Every spring, professional baseball teams invade small towns in Florida and Arizona to practice and play exhibition games prior to the start of the regular Major League Baseball season. We call this annual migration of baseball teams “spring training.”

Spring training is almost as old as baseball itself. Some believe the first spring training took place in 1870, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Chicago White Stockings hosted spring camps in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Other historians believe the Washington Capitals started spring training in 1888, when they held a spring camp in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, spring training is a well-established ritual that fans across the nation look forward to each year.

All Major League Baseball teams hold training in either Florida or Arizona in the spring. The Arizona teams play in the Cactus League, while Florida teams play in the Grapefruit League.

Spring training usually lasts about two months, starting in mid-February and lasting until just before opening day of the regular season, which is traditionally the first week of April. Teams normally wear their practice uniforms during spring training, saving their regular uniforms for the real season.

The purpose of spring training is to allow new players to try out for spots on the team, while existing team members practice in order to get back in top shape for the coming season. In fact, spring training camps got started as true training camps designed to get players into shape.

Decades ago, most baseball players could not live all year on their baseball salaries, so they had to work other jobs that didn’t always keep them in shape.

Pitchers and catchers usually show up for spring training a week or more before other players because pitchers need a longer training period to get their throwing arms in shape.

Spring training gives managers a chance to evaluate current players against up-and-coming younger players. The training sessions and exhibition games also give teammates a chance to get to know each other better, building team unity.

Baseball fans around the country look forward to spring training each year. Many fans travel to Arizona or Florida each spring to watch their favorite teams play and enjoy the warm weather.

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    • We bet you can do anything you put your mind to, Adrian! Keep up the great work and keep practicing, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hi Grant! We are sorry you did not enjoy this WONDER about Spring Training. We like baseball too and there are many other WONDERS about baseball you can explore on WONDERopolis. We hope you will check out some of these baseball WONDERS! Enjoy! :)

    • Hi, Kylee! Practice is always important and spring training is a WONDERful practice opportunity! We hope you’re having a WONDERful day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is spring training?
  • When did spring training start?
  • Where do baseball teams train in the spring?

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Try It Out

Ready to knock it out of the park? Be sure to take a swing at the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Does your favorite Major League Baseball team play in the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League? Go online to find out more about your favorite team’s spring training routine and schedule! So how did your favorite team do this year in spring training? Compare your favorite team’s spring training record with their most recent regular season record. Was their spring training performance a good indicator of how they performed during the season? Why or why not?
  • Of course, not all of our Wonder Friends are sports fans. If you aren’t into pitching and hitting, you can still have a blast playing Spelling Bee Baseball. Can you beat a friend or family member in a friendly spelling competition?
  • Have you ever experienced a training period for a sport or a competition of some sort? We all need preparation for the challenges we meet in life. Some might even call your years in school as a sort of “spring training” for the rest of your life. Write a short story about how you feel school has prepared you so far for the challenges you’ll likely face in life. What lessons have you learned in school that you believe will serve you well in your future? Give several examples. Also feel free to point out what additional training you feel you need to be successful in the future. Have fun and be sure to share your story with a friend or family member!

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If it’s too cold to get outside, you can still explore the sport of baseball through art, movement and sound with the All Around the Baseball Field lesson from ArtsEdge.


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