Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Atlanta Braves MickeyOne of my favorite times of year is just about a week away! Although it may be snowing where you are, the lawns are neatly manicured, the lines are ready to be chalked, the sun is out, and it is almost baseball season! Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to Major League Baseball Spring Training locations in Florida and Arizona in the next few days. My favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, report on February 13th. That means the beginning of Spring Training is not far behind, starting for most teams on February 26th.

I cannot wait to get back to see my team at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Champion Stadium. I absolutely love Spring Training and the access it gives you to some of your favorite stars as well as giving you the opportunity to see the up and comers. You can read about some of my previous Spring Training experiences with the Atlanta Braves in particular as well as other teams here.

The great thing about living in Florida this time of year is the opportunity to catch the Atlanta Braves around at several different stadiums within a couple hours radius of my house. I’m hoping to catch at least one game at Walt Disney World since it is their home field. I am looking forward to the season even more now knowing two of our return players, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, have been locked into contracts for at least a couple of years each.

Tickets are available for purchase now to individual games or in what are called “mini plans” with blocks of three games bundled together. You can buy tickets through Ticketmaster online or by phone, or in person at the Champion Stadium Box Office from 9am to 5pm seven days a week. I like the relatively new feature on the website where you can pick out individual seats, which is handy if you are trying to meet up with friends for a game if they’ve already got tickets.

Have you been to an Atlanta Braves Spring Training game? Are you as excited as I am to get back to America’s pastime? Hope to see you there!

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Spring Training in the Grapefruit League

Spring Training Braves Mickey
Spring Training Braves Mickey

Spring training is one of my absolute favorite things about living in Florida. I am fortunate enough to have over half a dozen Major League Baseball teams that have their spring training facilities within about an hour of where I live. For those who aren’t familiar, professional baseball teams are split into two leagues for preseason training: the Cactus League in Arizona and the Grapefruit League here in Florida.

The nearest stadium for me is the Pittsburgh Pirates home at McKechnie Field here in Bradenton, which is less than two miles from my house. This is probably one of the two stadiums where I have attended the most games in the past 15 years living in Florida. The other most visited field for me is Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World where my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, have their home field. It is really nice having access to baseball so close to home. I was even able to meet my favorite player Chipper Jones just five minutes from my house during spring training!

Chipper Jones at Spring Training

Chipper at third
Chipper at third
Chipper at bat
Chipper at bat
Chipper swinging
Chipper swinging
Chipper hitting a home run
Chipper hitting a home run
Chipper rounding third
Chipper rounding third
Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones signing my game ticket
Chipper Jones signing my game ticket
Chipper Jones and Terry Pendleton signed my ticket
Chipper Jones and Terry Pendleton signed my ticket

One of the best things about spring training is the accessibility to the players. Often times the stadiums are smaller and more intimate than their regular season counterparts. This provides fans with closer seats to the field usually and more opportunities to meet and get autographs from your favorite players. Spring training is a great chance to travel around the state and experience different stadiums and also to get to see up and coming players before they make it to the big show.

Of the 15 teams that currently train in the Grapefruit League, I’ve been to five of the stadiums for spring training games over the years. Eventually, I would love to travel around to see games in each of the stadiums around the state since all are within a two to three hour drive from my home. This past weekend I was lucky enough to catch the Braves play the Mets at home in Lake Buena Vista, then saw the Nationals host the Astros in Viera. It was a fantastic weekend filled with great baseball and got me even more excited for regular season to start in a few weeks. I owe a big thank you to the Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism for hosting us at the Nationals game!

The Braves game was extra special as the weekend’s games were themed after Star Wars! I was so stoked when I first heard this announced and even started planning how I was going to incorporate both the Star Wars and Braves into my attire for the game. It was so cool how they brought in Star Wars characters at the beginning of the game like Chewbacca to cheer on the ceremonial first pitch. Darth Vader decided he needed to have a pep talk with the umps while Stormtroopers guarded the Braves dugout. The Disney characters even got into the spirit with Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald all making appearances at the 7th inning stretch to lead the singalong of Take Me Out To The Ball Game while accompanied by the X Wing Fighter Pilot Saxophone Quarter. All in all it was definitely an enhanced experience that I’d love to see Disney Sports continue.

Braves game

Ready to represent Star Wars and the Braves
Ready to represent Star Wars and the Braves
ESPN Wide World of Sports
ESPN Wide World of Sports
Jedi Mickey posing with a youth team before the game
Jedi Mickey posing with a youth team before the game
Chewbacca cheering on the ceremonial first pitch
Chewbacca cheering on the ceremonial first pitch
Fireworks to start the game
Fireworks to start the game
Darth Vader overseeing the umpires
Darth Vader overseeing the umpires
Stormtroopers guarding the Braves dugout
Stormtroopers guarding the Braves dugout
Beautiful day for baseball at Champion Stadium
Beautiful day for baseball at Champion Stadium
X Wing Fighter Pilot Saxophone Quartet
X Wing Fighter Pilot Saxophone Quartet
Fireworks after Freddie Freeman home run
Fireworks after Freddie Freeman home run
Tim Hudson on deck
Tim Hudson on deck
Pretzel and cheese sauce
Pretzel and cheese sauce
Baseball and beer
Baseball and beer
Jedi Mickey and the gang singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Jedi Mickey and the gang singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Me with Hall of Famer Don Sutton in the background
Me with Hall of Famer Don Sutton in the background
Kids got to run the bases after the game and high five Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald
Kids got to run the bases after the game and high five Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald

Nationals game

This is not the Casey's Corner I'm used to - at the Nationals game
This is not the Casey’s Corner I’m used to – at the Nationals game
Elevator leading up to the skybox
Elevator leading up to the skybox
Nationals
Nationals
Another gorgeous day for baseball
Another gorgeous day for baseball
Couple that threw out the ceremonial first pitch got engaged on the field
Couple that threw out the ceremonial first pitch got engaged on the field
Stephen Strasburg's first pitch for the Nationals
Stephen Strasburg’s first pitch for the Nationals
Former Brave Adam LaRoche on deck for the Nationals
Former Brave Adam LaRoche on deck for the Nationals
Sun starting to set at Space Coast Stadium
Sun starting to set at Space Coast Stadium

If you get an opportunity to head to Florida in the month of March, please come visit one of the great spring training facilities the Grapefruit League has to offer. Tickets are often very affordable, especially in comparison to regular season games. Who knows, if you’re lucky, you may even get to meet and get an autograph from your favorite player just minutes after you see him hit a home run. Have you been to spring training in Florida before? What are some of your favorite things about it?

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Atlanta Braves Spring Training at ESPN Wide World Of Sports

This year the Atlanta Braves return to ESPN Wide World of Sports to play their Spring Training games in Champion Stadium for the 16th year. It’s a really great chance to see some of your favorite teams play some Spring Ball.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

I grew up an Atlanta Brave’s fan, I even had a pretty sweet Dale Murphy poster in my room, and having their Spring Training games so close to me makes me giddy!

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

The Atlanta Braves have a full and awesome Spring Training Schedule this year, and even if the Atlanta Braves aren’t ‘your’ team chances are they might be visiting Champion Stadium for a game!

Friday, March 1 Washington Nationals

6:05 PM

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Sunday, March 3 Detroit Tigers

1:05 PM

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Thursday, March 7 Detroit Tigers

6:05 PM

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Friday, March 8 Toronto Blue Jays *SS

1:05 PM

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Sunday, March 10 Miami Marlins

1:05 PM

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Tuesday, March 12 St. Louis Cardinals

1:05 PM

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Friday, March 15 New York Mets

1:05 PM

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Saturday, March 16 New York Yankees

5:05 PM

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Monday, March 18 Philadelphia Phillies

1:05 PM

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Wednesday, March 20 Pittsburgh Pirates

1:05 PM

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Thursday, March 21 Washington Nationals

6:05 PM

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Saturday, March 23 Houston Astros *SS

1:05 PM

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Monday, March 25 New York Mets

1:05 PM

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Thursday, March 28 Houston Astros

1:05 PM

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*SS – Split Squad

In addition to the regular Spring Training games, for the first time there will be themed games to help bring a little bit of pixie dust and magic to the following games:

Mar 10 – Princess & Pirate

Mar 15 – Star Wars

Mar 16 – Star Wars

Mar 21 – Princess & Pirate

Mar 23 – Salute To Our Troops

For these games, everyone is encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters!

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

When we visited Champion Stadium for the Brave’s first game of Spring Training, I was really excited to be able to be so close to the Brave’s Dugout! There are a ton of great ticket options available to see the games! Viewing the Champion Stadium seating chart is a great place to start with deciding on which ticket option is the best for your family. And during the game, there are a ton of fun games and trivia challenges that you can participate in to win tickets, fast passes, and other goodies!

I have to say that there is some pretty sweet Atlanta Braves Spring Training merchandise available at the games! I had to walk away quickly before I bought out the whole store!!! I love how the merchandise pays homage to Florida’s Spring Training history and is super fun!

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Here are some things you might want to keep in mind as you make your way to Champion Stadium to see an Atlanta Brave’s Spring Training Game:

  • Make sure that you keep hydrated (and no beer doesn’t fully count), wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately, because you will be in the sun for quite some time!
  • Items NOT Allowed (NOTE: All bags will be inspected prior to entering the park)
    • no outside food or drinks
    • no coolers
    • no containers
    • no umbrellas
    • no lawn chairs
    • no banners
    • no flags
    • no weapons
  • Smoking Policy: Smoking not allowed in seats or concourse area. Smoking is only allowed in designated smoking areas.
  • Children: All ages are welcome. Ages 0-2 admitted free on ticket holder’s lap (no ticket required). A ticket is required for all children 3 and older.
  • Box Office Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Will Call: Located at Guest Services (left-hand side of the main entrance). Opens 2 hour prior to the game. Customer must present the actual credit card used for the purchase, a photo ID and Ticketmaster order number in order to receive tickets.
  • Parking: General parking at ESPN Wide World of Sports is complimentary, however valet parking will be available for $20. I normally skip the valet parking, but I strongly encourage you to think about this option as parking can sometimes be hectic since ESPN WWoS stays busy!!!

httpv://youtu.be/2nYVG_NVIyU

I hope that you will travel out to ESPN Wide World of Sports to catch an Atlant Braves Spring Training game!!! I know that I will be back to take Zoe to her first Atlanta Braves Spring Training game!!!

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