Story by Connor Curts, staff writer
Four and a half months after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, Major League Baseball is back in action. Every year the MLB season begins with spring training starting in late February, and lasting until the start of the regular season, which is April 5 and 6. There are two leagues that divide the MLB’s 30 teams during spring training, the Grapefruit League, which plays in Florida, and the Cactus League, which plays in Arizona.
Games began on March 3, and each team played around 16 of them, primarily in the afternoon, whereas the regular season is mostly played during the evening. Each game gives the teams a chance to prepare their already proven players for the season, while allowing them to evaluate their younger talent.
Based off this short amount of time, the teams determine whether or not a prospect is ready to take the next step, or if they need to remain in the minor leagues. It is common for some prospects to spend up to six years playing for a minor league affiliate of their MLB organization. Often times, players never get the chance to join an MLB roster, and end up spending their entire careers in the “farm system.” The farm system is the web of minor league teams where the major league teams can send players to develop.
Because spring training takes place during the time that is common for schools to have spring break, many families attend games while on vacation.
“I’ve gotten the chance to go to many games while on break in Florida. It’s cheap but also enjoyable, and you get to unwind and watch some baseball,” said Harold Livengood, 10.
Spring training brings an excellent boost in tourism to both Florida and Arizona every year, and is likely to do so for many years down the road. It signifies the beginning of the season for America’s favorite pastime.