending a week or so somewhere hot.  But it still costs money, and the USD – CAD exchange rate sucks big time right now.

However, if we travel to Florida to see the Jays, we get to stay at Indaburg’s place free of charge. Right, ‘Burgie?

Just kidding!  Actually, if we travel to Florida, we do get free accommodations (well, maybe not FREE… let’s just call them “pre-paid”).  We are Disney Vacation Club members (Mickey’s version of a timeshare), so we actually get our pick of 10 deluxe DVC resorts at Walt Disney World plus another one on the ocean at Vero Beach.  This, to me, is a big consideration, especially if we do this Bucket List trip as part of a group, likely extended family… we have access to accommodations that will hold anywhere from 4 to up to 12 people, with full kitchen and laundry facilities.

This was to have been the year we were planning a Spring Training pilgrimage, being the final year that both kids are still in high school and therefore have Spring Break (next week).  However, that went out the window two years ago when my son signed up for a senior-year trip to Italy, Austria and Germany over Spring Break (he leaves in a couple of hours).  After this year he will be in either university or military college for his engineering degree, so he will be unavailable.  In three years, my daughter will be doing her senior-year trip, so it’s either 2017 or 2018 or wait until both kids are in university.

Someday… (sigh).


24 thoughts on “Bucket List – Spring Training Tour

  1. Spring Training is cool and all, but I wouldn’t invest my travel dollars there when I still have twenty stadiums to cross off the bucket list. A Rust Belt tour of Pittsburgh, Cinci, Cleveland and Detroit is something my friend and I have been kicking around for a couple of years. That plus Toronto (there’s almost certainly going to be a weekend trip up there this summer) gets me halfway home. If I wanted to get Florida-in-March level rained on I’d just take an extra-long shower. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For regular season games, I’ve only ever been to Rogers Centre, Olympic Stadium, Safeco Field and Fenway, so I still have 27 parks on my list. I have tentative plans to do a bit of an I-95 stadium tour, trying to catch both New York teams, the Phillies and the Orioles/Nats and maybe the Red Sox on the same trip, but the way the Canadian dollar is going, and the price of some tickets, it may be a few years.


      1. Forget Yankee Stadium. Not worth your time or dollars.

        Now, if you wanted to catch a NYCFC match while you’re in town, that’s a different story. The beer is still hideously overpriced, but what can you do?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That said, I can’t recommend Citi, CBP, OPACY and Nationals Park highly enough. Fantastic game day experiences at all.


      3. I was looking at the Yankees @ Mets games in early August… that would be a good opportunity to experience Citi Field AND boo the Yankees all at the same time, without having to pay Yankee Stadium prices. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “If I wanted to get Florida-in-March level rained on I’d just take an extra-long shower.”

      We don’t get much rain this time of year. It’s still our “dry” season. The more you know. 🙂


      1. I recall Keith Law once touting the superiority of the Cactus League by showing a radar map with Florida blanketed and every single Grapefruit League game canceled.


        1. I remember from a couple of deployments to NAS Bermuda in the 80s, there was a rain squall that would show up like clockwork around the same time every day… all the US Navy guys on the base referred to it as the “duty low”. It would last 15 minutes and then the sunshine would return.


  2. You come to Florida with the family, we can all meet up at a game, if you’d like. I promise, I am sane. Mostly. 🙂 I am the good crazy. I passed the background check to be a nurse. That’s gotta mean something.

    My dream vacation as a kid was spring training in Florida. I get to live it every year. I attended Rays – Red Sox today in Fort Myers. Write up coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crazy nurses are fine. I’ve had a few in my day. My wife is a physiotherapist at the local hospital, so she knows lots of semi-sane nurses as well.


  3. I would offer my company at a Brewers game in Milwaukee, but I’m relocating in the next few months. No more Midwestern winters for meeeeeeeee wheeeeeeeeeee


      1. Somewhere in the Delmarva area. Still trying to find the exact right place, but it will be near there. I’m very excited; I’ll have access to two different baseball stadiums, both AL and NL, and since the Braves are NL East rivals with the Nats I’m guaranteed to see them every year. 🙂

        Obviously, it’s still a few months away, and I’ve got a lot to do. But the future is bright and shiny 😀


  4. A couple of things to consider, jays. Depending on your spring training wishes. All the AL East teams are on the Gulf Side, all but 1 ( Boston) within an hour’s drive from the Tampa area. The Mets will be leaving Lake Buena Vista after this year, and I think the Nats are also leaving Viera after this year so there won’t be a team close to Mouseland, except for the Tigers in Lakeland, thus making your driving times that much longer.


  5. If it makes you feel better, my aunts and uncles tried to hit the first 2 Tigers games this year and both were sold out. 😦


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