I know if most New Englanders look out their windows they won’t believe me but really it’s here. Players have reported to their spring training destinations. Full squad workouts are underway. It makes you feel warm inside, considering there is somewhere north of 15 inches of snow on most front lawns even after this past weekend’s thaw
It’s February and we’re thinking baseball! Who was the marketing genius behind this?
Baseball marketers have created what feels like, two different seasons. There is the warm-up season and then the “real deal.”
Coming from the media, I used to make Fort Myers my home for one week at this time of year. It’s good to get away and leave the shovels behind, if you enjoy watching the pitchers “jog” around the outfield along the warning track. You could call that a good time but it really isn’t my type of getaway.
Baseball has marketed this as “Spring Training.” They take all 30 teams in the league, have them prepare in warm weather climates and invite fans to travel to warm destinations to watch. Brilliant!
Really, I’d like to meet the guy who thought rabid fans would come out in droves to back road towns in Florida and Arizona to watch some guys who have a slightly better chance than me of making the big leagues?
Those of you from Massachusetts picture this:
Route 9 in Framingham.
Got it? That is what Fort Myers reminds me of, except add in some 85-degree weather.
Was baseball’s thought process in this whole thing to grow its business plan? Or was it to reward these struggling communities with a blast of economic stimulus?
Think about it for a minute. What other sport travels to another state where its teams train, where fans can interact with the players? The Patriots have Foxboro, the Celtics have Waltham, and the Bruins have Wilmington. No other sports have a destination training camp, unless you want to hit Five Guys and the Reebok store at Patriots Place, and who doesn’t?
For us New Englanders, who doesn’t want a pool and 70 chain restaurants to choose from right about now? Hit Leroy Selmon’s and try the wings, that’s my choice for Fort Myers.
This is a tip of the cap to the MLB where they seem to have fans shelling more money out to get closer to their baseball idols.
Don’t forget about the souvenirs. You have to have your own spring training gear. You need that Red Sox Spring Training t-shirt because it’s different than the traditional Red Sox t-shirt, which in turn is different than the World Series Champions shirts. It oozes money for the MLB coffers. Plus add in all the hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels, soda, and beer sold while fans meander around watching John Lackey throw warm up pitches to a minor league catcher.
Spring Training gives MLB another stream of revenue to pull from; it isn’t real hard to market warm weather and baseball to New Englanders right about now. It’s gonna be a while before we see any green through the cottony white snow that has carpeted all those little league fields around town.