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.