Visiting Every Spring Training Camp Is A Unique Experience.

Going To Spring Training Games Is The Best Way To Spend Your Spring Break

Choose your Spring Training destination, soak up some sun with your loved ones, and catch a baseball game before the season starts.

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Spring Training is a series of practice or exhibition games that are played from the end of February until right before Opening Day in preparation of the regular season. Every major league team is divided into either the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League. Teams in the Cactus League play in Arizona, while teams of the Grapefruit League play in Florida.

Spring Training dates almost as far back as the game of baseball itself. Though the exact origins of the tradition of Spring Training have been lost, one of the earliest recalled stories of Spring Training occurred in 1866 when the Chicago Whitestockings, known today as the Chicago Cubs, traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas to prepare for the regular season ahead of them.

Today, Spring Training provides an outlet for baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike to have access to their favorite players as well as a unique experience watching a major league level baseball game in a more intimate ballpark than major league stadiums can provide. The beautiful weather in both Arizona and Florida during late February and early to mid-March help to draw fans to both destinations for these exhibition games.

One of the best things about Spring Training is that you get a relaxed environment with pressureless games, yet players are still competitive in preparation for the upcoming season. Many players are competing for starting positions, and minor league players often get a shot of moving up to the big leagues if they prove their skills. You get to see players really shine in the Florida and Arizona sun, and it always makes for some good baseball.

Since I grew up loving baseball and attending as many major league baseball games as I could possibly get myself to, attending Spring Training was always a dream of mine. Last year, I made that dream a reality by visiting three spring training complexes in Florida with my dad and my sister. I was enamored by the calm atmosphere of spring training and how easy it was to get up close and personal with players, coaches, announcers and more.

Because of the great experience, I had my first time down watching Spring Training, I made sure to go back during my spring break this year. This year my dad and I went to about 10 Spring Training games in the span of 8 days. The number of players I had the chance to get close to and the quality of baseball I saw being played is irreplaceable. Each team brings their own character and city into their stadiums and complexes. Visiting every team's Spring Training camp is a unique experience.

Though I have yet to go to Arizona to see a Cactus League game and any of the Cactus League complexes out there, I am sure that the experience is just as amazing in Arizona, and I cannot wait to make Arizona my next Spring Training destination.

Spending my last two spring breaks down watching Spring Training in Florida were two of the best decisions I have ever made and I wouldn't trade them for the world. I truly cannot wait for my next trip. So take my advice: choose your Spring Training destination, soak up some sun with your loved ones and catch a baseball game before the season starts. With a concession item in one hand and a baseball in another, you can sit back, relax and enjoy quality baseball and personal player experiences.

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18 Weird Baseball Rules

America's Pastime's a Weird Sport OK
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1. You can spit anywhere, literally anywhere, except on the ball.

2. Baseball is played on grass and dirt, but if the ball get’s dirty they replace it with a new one. About 70 baseballs are used in a game. This is an unspoken rule, but proof that to become an umpire you have to be diagnosed with OCD.

3. Pitchers are aloud to use Rosin Bags, they help keep moisture off their hands and provide more traction and better grip on the ball. That being said, the umpire has the specific authority to instruct the pitcher to put the Rosin Bag in his pocket in the case of wet weather.


4. If the batter hits the catcher, it’s the catcher’s fault. Because, you know, he just head-butted that bat. Out of nowhere!


5. If the catcher doesn’t catch the ball the batter get’s a walk to first. I mean, it is their job... so.

6. There are Lots of weird pitcher rules. One is that they have to come to complete stand still before pitching to the batter.

7. Another strange pitcher rule. The pitcher can throw the ball to one of the bases if he thinks a runner is trying to steal a base. But he can't fake out the batter, he can't pretend to begin to throw the ball to first but then switch it up and throw to second last minute. Well, kind of, the actual phrasing, in the actual rulebook, it he cant switch it up after his body "has committed to the throw." When, exactly, the body commits to the throw is never really defined.


8. If the ball get’s stuck in the catcher’s mask the runners get to advance a base. Seriously though, they’ve broken tied games with this rule. This rule also applies to the umpire’s mask. The rule uses this wording: “lodges in the umpire’s or catcher’s mask or paraphernalia”. If you’re confused by the word paraphernalia here, you’re not alone.


9. Umpires can’t confer with players or spectators. They must get lonely sometimes, that's probably why they never smile.


10. A normal baseball game is 9 innings but if the score is tied at the end, they just have another inning, and another, and another, and another. Until the tie is broken. As a result the longest baseball game was in 1984. It was 8 hours and 25 minutes long and after 33 innings the Chicago White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers.

11. If a batter is walked while the bases are loaded then he get a RBI, “Run Batted In” because all the base runners advance a base, including the player on third. Even though the bat didn’t make any contact with the ball.

12. Players can only catch the ball with their hand, or their mitt. You can’t use your hat or your shirt or anything that’s not your bare hand or the mitt. If the ball is caught, or even touched intentionally, by a player with anything other than their bare hand or glove, on their hand, all runners, including the batter, get to advance three bases.

13. This ones a but complicated, so stay with me. If the batter has two strikes and a runner steals home, and the pitcher hits the runner in the strike zone the batter is out. The run does not count if there are two out. BUT if there are less than two outs, it does. Go figure.


14. If a fielder deflects a fair ball into the stands, it counts as a home run. Ok, making complete sense so far… wait there’s more. Unless the deflection somehow happens within 250 ft, or closer, to the home plate. Then all runners can only advance to bases. How they could ever find themselves in that position in the first place.... is up to your imagination.

15. There’s no rules about the size of the baseball field. Yes, the diamond part of the field has to comply with specific measurements. But the outfield part… not so much. When you think about it the size of the outfield really affects likelihood and amount of homers which can really affect the score. See here's a layered outline of some MLB fields.




16. If a baserunner passes another baserunner while running the bases, the one passed is automatically out. Even if there's a home run and they're all going to end up in the same place anyway.


17. The runner must touch all the bases in order. Ok, ok, this makes sense considering the fact that you have to be one the bag to be safe. But even if they hit a home run. Yeah, they're not doing a victory lap, they have to do that. Even if you fall mid-lap, like Cub's Kyle Schwarber here. You have to get up and continue but everyone will laugh at you, it's all part of the rules.


18. An infield fly is when a ball stays in the infield that isn't a bunt or line drive. If the umpire makes the judgment that an infielder, catcher, or pitcher could catch it with ordinary effort (whatever that means) the batter is out, even if no one caught it, even if they did catch it and then dropped it. The ball is still in play so any baserunners who began to advance can still continue and the normal rules apply to them.


Cover Image Credit: IPC

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As A Cardinals Fan, I Let Albert Pujols Go A LONG Time Ago

They say time heals all wounds, but is that the case with St. Louis Cardinals fans and Albert Pujols?

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It's hard to properly encapsulate what Albert Pujols meant to the city of St. Louis. He's without a doubt in my mind, statistically, one of the greatest Cardinals players of all time right up there with names like Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Stan Musial. His list of accolades in a Cardinals uniform is borderline unbelievable: Rookie of the year in 2001, 9x All-Star (8 consecutive from 2003-2010), 3x MVP, 6x Silver Slugger and 2x Gold Glove winner. Not to mention, he was an integral piece of two World Series victories in 2006 and 2011. The recipe was right there to continue his career as a Cardinal and retire an immortalized legend, but things somehow took a turn for the worst after the 2011 World Series.

Pujols was up for free agency in 2012, and even though the city was celebrating its 11th World Series title (second-most of all time) but the future of the team was in the back of everyone's mind. For context, Cardinals Manager and 3x World Series Champion Tony La Rusa announced his retirement in early November, just days after the victory parade.

Nearly a month later, Pujols announces that he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels for a record-breaking 10-year, $254 million contract. To say Cardinals fans were perplexed and shocked is an understatement. What could the Angels offer that St. Louis couldn't aside from more money and better weather, especially coming off of a World Series win? Regardless, the Cardinals never seized on the opportunity to sign Pujols to a contract extension, a mistake they didn't want to repeat with newly-acquired superstar Paul Goldschmidt.

I think what hurt most about Pujols leaving St. Louis as he was a Cardinals-bred player through and through. He was drafted in the 13th round out of the 1999 Amateur Draft by the Cardinals before making his MLB debut in 2001. That's been the Cardinal manifesto for nearly the entire Modern Era: draft or acquire young Minor League talent, develop them before implementing them into the Major League system. It felt downright hurtful that Pujols would opt for the bright lights of Los Angeles over a city that had every intention of supporting him

But with most things, time passed and Pujols eventually became a peripheral point for Cardinals fans like myself who would briefly re-enter their lives on the occasional article or ESPN highlight. So when it was revealed that the Angels will be playing the Cardinals in June at Busch for the first time since Pujols left, he was suddenly back on every Cardinals fan's radar again.

So Angels and Cardinals media outlets were abuzz, prompting this interview with Graham Bensinger during Spring Training and the way Pujols frames the negotiations were really peculiar to me. He said he didn't feel truly wanted by the franchise, but we'll never know the whole truth unless we were actually there. I do know one thing though, every Cardinals fan wanted Pujols to be a Cardinal for life and he would have gone down as one of the greats without a doubt in anyone's mind. He spent his best years in St. Louis though and helped bring us two World Series' and for that, I'll always be grateful.

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