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"Unless you're leading the Dog, the view never changes." - sign just outside the Yankees spring training clubhouse, Legends Field, Tampa, Florida
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EXCERPTS FROM “A FANS GUIDE TO THE ULTIMATE SPRING TRAINING EXPERIENCE,” which provides fans with an in-depth look at every MLB spring training facility and ballpark, as well as their communities, from a first person, fans-perspective:
From the Introduction: "To truly experience the ultimate spring training getaway - from the ballparks to their charming communities - you'll need to develop a couple of "five star tools" as the scouts like to say, to fully enjoy your road trip. This book will share these time saving benefits with you that you won't find in any tourist brochure, so you have a good feeling that your journey will be as memorable as you imagine."
FROM THE REST OF THE BOOK:
"You can practically kiss the relief pitchers - it's that close and intimate! In these berm areas, signs read, "This area is reserved for children only" (at the usher's discretion of course, assuming the kids don't drive any of the players nuts!)."
"There are few places in spring training where you'll find fans starting to clap in unison to try and start a rally! Most spring training games include mild cheering and clapping at best! Even the rendition of the national anthem is full force! You'll think you've joined a choir!"
"(In Florida) take note that the state bird is the mosquito and the state animal is the roach…To make the most of your trip to FLA, you first need to understand the key areas of the state where MLB teams hold spring training. Before we go there though, some suggestions on crisscrossing the state."
"There's rarely a sellout at this charming little ballpark reflective of the plain Midwest and getting into the facility is fairly reasonable. You'll have to pay to park your car as there's no accessible street parking and public transportation in the area is lousy."
"Most importantly, sitting on the third base side, you'll have the sun in your eyes. Make sure you sit on the first base side so you enjoy your experience at the ballpark. Parking is also limited, so try and secure a street spot by arriving early."
"Over the course of more than eight decades, this urban ballpark has had more tenants than Larry King wives. Mostly, it’s the ballparks' unique history and the idea that foul balls can fly into neighboring streets that make this quite a fun place from a design and enjoyment standpoint."
"During the game, you'll hear trains and maybe even a motorcycle revving up in the local neighborhood. On the first base side, picnic tables enable fans to catch the game while chowing down some good grub. Colorful red, white and blue decorations - typically only common at the All-Star Game and World Series - grace the first and third base sides. Food concessions are well-positioned right as you enter the ballpark and the choice of eats and drinks are plentiful - from a slice of a cool local pizza chain to a happening local brew."
"The parking is absolutely horrendous - the worst of all spring training facilities. To park, you will have to enter the complex and follow the signs to park on the lawn - a process that takes forever because the road leading into the complex is one-lane only. If you don't plan ahead, you might miss a third of the game sitting in your car waiting to park."
"The seats are so close to the field that its common to smell the grass and hear the players in the field shout "let's get two" for a double play or other team themes. Some players and coaches will arrive to the ballpark itself by biking from the clubhouse, which is located some distance away. Even the bathrooms are top-notch."
"While you can park in the lots adjacent to the ballpark, bypass them by trying to find a residential street nearby. It will be a longer walk to the ballpark for you, but believe me it will be well worth it to your wallet - but mostly your patience since getting out of the lots adjacent to the ballpark are about as atrocious as getting in. By parking along the street, you avoid the misery."
"The rendition of the seventh inning stretch is also so lame that it really defies reality. Hopefully, it's been sent to the grave but in the past a big band version of the stretch has played and nobody sings! (Enter the frat boys, who by this time have had a few Icehouse drafts using their fake IDs!)"
"Promotions are a big part of the ballpark atmosphere. Don't be surprised to find special couch seats on the first base side and a hot tub on the third base side, arranged by a radio station for its lucky winners. The vendors and concessionaires are quite colorful, too. If you're lucky enough, you might find a radical looking dude from the 1960s sporting beer bottles attached to his cap!"
Purchase "A Fans Guide To The Ultimate Spring Training Experience" for just $10.00 (U.S.) and receive free advice from Joe on planning your trip! Click here to download it in just seconds!
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Feb 03 2002, 04:33:45
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