Minor. League. Camp.


IMG_0135Psssst. Wanna hear a secret? This is probably the greatest Major League secret of all time: during Spring Training you can go watch Baltimore Orioles minor league spring training games at the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, FL. You can get as close as a Little League game and watch the up-and-coming Orioles perfect their skills. And you don’t even need a ticket. It’s the coolest thing EVER!

I was a little nervous at first. There wasn’t anything on the Orioles’ website or other Spring Training websites about the details of  minor league camp. After all, for at least the IMG_0161last couple years, there has been information on spring training for the O’s minor league players on various websites. So I wondered why nothing was published this year. Nonetheless, we approached tentatively, just as players began leaving the facility’s building. Not wishing to disturb them, we slowed our pace. After the first group of players passed us, we walked up to the stands, not much larger than your typical local baseball field’s seating area, and took our places. Soon we began seeing familiar names and faces: Henry Urrutia, Adrian Marin, Drew Dosch, and Glynn Davis – all Bowie Baysox players.

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Zach and Caleb after Zach’s 1-inning outing.

But then I noticed two more familiar players: Caleb Joseph and Zach Britton. Britton was scheduled to get some work in at minor league camp the day we went. We got to see Zach Britton in action, close-up, at minor league camp! This was one of the best spring training experiences I’ve ever had! (Oh, by the way, Zach threw 12 pitches and struck out the side.)

We got to see our favorite minor leaguers at a game that felt like it was just for us. There were only a few other fans, a bunch of minor leaguers, and us. Of course, there were also no announcements, no scoreboard, and no other distractions. Just simply baseball – and totally awesome!

~ baseballrebecca

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Spring Training: Now and Then


MLB has been posting great images of Spring Training this week – the images below let us compare Spring Training now to Spring Training then.

Happy weekend!

~ baseballrebecca

Is It Spring Training Yet?


baseballandsnow_crop_340x234With snow in the forecast this weekend for some places on the East Coast, thoughts naturally turn to Spring Training. Fortunately, it’s that time of year when MLB teams start putting their Spring Training tickets on sale. Individual tickets to Phillies spring games went on sale yesterday, while tickets for the Twins, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies, and Marlins go on sale tomorrow. White Sox and Dodgers spring tickets go on sale Monday.

Next week, Spring Training tickets for the Giants go on sale on Thursday; Rays and Yankees on Friday; and Tigers, Nationals, and Mets on Saturday. The last to go on sale are for the Pirates and Orioles, which are not available until January 21. All other teams have already put their individual Spring Training game tickets on sale.

As for regular season individual game tickets, most teams have not announced when they’ll go on sale. Only Mariners tickets are on sale now. Tickets for the Braves go on sale on February 11, and the Cubs’ website says theirs will go on sale in late February or early March.

Now I just have to figure out when I’m going!

Stay warm!

~ baseballrebecca

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!


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Image courtesy of the Negro Southern League Museum.
Today is Jackie Robinson Day. Throughout major and minor league baseball, players will be wearing uniform no. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson’s contributions to baseball and the nation. In Vero Beach, FL, Minor League Baseball and the Florida State League will hold its third annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Dodgertown. The Brevard County Manatees will play the Lucie Mets.

On Monday, the new Ken Burns’ documentary, “Jackie Robinson,” premiered on PBS. Also, MLB announced on Monday that it will sponsor 30 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars (4-year funding for each, one for every MLB team) and it will contribute $1 million to the Jackie Robinson Museum, to be opened some day in New York.

Here are just a few more Robinson-related tributes planned for Friday:

  • The baseball team at UCLA, where Robinson went to college, will wear special edition Robinson-era “throwback jerseys” as well as cleats provided by Adidas.
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    Image courtesy of Adidas.
    Adidas will provide their special edition baseball cleats the UCLA baseball team as well as the MLB players who represent Adidas. The shoes feature newspaper-style headlines on the uppers and Jackie Robinson’s #42 embroidered on the side.
  • Beginning today, Jackie Robinson’s contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers will be on display at the New York Historical Society before moving on to other cities.
  • Several MLB and MiLB will be celebrating Jackie Robinson Day with special promotions and activities. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, will be giving away a replica Jackie Robinson jersey. The AA Lehigh Valley IronPigs will have a life-size, hand-carved wood statue of Robinson at their game as well as other promotions.
  • The Negro Southern League Museum (NSLM) and the Birmingham Barons in Birmingham, Alabama, will celebrate Jackie Robinson day with a marching band and other festivities at the NSLM followed by a Barons game at Regions Field, which is adjacent to the museum.
  • The City of Philadelphia will formally honor Jackie Robinson, having recently passed a resolution to celebrate April 15, 2016, “as a day honoring the lifetime achievements and lasting influence of Jackie Robinson and apologizing for the racism he faced as a player while visiting Philadelphia.”
  • Also in Philly, the Business Association of West Parkside will hold its annual Jackie Robinson Day festivities, which include a ceremony at the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park (at Belmont and Parkside avenues). The entire event will be broadcast live on Philadelphia’s WURD (900 AM). At the event, there will be a rededication of the Jackie Robinson mural.
  • The National Baseball Hall of Fame will offer a guided tour of their “Pride and Passion” exhibit and a screening of the movie “42.”
  • And, last but not least, it appears that Huston-Tollotson University in Decatur, GA, has issued a resolution honoring Jackie Robinson.

~ baseballrebecca

Spring Training in Louisiana


Spring Training is almost here! In anticipation, I’ve included a link to the song, “Spring Training in New Orleans,” by The Baseball Project:

 

The cool thing about The Baseball Project is that they really know their baseball history! So, when did Spring Training take place in New Orleans? According to the Baseball Almanac, several MLB teams held Spring Training in towns across Louisiana between 1902 and 1939, including the St. Louis Browns, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the New York Yankees:

Years Team City
1902-03 Cleveland New Orleans, Louisiana
1903 St. Louis Browns Baton Rouge, Louisiana
1903-04 Detroit Shreveport, Louisiana
1905 Philadelphia Athletics Shreveport, Louisiana
1905-06 Chicago White Sox New Orleans, Louisiana
1907 Chicago Cubs New Orleans, Louisiana
1908 St. Louis Browns Shreveport, Louisiana
1908-09 Philadelphia Athletics New Orleans, Louisiana
1910-11 Cleveland Alexandria, Louisiana
1911-12 Detroit Monroe, Louisiana
1911-12 Chicago Cubs New Orleans, Louisiana
1914-15 Cincinnati Reds Alexandria, Louisiana
1916-17 Cincinnati Reds Shreveport, Louisiana
1916-20 Cleveland New Orleans, Louisiana
1918 St. Louis Browns Shreveport, Louisiana
1920-21 Philadelphia Athletics Lake Charles, Louisiana
1921 Brooklyn Dodgers New Orleans, Louisiana
1921 Yankees Shreveport, Louisiana
1922-24 Yankees New Orleans, Louisiana
1925-27 Boston New Orleans, Louisiana
1925-28 Chicago White Sox Shreveport, Louisiana
1928-39 Cleveland New Orleans, Louisiana
1938-39 New York Giants Baton Rouge, Louisiana
1938-39 Philadelphia Athletics Lake Charles, Louisiana

Of course, Louisiana isn’t the only state that hosted Spring Training prior to today’s Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. Cities from California to Massachusetts have hosted Spring Training, as well as Bermuda, Cuba, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. We’ll look at a few more over the next few weeks as we anxiously await the 2016 season.

~ baseballrebecca