After attending my first Spring Training Game with my peers recently, it’s a must for me to head back again and I encourage Toronto Blue Jays fans to go. With the great fan and player interaction, it’s a unique atmosphere that one needs to see for themselves.
For a Toronto Blue Jays/baseball fan like me, I was always told that if you’re dedicated to the sport, you should make the effort to go to Florida or Arizona for Spring Training. I’ve been told it is a unique experience compared to a regular season game (let alone, a postseason game).
Thankfully for me, that opportunity came thanks to a class trip with my post grad class. As part of a week-long assignment from Centennial College, along with a group of 29 others, we bused it down to Florida to gain our Spring Training experience.
I was fortunate to go to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin to watch the Blue Jays take on Team Canada. Immediately once we arrived, we knew we were in a unique environment than what we’re used to back home in Toronto. Personally for myself, I knew there was a positive energy around the ball park.
For fans, it’s a tradition they love to share with their families and people they meet in Florida. With all interviews, everybody was willing to share why they go to Spring Training.
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Fellow Tip of the Tower writer David Morassutti experienced Spring Training in Lakeland, Florida, home of the Detroit Tigers, where his questions were answered as to why one should go to a Spring Training game.
“Well it was my first one. I’ve never been to a Spring Training game before. I wanted to see what was so different, why so many people would go for as long as they did.” said Morassutti about his experience.
“To get a real good understanding of why they do it, Spring Training is so different from MLB you can go to. It’s very relaxed, very personable, so close to the players.
“The fans can be a bit more relaxed, talk with each other and not even about the game but about baseball and what they’re doing down there. It’s totally different than anything else I’ve ever experienced.”
Fellow classmate Tyler Partridge, a life long baseball fan, had a bit of relief when he went to Bradenton, Florida, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, to get his first Spring Training experience.
“Obviously, it’s a dream come true, huge baseball fan. It’s sort of the start of the season, but it’s the start of my life again after the long winter.” said Partridge about fulfilling a bucket list item.
“The first sign of Spring is when my life starts up after winter. It was a great experience.
“You get to be closer to the players than you normally would. A big league stadium. You get all the sights and sounds of a baseball game that you might not get at a major league stadium.”
For the three of us, it was a surreal moment to be at all of these different stadiums. For our instructor, Malcolm Kelly, it was vital not only as students, but as fans to understand what the atmosphere really feels like.
“You need to be closer to the fans, the people who you’re going to be representing. As [journalists], we forget that our job is to be the mouthpiece, the ears, to ask the questions that fans don’t have access too. If you can go and see from a live perspective that you see on TV, that’s very important.” said Kelly at Centennial College.
Overall, after a successful week and each of us attending fun games, we all highly recommend fans to go. Partridge emphasized the importance of attending a Spring Training Game:
“Just go. It’s an amazing experience. Any baseball fan is an absolute must. You can go to any major league baseball stadium and it can be a hell of an experience. To be able to go to where the season starts and have that experience with your team or with another team from the very get go is a special feeling.”