Steinbrenner Field (Tampa, FL)
March 3rd, 2016
Like many MLB fans, seeing your favorite team and player up close and personal is one of the most exciting things you can do as a fan. I’ve been a huge fan of the Yankees and had the opportunity to watch them win the World Series in 2009 against the Phillies.
One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was to watch them play in Spring Training. Yes, a trip from New York to Tampa isn’t a difficult trip by any means. It was more along the lines of making an effort to actually book the tickets and just GO. It wasn’t until last year that I’ve made a point to deliver through on what I’ve wanted to do with my life. Just do it. Go.
And that’s exactly what I did. With the help of my cousin who is a Braves fan, we decided to plan a few days in the Orlando/Tampa region to watch the Yankees and Braves play in their respective stadiums.
We couldn’t have been more happy with our experience.
Thing with meeting your favorite players during Spring Training is the fact that you ultimately see the passion and drive for why they originally wanted to play in the first place. Spring Training is the ultimate “appetizer” sampling of up and coming stars. We were able to watch on the practice field next to the stadium old and new players simultaneously practice at the same time. There were smiles not just from the weather but because the anticipation of a new season of fresh and potential roster spots were on the line and the drive to be a part of the team was evident in all participating.
The Yankees ended up losing against the Phillies, I couldn’t have been more happy with the day’s outcome, managing to get El Duque, Matsui, Betances, CC Sabathia and Didi’s autograph to add to my baseball collection. The loss didn’t matter at all, to say the least. 🙂
Tip: Head to the field earlier than the game. There is the practice field next to the stadium where you can actually watch them practice. This isn’t like a regular season game where players have to report back earlier. The game started at 1:05 and there were several players still practicing at 12:30. The stadium is a typical spring training stadium where bands are playing and after the game, the upstairs bar offers discounted beer specials. Who can ask for more?
Overall, we had a great time. Obviously , I’m partial to the Yankees so the entire experience greatly differs for me than for others; however, this experience is exactly what Spring Training is all about- the laid back atmosphere and the ability for up-and-comers to showcase their talent on the field.
Overall, the stadium was definitely not as “luxury” one might think it would be. The parking was across the street and the scoreboard was typical of old-school minor league stadiums. For Spring Training, this is exactly what it should be; however, my rating is entirely based on MLB stadiums and for that I’ll have to give it a B simply because many of the attractions and stores closed extremely close to the end of the game.