With a giant winter storm settling in over the Plains and Midwest, heading to eastward and dropping not inches but feet of snow on this country, is there anyone who still wonders why Spring Training is held in places like Arizona and Florida?
Arizona’s weather around the training camps will see highs in the 60’s and 70’s going into the weekend, and Florida is sitting in the 80’s for the next few days. And a good portion of the country looks like this picture.
I guess that’s what makes Spring Training attractive for baseball fans. It means that while outside, your yard may look like Santa’s Workshop, the great summer game of baseball is being played on green grass with open skies on clear sunny, warm days. Players may even work up a sweat sprinting in the 70-something degree weather down the first base line. Summer has, in a sense, already started when Spring Training begins.
I’ll never understand why football, an outdoor sport, is played over the winter. People are already talking about back-up plans for next year’s Superbowl, scheduled to be held at the Giants/Jets’ open-air stadium in New Jersey… in February. For some reason, when I was growing up, I thought they always scheduled the Superbowl in places that never or rarely snowed (like Florida, Texas, or California). I look back now on how many games were played in the snow and near-blizzards, and it just proves how much of a baseball fan I am.
Basketball makes sense to be a winter sport; all professional NBA teams play inside. Hockey, a winter sport, is played inside. Soccer is summer sport, so they play outside. Golf is summer sport, thus outside; and it’s also often equated with retirees, who live (stereotypically) in Florida and Arizona and can play all year round.
Which brings us full circle back to the sunny states where the Spring Training camps are currently underway. My mom always said summer was her favorite season when she was growing up (probably because she has a summer birthday and that there was no school). I always liked Spring and Fall (the changing of the seasons, the colors of the trees). So I guess if you put both of those together, you get baseball season. You know, my two favorite parts of baseball season are the early games where everyone is finding their groove (Spring) and the later games where the race for postseason is heated and tense and every game matters (Fall).
But if baseball is a summer sport that starts in spring and ends in fall, that means that because of baseball we fans have an extended summer. This forces my title today: “Baseball: where it’s always summer.” That should be great marketing for kids and grown-ups alike. I expect residuals, MLB.
So while the most of the country is blanketed by feet of snow today, our Yankees will be doing their workouts and preparations, slaving under the hot sun, working their way into a team that can attempt #28 this October.