Spring Training In Arizona and Florida Are Totally Different Ballgames

Cactus League vs. Grapefruit LeagueWith the 2019 version of MLB spring training now very much in full swing, it is interesting to consider the dramatic differences between the geographical logistics of Arizona’s Cactus League, as compared with Florida’s Grapefruit League. While a map of baseball’s western spring hotspot is quite concise (pictured below), the sport’s southeastern setup is considerably more spread-out (pictured later in the article).

All 16 clubs that train in The Grand Canyon State do so within the confines of the Phoenix metro region.  This means that every one of the valley’s 10 stadiums is found amid a 46-mile stretch of land, with five parks sitting in the western part of the region and five parks resting east of the downtown center.

Four of the five west valley facilities are shared, with just one of the five east spots possessing the same distinction.

Cactus League vs. Grapefruit League

While all of Cactus League spring training is easily reachable via a short car ride, the Grapefruit League scene in The Sunshine State is the polar opposite.  In fact, a whopping 218 miles separates the furthest apart spring training camps, located in Dunedin and West Palm Beach respectively.

The 15 FLA teams are situated amongst four geographical regions.

Cactus League vs. Grapefruit League

Tampa Bay & South

Spans a 56-mile stretch that includes the cities of Dunedin (Jays), Clearwater (Phillies), Tampa (Yankees), Bradenton (Pirates) and Sarasota (Orioles).

Southeast Florida

Encompasses a 48-mile plot of land that features Port St. Lucie (Mets), Jupiter (Cardinals & Marlins) and West Palm Beach (Astros & Nationals).

Southwest Florida

Traverses a 42-mile territory from Port Charlotte to the north (Rays) south to the municipality of Fort Myers (Red Sox & Twins in separate complexes).

At the very end of 2019 spring training and then on a permanent basis beginning in 2020, the Braves will hold camp in the city of North Port, 11 miles from Port Charlotte.

Central Florida

Making up a 37-mile trek down Interstate-4, the Braves are playing their final season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Walt Disney World Resort), with Tigers spring training taking place in the city of Lakeland. An association that dates back to 1934.

Photos credit: MLB.com