MLB teams are starting to arrive at their Spring Training camps in the next few days before the action starts to begin.
We have taken a look at Spring Training and what it entails.
|What||MLB Spring Training|
|Where||Arizona and Florida|
|When||Starts on Monday 13th February 2023|
|How to watch||MLB.TV|
|Odds||(To win the World Series) LA Dodgers, 6/1, Houston Astros, 6/1, New York Mets, 7/1, New York Yankees, 8/1, Atlanta Braves, 9/1, Toronto Blue Jays, 9/1|
Spring Training starts for most clubs on Monday 13th February before some competitive games on Friday 24th February. Most clubs will play on Saturday 25th February.
Most franchises have places in either Arizona or Florida, while some share facilities and don’t own them outright.
If you play in Arizona, you will take part in the Cactus League and in Florida clubs will play in the Grapefruit League.
If your base is on the Gulf coast, you will play other sides that are also on the Gulf side of Florida. If you are on the Atlantic Coast then teams based on that side will play each other. On only a few occasions will sides cross Florida.
Most of the games will be available via MLB.TV. Some matches are on ESPN and other major networks but not all games are available to watch.
Spring Training traces its origins back to 1886. The birthplace of Spring Training baseball was Hot Springs, Arkansas the city that first welcomed a Major League team before the start of the season.
The Chicago White Stockings (now Chicago Cubs) first brought their coaches and players to the city that year in preparation for the upcoming season.
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After 1886, many other Major League teams soon adopted the philosophy and began training in Hot Springs. Eventually, better climates in Arizona, California and Florida drew teams there.
Florida was discussed about being the epicentre of preseason baseball and eventually the Indians, Athletics, (St Louis) Browns and Cardinals followed the Cubs and the Grapefruit League started in 1914/15.
The Florida League was the only one to start with and for more geographical reasons the Braves, Orioles, Red Sox, Tigers, Astros, Marlins, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Cardinals, Rays, Blue Jays and Nationals played in it.
It wasn’t until 1947 that the Cactus League began. Today these teams play in the Arizona League, including the Reds, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Royals, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Athletics, Giants, Mariners and Rangers.
Pitchers and Catchers will make their presence known first at Spring Training. This is apparently because of the amount of pitchers available to play in the first few rounds of games as the coaches and managers assess who will make the 26-man roster for opening day.
The Spring Training rosters include some players who have been released from other clubs and are invited to train with different teams to showcase their skills with a view to obtaining at least a Minor League deal with an affiliate side if not a Major League contract.
As the days go by, some of the prospects can also show why they are considered players for the future.
You will see players from the Minor League affiliates play most of the game and then, during the middle weeks, the Major League staff will get frequent run-outs with strong lineups.
In the final few days the superstar appearances become sporadic as they look to manage their workload ahead of the opening day and the following 161 regular season games.
Most of the stadiums don’t have a capacity over 10,000. Sloan Park in Mesa, the home of the Chicago Cubs, has a 15,000 capacity but it doesn’t fill it on a regular basis.
The atmosphere is a lot more intimate with games mostly being played in the afternoon as fans can see their stars up close and personal.
Fans can attend the workouts prior to the exhibition games being played. Usually there are press conferences every day, so the media are kept busy leading up to opening day. This season the opening-day fixtures are being held on Thursday 30th March.
The Spring Training this year has been disrupted slightly by some of the players going to play in the World Baseball Classic which means some rosters will have to be adapted to make sure all their players get games played before opening day.