Let's play ball! Spring training in Tampa Bay
Dust off your baseball cap and grab the sunscreen. It’s time for spring training baseball in Tampa Bay! Everyone flocks to Florida for our amazing weather and baseball teams are no different. Spring training has taken place in Florida for more than 100 years. In fact, 15 Major League teams will put down roots in Florida this spring to warm up for their regular season. More than 1.5 million fans attend spring training games every year.
Six teams will practice in the Tampa Bay area until March 28 including the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Due to Hurricane Ian, and damage to their regular spring training facility in Port Charlotte, the hometown Tampa Bay Rays will split their time between Tropicana Field and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.
Spring training is roughly two weeks of practices before a month of exhibition games. The spring training rosters open with 70 to 80 players but will be whittled down to 26 for Opening Day. The rest of the players will be assigned to minor-league teams.
Here are some of fun facts you need to know about spring training baseball in Tampa Bay. Most of the games are inexpensive (check each team’s Web site for details) and most players will give autographs (but make sure to bring your own pen and memorabilia.) So it’s a great low-cost family activity.
New York Yankees
At George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa
- The Yankees have 27 World Series titles, 16 more than any other MLB franchise.
- The Yankees play at a beautiful 31-acre complex in Tampa, across from Raymond James Stadium. It’s their 23rd year at the Tampa stadium.
- George M. Steinbrenner Field has the same dimensions as Yankee Stadium, down to the inch.
Tampa Ray Rays
At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney (through March 1) and at Tropicana Field, St. Pete
- Hometown team will play 13 home games at Tropicana Field during spring training.
- The Rays previously played six games at the Disney facility, winning all games.
At BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater
- Phillies are 11-time winners of the National League East title.
- The Phillies have been coming to the city every spring since 1948.
- Stadium has 7,300 fixed seats, plus seating for more than 1,500 on the grass berm in the outfield.
At LECOM Park in Bradenton
- The Pirates will play in their 51st season at LECOM Park, which was built in 1923.
- The stadium is the oldest of spring training facilities in Florida.
Toronto Blue Jay
At TD Ballpark in Dunedin
- The Blue Jays have made Dunedin home in the spring since 1977.
- In honor of both countries, the Canadian and American national anthems are sung before the game.
- There a Craft Beer Dugout inside the third-base concourse and Toronto-based Labatt Blue beer is also served at the stadium.
At Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland
- Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Tigers since it opened in 1966, is the second-oldest ballpark in the Grapefruit League.
- No team has called one city its spring training home as long as the Tigers, who have been playing there since 1934 with the exception of a few years in Evansville, Ind., during World War II.