Spring Training: Cactus vs. Grapefruit league


The Rangers currently train in Surprise Arizona which is part of the Cactus League.  The Rangers started training in Florida in 1961 when they were known as the Washington Senators.  They started in Pompano Beach, Florida and transferred to Port Charlotte Florida in 1986 and stayed their until 2003 when they moved to the Cactus League.

There is a big debate in baseball whether it is better to train in Florida in the Grapefruit League or to train in Arizona in the Cactus League.  As of last season the leagues are equal in number of teams.  As time progress more and more teams are moving to the Cactus League.

There are advantages to both leagues, although it is basically determined by geographical location as to where teams train.  For fifty plus years the Dodgers still trained in Florida even after their departure from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.  Which it was great to stick with history the only issue was that the Dodgers fans lived 3,000 miles from the spring training facility.  So not very many people made the trip to see spring training games.  They moved to the Cactus League in 2008 at the end of the Spring training and officially began spring training there in 2009.

The advantages of the Grapefruit league are plenty, although it does have its downsides also.  The biggest advantage is that the population is huge in Sunny Florida.  Also the population is greater on the East coast so there is more opportunity for more fans to attend spring training games.

The downside of the grapefruit league is that Florida is quite humid and there are thunderstorms quite often.  So even though they are training in sunny Florida it is not always sunny.  Also the spring training cities are quite spread out and teams can spend a lot of time on a bus rather than training.

Just like the Grapefruit League the Cactus League has its pros and cons.  The weather in Arizona is very warm and dry, very little issues with inclement weather so more time is spent on the fields.  Also most of the Cactus League is within two hours from any of the other teams spring training sites, so in turn less time on the bus and more time on the field.

The only issue with Arizona is that the population is not as dense as in Florida.  So in turn there are less people in the surrounding areas to attend games and there is not the appeal that Florida provides with its beachs and vacation spots.  So in turn the Grapefruit League offers more for the family.

Thankfully this will be the last weekend until the end of October where they will not be any baseball activities going on.  Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Sunrise on February 18 with position players reporting a few days later.