This past week, I got the chance to have an experience of a lifetime. I flew down to Florida to catch some Cardinals spring training. Here are a few tips if you decide to come on down to the Sunshine State…
First, I would like to start off with the baseball experience of it. We got down to the practice fields early in the morning to catch some batting and fielding. This was a great opportunity to see what the players do every day before a game. After each practice before a game, a few players or coaches typically sign autographs at field number one. Sometimes, even some of the TV and radio announcers come down there. The players are very interactive with the fans. They are most interactive when they are not working. It is a good idea not to bug them when they are not practicing. Afterwards, they love interacting with us Cardinal fans. When game time comes around, they head down to Roger Dean Stadium. If you really want autographs, get down to the stadium before the gates open. When you are able to access the stadium, go to the front row of the Cardinals side (which is down the first base side). Please be mindful of the people that actually have those seats. The players usually sign autographs from the moment they walk into the stadium. When game time comes around, you will be able to see the players up close in a small attendance atmosphere. It is a much more different experience when there are around a couple thousand people, instead of hundreds of thousands. You will also see the minor league prospects play in the game. Make sure you wear sun block!
Next, I would like to talk about the people down there. You will be surrounded by thousands of Cardinals fans. This is a great way to make new friends and bond. A question you will get a lot is “What part of St. Louis are you from?”. Get to know the people around you. The people there are there for the same exact reason as you are. These people are very nice. Everywhere you go, you are likely to see a Cardinals fan when it’s spring training time in Florida. Typically, in the Palm Beach and Jupiter areas is where you see the most Cardinals fans. I talked to many Cardinals fans while I was there. Don’t be shy, connect with people who love baseball just as much as you do!
I was highly impressed with most of the restaurants I ate at. The restaurant that I enjoyed the most was Jetty’s in Jupiter. It is a little on the pricey side, but it is most definitely worth it. It’s a restaurant where you dress up pretty nicely (I wore boat shoes, jeans, and a Cardinals shirt and I was fine) and enjoy some amazing seafood. If you are not big into seafood, they also have other things that you could be interested in. I recommend sitting outside. Outside, there is a very nice view of a lighthouse and water. If you want to go somewhere nice to eat, I highly recommend Jetty’s. (Hint, hint – players LOVE Jetty’s). If you are looking for somewhere more casual and laid back, then you should also try the Atlantic Surf Club in Fort Lauderdale. It might be kind of a far drive from where you are staying (est. 40-50 minutes), but it is definitely worth it. Fort Lauderdale is an awesome place to be if you are looking for a fun day in the sun. While you are enjoying the amazing beaches in Fort Lauderdale, I would stop by the Atlantic Surf Club. At this restaurant, there is a STUNNING view of the ocean. There are also multiple TV’s you can watch while you are there. This restaurant also has a wide variety of foods that you can eat.
So if you are considering coming down to Florida to watch some spring training, I highly recommend you do. This is an amazing opportunity to connect with players, coaches, and other Cardinal fans. If you have any questions about spring training, I will answer your questions to the best of my ability. As always, I will provide my Twitter at the bottom. Also, I will provide my email.
Opening Day is in our reach, Cardinal Nation! Hang in there! Until next time!
Keep flying, Cardinal Nation.
Photo credit: http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2014/02/countdown-to-opening-day-the-best-of-spring-training/#1