The year-round temperate climate of the Tampa Bay area gives major league baseball teams a chance to practice in beautiful surroundings. This relaxed springtime atmosphere in smaller stadiums really enhances the experience for the fans!
As part of the Grapefruit League circuit, three teams host their baseball spring training in the Tampa Bay area: the New York Yankees (Tampa), Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater), and Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin). The players and teams are on display from mid-February, when workouts begin, until early April when they dispatch to their home cities for the regular season.
New York Yankees, Tampa FL
George M. Steinbrenner Field is the home for the Yankees’ Spring Training. The grandstand has two levels and comprises most of the 12,200 seats in the stadium, while there are 12 luxury suites relatively far away from the action. There are no bleacher seats or general-admission seating at all in Steinbrenner Field, as all the seats are reserved armchair seating. Outside the ballpark is a memorial to the 16 Yankees who have had their numbers retired. It’s a great place to watch the Yankees, but don’t expect an autograph. The Yankees train on a two-diamond field next to the ballpark and then enter the ballpark without stopping to greet the fans.
Philadelphia Phillies, Clearwater FL
The Phillies, work out at Spectrum Field in Clearwater. It offers 7,300 fixed seats and 1,500 more in full sun in a grass berm area. A 360-degree open concourse, group picnic area, party suites, a kids play area, upper deck club seating, and a large team store round out the offerings. And since it’s the Phillies you can get the classic cheesesteak at the food court behind home plate. Seating tip: The Phillies dugout is on the third base side. Buy tickets in sections 112-120 to sit on the home side of the stadium. Want an autograph? Phillies players sign before the game for those gathered in section 118-120.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have opened a spring training camp in Dunedin since the team’s inception in 1977. The Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (formerly Dunedin Stadium), has been ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top five places to watch a Spring Training game. Expect a throwback to a bygone era–it has the smallest capactity of any stadium hosting Spring Training games (5,509 bleacher-style seats), no video board and “Chad the Beer Guy” gets fans to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” from the top of the dugout during the 7th inning stretch. Seating tip: To sit on the Jays’ side of the stadium, buy tickets in sections 100-106 or 200-206. If you prefer to sit in the shade, a roof provides cover over the top six rows (11-16) of seats in the upper grandstand, except for the three sections (205-207) in front of the press box. The afternoon sun is behind the first base grandstand, enabling all covered rows (11 & up) to receive shade in sections 200-204.
Other Spring Training Locations
Eight other major league teams play their spring games within a two-hour drive: Atlanta Braves (Lake Buena Vista), Boston Red Sox (Fort Myers), Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota), Detroit Tigers (Lakeland), Houston Astros (Kissimmee), Minnesota Twins (Fort Myers), Tampa Bay Rays (Port Charlotte), and Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton).
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