Spring is in the air. Today is the first official day of Spring Training.
The annual event is almost as old as baseball itself with accounts of teams traveling south in the spring as early as the 1870s. Back then teams trained all over the south in places like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
Today teams set up camp in cities throughout Arizona (Cactus League) and Florida (Grapefruit League).
For some more insight on spring training check out Spring Training Online 2011
If you're a true baseball fan, you owe it to yourself to head south in the spring and experience spring training. In 1983 I went with my parents to Florida. We started on the east coast and then looped around and hit the west coast and finished in the middle of the state. I was able to pick up a ton of autographs and meet players in a much more relaxed atmosphere. One of the best experiences was in Winter Haven, where the Red Sox trained. It was here that I got to meet Ted Williams. The team had already left for a road and only a few players and staff stayed behind. Williams was here as a hitting instructor. I got to sit next to him outside the clubhouse and talked to him about his book, The Science of Hitting. It was a trip I'll never forget.