Spring training 2018 is in full swing, so is the business of spring training. At one time it was mostly a Florida experience, commonly called the Grapefruit League. It began when the Chicago Cubs moved their training from New Orleans to Tampa in 1913. According to the Tampa Bay Rays, more spring training games have been played in St. Petersburg than any other city.
Jump ahead to 2018…
Half the major league teams have been lured to the Cactus League in Arizona, mostly the Phoenix area. Suburbs such as Glendale and Peoria have gone all-out to lure teams to “The Valley of the Sun,” in hopes that “snow birds” from the Midwest and East Coast will follow their favorite teams there.
Sharing facilities has become more common. After training in Florida for decades, the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers now share an elaborate state-of-the-art complex in Glendale (owned by the City of Glendale) called Camelback Ranch. It has fully equipped training, exercise, weight-room facilities for each team, in addition to 16 diamonds. And that’s the business of spring training.
The Official Site of the City of St. Petersburg, Florida
Tampa Bay Rays
The business of spring baseball
TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US TO SPRING TRAINING OF PAST YEARS IN ARIZONA & FLORIDA. Do spring training records matter? In other words, how predictable are they to the regular season? Let’s take a look. Here are the 2017 playoff teams with their final Cactus and Grapefruit League winning percentages (not all teams play the same number of games because some end in ties):
AL 2017 PLAYOFF TEAMS (Spring winning %)
AL East – Boston (.563)
AL Central – Cleveland (.515)
AL West – HOUSTON (.500)
AL Wildcard – New York (.727)
AL Wildcard – Minnesota (.552)
The Houston Astros won it all in 2017. Many expected them to be good, but at 15-15 the Astros did not go gang-busters in spring training.
The New York Yankees had the best spring winning percentage in the major leagues last spring. They made the playoffs as a wildcard team, and advanced to the American League Championship Series.
NL 2017 PLAYOFF TEAMS (Spring winning %)
NL East – Washington (.433)
NL Central – Chicago (.419)
NL West – Los Angeles (.514)
NL Wildcard – San Francisco (.543)
NL Wildcard – New York (.469)
None of the National League playoff teams had great springs. Only the Dodgers and Giants were over .500. Conspicuous by their absence in the 2017 playoffs were the St. Louis Cardinals, despite having the best spring record in the National League, and second best in the MLB.
2017 MLB season
2017 spring training results