Around about now when folks are getting tired of the cold weather and the Super Bowl has come and gone, people turn their thoughts to baseball. Without Spring Training, we’d have little to hope for until Opening Day. Fortunately, today is the day that pitchers and catchers begin to report to their teams’ spring training sites. In just a few short weeks, the official spring training games will begin.
As many of us make plans to head south to Florida and Arizona, we give little thought to where else teams may have had spring training. Fortunately, the Baseball Almanac provides a comprehensive list of spring training sites for all baseball teams from 1901 to the present. Major League Baseball teams have conducted spring training not only in the warmer states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, California, and, of course, Florida and Arizona, but also in Mexico, Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In addition, spring training has been held in a few unexpected places, including Little Rock, Arkansas, and College Park, Maryland.
Do you live in Indiana and wish spring training was held there? Well, it was during World War II (1943-1945) (and a few earlier years). In fact, MLB worked out a plan with the federal government that during the war spring training would be held only east of the Mississippi River and north of the Potomac and Ohio Rivers. Thus, teams trained closer to their home towns in places such as Bloomington, Indiana, and Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Over the next few days, we’ll explore a few more “nontraditional” locations for Spring Training. Happy Spring!