I (Kate Meckler) have been a baseball fan as long as I can remember. My father (Meckler) was a strong New York Yankees fan and I have followed suit. I started going to baseball games at 3 years old.
A big highlight was appearing on the big screen at Yankee Stadium when I was about 5 years old while sitting on my father’s lap. In addition to going to many Yankee games every season my father used to take us to spring training games. When the Chicago White Sox were in Sarasota, Florida we would go to the field downtown that had wooden stands. In those days you could get very close to the field and the players.
I remember Bill Stoneman, then of the Montreal Expos, and today a baseball front office executive. H was sitting in the bullpen area of the park chatting with his teammates. He looked up and spoke to us. One of our other trips was to Vero Beach, Florida which was the spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now the Dodgers train in Arizona (as do the White Sox). The highlight of visiting Dodgertown (as it was called) was seeing the great Sandy Koufax giving instruction to a young Dodger pitcher.
Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. So now we are in mid-February 2017 and another baseball season is getting underway, Yes. It is spring training taking place in Florida and Arizona. Pitchers and catchers report today and then in a week or so the position players show up for training. The practice games start around 1 March.
I am planning to go to spring training once again with my son. We will visit either the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida or the Baltimore Orioles who now train in Sarasota, Florida. The Pittsburgh ballpark Pittsburghpirates.com spring training in Bradenton is the second oldest professional baseball field in America. Only Wrigley Field is older.