Mar 14, 2013; Clearwater Beach, FL, USA; A detail of a major league baseball at Clearwater Beach. Spring Training for MLB is held throughout the Florida from early February to late March annually. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Go See The Braves' Spring Training!

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Fans, the start of the Grapefruit League and Spring Training for the Atlanta Braves is just a mere two months away! That means that for die-hard fans who’ve been following baseball news, and chatting up baseball around the winter hot stove, spring is in the air even in the dead of winter!  Those two months will pass faster than you can say Super Bowl, and we’ll get a taste of real baseball once again.  I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait!

It’s been a few  years since I traveled down to Florida to take in the Braves’ spring sessions.  I used to go quite frequently until life, work, kids, etc., became a higher priority.  If you have never been to Florida during Spring Training to take in some Braves’ games, watch the team work out, and just enjoy that special feeling only the game of baseball can give, then you still have time to plan some early 2014 vacation time.

This post won’t be a primer for how to plan your trip from A to Z, because there are plenty of sites dedicated to that sort of thing.  What I will do is give you some of the basic information, point you to some links you should be aware of, and perhaps give a few tips to make such a trip a touch easier.

 

Schedule & Location

overhead-championsBefore you plan your trip, you should know when the Braves will play, and note that the first game for the Atlanta Braves during spring training will be on February 26, 2014, at 1:05 PM EST, and the Braves will be playing the Detroit Tigers.  For a complete spring training schedule, check out our full schedule, and take special note of the games the Braves will play at HOME.

Home for the Atlanta Braves during spring training is Champion Stadium – ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, in Kissimmee, Florida.  The exact address is 700 S. Victory Way, Kissimmee, FL 34747, and you can get more information or ask questions by calling 1-407-939-GAME.    You can of course travel to one or more of the 15 different locations in Florida to take in other games, but you may want to try and plan your trip (depending on budget and time) to correspond to when the Braves play at home.  For example, as the spring training begins for the Braves, you’ll immediately see the following block:

02/26 1:05 p.m. vs. TIGERS @ HOME
02/27 1:05 p.m. vs. Tigers in Lakeland
02/28 6:05 p.m. vs. ASTROS @ HOME

That small 3 day block would allow you to watch the Braves play the Tigers at Champion Stadium on the 26th, and then again on the 28th against the Astros.  You could take the 27th for other activities with kids, etc.

 

Directions

Basic directions are below if you’re driving, and you should be aware that if you plan to fly, Orlando’s airport is probably the airport of choice to fly in to.

  • From Interstate 95, U.S. Highway 1 or southbound on the Florida Turnpike: take 1-4 West to Walt Disney World®Resort. Take exit 65, following signs for Wide World of Sports
  • From southbound Interstate 75: take the Florida Turnpike South to I-4 West to Walt Disney World® Resort. Take exit 65, following signs for Wide World of Sports
  • From northbound on the Florida Turnpike: Take the Osceola Parkway, following signs to the Wide World of Sports
  • From the Daytona area: Take I-4 West to Walt Disney World® Resort. Take Exit 65, following signs for Wide World of Sports
  • From the Tampa area: Take I-4 East to Walt Disney World® Resort. Take Exit 65, following signs for Wide World of Sports

 

Prices & Money Stuff

stadium_map_600x449Most people believe that a trip down for Spring Training is pricey, and it certainly can be.  With a little creative budgeting and planning however, a trip to take in a few games is not nearly as high-priced as rumors for the uninitiated would suggest.  Certainly, if you stay in the most pricey hotels, make side trips to other attractions, eat at the best resturants, etc., it can blow your wallet and your mind.  However, if you travel by car, get your reservations well ahead of time for say, a Motel 6 or other more affordable lodging, take as much food with you as you can store, and keep your trip limited to baseball, it’s certainly affordable.

The first few years I went to spring training (and again, it’s been a few years since I took a trip, so prices are certainly higher now), we drove by car, stayed at a locally owned, low-priced motel w/ accompanying kitchen, and took ALL our food in coolers and backpacks.  All of our expenses were tickets to the game (parking there is free), and just fuel for our vehicle.

As for ticket prices, you’ll hear some people say they are expensive, but that’s just not true.  Like any ballpark, there is a range, but tickets are highly affordable.  Note also that there are a number of available mini-plans to help fans plan games, and save!

Ticket Prices* Prior to January 1, 2014 – BUY EARLY AND SAVE!

Pennant Berm General Admission $12-$17
3rd Base Lawn General Admission $17-$22
Bleacher Level Reserved $24-$35
Upper Level Reserved $24-$35
Lower Level Reserved $39-$52

 

Ticket Prices* After January 1, 2014

Pennant Berm General Admission $12-$17
3rd Base Lawn General Admission $19-$24
Bleacher Level Reserved $27-$39
Upper Level Reserved $27-$39
Lower Level Reserved $39-$52

*Individual game tickets vary by game day and opponent.
*A $5 Walk-Up fee will apply to Day-Of-Game purchases.

 

Useful Links and Guide

That’s about it.  As I said, this article was not intended to be an end-all, be-all guide to help you plan your trip this spring.  I hope though that I’ve given you some useful information, and useful tips to make such a trip easier.  I’m sorry to say that again I won’t be able to go this spring, but I hope you will!  Just keep it to yourself so a large amount of black jealousy doesn’t rear it’s ugly head!  Just kidding.  Here’s a few useful links to help you in your quest to enjoy the rites of spring…

MLB & Braves – Spring Training Information (Probably the best overall guide)

Florida Grapefruit League (Another good guide)

Spring Training Florida Official Baseball Guide (In .pdf format)

 

 

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