BASEBALL IN FLORIDA – The Grapefruit League

Baseball in Florida – The 2022 Grapefruit League

BASEBALL IN FLORIDA - The Grapefruit League Erehwon Retreat

Erehwon Retreat is well placed for visitors to enjoy a quintessential American activity – Major League Baseball. Spring training in Florida began in earnest in 1913, when the Chicago Cubs trained in Tampa and the Cleveland Indians in Pensacola. One year later, two other teams moved to Florida for spring training, the real start of the Grapefruit League. Except for a couple of years during World War II, when travel restrictions prevented teams training south of the Potomac and Ohio rivers, Florida hosted more than half of the spring training teams through 2009.

Since 2010, major league teams have been equally divided between Arizona (Cactus League) and Florida (Grapefruit League) for spring training prior to regular season, with 15 teams in Florida and 15 teams in Arizona.The Toronto Blue Jays will be playing in Dunedin, the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater and the New York Yankees in Tampa itself. Every one of their home games is within half an hour’s drive of Erehwon and with the Baltimore Orioles doing their winter training in Sarasota and the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, each within an hour’s drive, there’s no shortage of quality baseball literally on our doorstep.

The Florida cities with the most years of spring training are St. Petersburg and Tampa (87 years), Bradenton and Clearwater (76 years), Lakeland (75 years), Sarasota (74 years), Fort Myers (64 years), West Palm Beach (63 years), Orlando (62 years), Vero Beach (58 years) and Winter Haven (55 years).

The Grapefruit League 2022

On February 26 the Grapefruit League begins  this year’s matches. Pitchers and catchers did not this week ending 2/20/22 due to an owners lockout.

  • Players would like to reach free agency faster than they currently do.
  • Players would like to be eligible for arbitration sooner than they currently are.
  • Players would like owners to stop cynically stashing them in the minors just long enough to delay starting the clock on both of the above eligibilities.
  • Players would like teams to stop receiving draft pick compensation for losing players in free agency—thus penalizing owners for signing big-money players, and depressing those players’ offers.
  • Players would like the owners who spend the least to stop receiving revenue-sharing money, essentially rewarding them for keeping their checkbooks closed.

There’s something special about watching baseball in Florida – endless sunshine, easy travel between baseball grounds and none of the stress of fighting to get into the packed grounds and dealing with the congested roads around stadiums in the Northern states. Instead it’s an easy-going experience of sport in the sun, with something for everybody. As the league timetable shows, there’s no end of excitement to be had!

Florida Vacation Rentals – the joy of year-round sport

For golfers in particular, Florida is a center of excellence renowned throughout the world, but baseball is also a winter joy for those hunting down the perfect Tampa homes for rent. Whether you’re a fan of a particular team, or just enjoy watching baseball for the sheer pleasure of sportsmen in action, Florida state is a wonderful opportunity for spectators. Not only that, but with Florida’s wonderful food shops and eateries there’s every opportunity to enjoy a picnic or tailgate meal that will delight every member of your vacation party – whether they are baseball fanatics or not.

Grapefruit League Map

View Grapefruit League 2022 training schedule

Florida Vacations – Start yours at Tampa International Airport

Florida vacations – start yours at Tampa International Airport

For those who think all airports are the same, think again! Tampa International Airport (TIA) has been voted one of the top five layover airports in the world by Huffington Post, because of its simple hub and spoke design, pay per use lounges, free Wi-Fi, 24-hour food options and friendly staff. That’s not the only reason that a Florida vacation that begins at TIA starts well – the airport is committed to providing a great experience for all travelers, today and into the future.

Florida Vacations - Start yours at Tampa International Airport Erehwon Retreat Florida Vacations - Start yours at Tampa International Airport Erehwon Retreat

Tampa International Airport – the future of vacation travel

TIA is located at 4100 George J Bean Pkwy, Tampa, FL 33607, USA, a vast airport site that gives the city many imaginative options when planning how to meet the needs of its millions of vacation travelers.

Back in 2011, the airport team began to update the master plan that manages the use of the 3,300-acre site. Three phases of expansion have been planned to accommodate a further 17 million passengers every year, bringing the total vacation rental and holiday trade to over 35 million annually.

What makes the TIA process fascinating is that the airport has chosen a ‘build as required’ approach, so that minimum disruption to current passengers is balanced by the needs of this ever-growing tourist center. So, for example, Tampa International Airport car rental is being made easier by creating a 2.6 million square foot purpose built rental center at the airport entrance, alongside new airport parking.

 

Florida Vacations - Start yours at Tampa International Airport Erehwon RetreatHistorical Tampa – from the air

In 1928 Tampa City built Drew Field, six miles west of downtown Tampa. Beginning in 1938 Drew was a military airfield, used as a training center for 120,000 combat air crews in the European and Pacific theaters. In addition, locally based antisubmarine patrols flew from the field until that duty was taken over by US Navy and Coastguard. Aircraft flying out of Tampa included the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Douglas C-47 Skytrain, North American AT-6 and North American B-25 Mitchell. Tampa reverted to commercial flights after the war ended becoming a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

 

Florida Vacations - Start yours at Tampa International Airport Erehwon Retreat

Traveling through Tampa International Airport

For those who are fascinated by air travel, there is an excellent master plan to the airport alterations that gives every detail that an airport buff could require. For less enthusiastic visitors, a simple Tampa International Airport map shows why this airport is beloved by the jet-lagged – the wheel shaped layout makes it so easy to find your way around, no matter how long your flight has taken.

Cigar City Brewing, as mentioned in our Top Ten post, Colombia Restaurant – the oldest continually owned restaurant in the hands of the same family – and Goody Goody, a ‘50s themed hamburger restaurant which is a local favorite, can also be found on the airport site.

TIA recently became the first airport in Florida to receive the StormReady designation, certifying that they have met an extensive list of criteria set by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) in ensuring the airport is prepared and ready to respond quickly to any severe weather heading our way.

Just six miles from downtown Tampa, this international airport has one other great benefit for long-haul passengers – it’s a hop and a skip from the city center and onward travel to vacation rentals like ErehwonRetreat. With five stars for cleanliness, and four stars for seating and queuing times on the Kytra site, Tampa is highly considered as a friendly, clean and swift to navigate airport, great marks, particularly given its international status.

 

Florida Vacations - Start yours at Tampa International Airport Erehwon RetreatFlorida vacations begin here

A record-breaking 60.7 million tourists visited Florida in the first half of 2017 – a 4.1% increase on travelers over the same six months the previous year. The breakdown is 53.2 million domestic visitors, alongside 2.2 million Canadians and 5.3 million other overseas vacation travelers.

Tampa International Airport parking just got easier too … alongside the new parking center, there are three rideshare companies now authorized to pick up fares: Uber, Lyft and Wingz. These three alternatives to the classic airport taxi will help reduce congestion around the airport and give visitors more choice on how to get to their vacation destination outside the airport. Whether you’re flying from within the USA, or traveling long-haul from the other side of the world, there can’t be a better way to start your Florida break than at Tampa International Airport.

Spring Training Turns 100

Spring Training Turns 100

Prohibition was taking hold, the Great War was in the offing and Spring training began with the first major-league exhibition on February 26, 1914 at Tampa’s Plant Field (on the grounds of what is now the University of Tampa) then again — after crossing Tampa Bay by steamship — the next day in St. Petersburg, at a park on Coffee Pot Bayou. The Cubs won both 3-2.  Pictured famed NY Yankee Lou Gehrig in 1937.

Lured to Tampa by Mayor D.B. McKay’s promise to cover the team’s expenses up to $100 per player, the Cubs began workouts at Plant Field. At the same time, St. Petersburg, and businessman, Al Lang, persuaded Branch Rickey, the fledgling manager of the cellar-dwelling St. Louis Browns, to bring his team to St. Petersburg. By the spring of 1914, the Sunshine State had the makings of a rudimentary league with the Cubs in Tampa, the St. Louis Browns in St. Petersburg, the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Augustine and Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics in Jacksonville.

The Florida cities with the most years of spring training are St. Petersburg and Tampa (87 years), Bradenton and Clearwater (76 years), Lakeland (75 years), Sarasota (74 years), Fort Myers (64 years), West Palm Beach (63 years), Orlando (62 years), Vero Beach (58 years) and Winter Haven (55 years).

Spring Training Turns 100 Erehwon Retreat