Today, I made my first ever trip to a Major League training site and it was quite a pleasant experience. I went over the Kansas City Royals training site to get tickets for next week and discovered that you are allowed to watch practice and be "closeup" with the players. Obviously, you can't bother them during practice, but they do walk around and it would be easy to get autographs, pictures, etc. The Royals train in Davenport, Florida, which is just north of Haines City and the name of the complex is "Baseball City Sports Complex". It consists of a beautiful stadium that holds 18,000 and 4 or 5 other fields which the Royals use for practice. You are allowed to walk around the complex and watch the practice at the various fields through the chain link fences that are there. These fences are not heavily guarded though and all the gates are wide open. They don't want you on the field though for obvious reasons. It certainly doesn't restrict you from watching and there were only about 20 to 25 spectators there that I could see so it was pretty neat. It would be a great place to take kids that were into baseball. I took several pictures, but since I don't know the players on the Royals, its difficult to try and identify them. The players were broken up into small groups and there were lots of coaches. Many of these coaches are probably ex-players that come in the spring to help out. The thing that surprised me was that the practices were not a lot different than what you'd find on a high school team. The coaches were instructing them and praising good accomplishments as if they were teenagers. I guess I just sort of figured that at that level, they wouldn't need a lot of instruction, but I can see that I was wrong! Hope you enjoy the pictures. I'll do my best to describe them.
Here's my tickets. They are box seats on the 1st base side and I indicated with an arrow on the diagram where the seats are located. Just $11 per seat. Thats a lot better than what you'll pay once they go north in April.
I couldn't get very good pictures of the inside of the stadium because I wasn't allowed in there, but this is the seating.
This is a shot of the outfield from the parking lot.
This is the first of several shots on the practice fields. I can't tell you who's who but you might enjoy how they are split up into groups.
This is the first field I came to and I can't really tell what they are doing here. I think they probably do a lot of instructional work prior to taking the field. You would think that wouldn't be neccessary at this level but I guess it is.
This looks like goof-off time!
This is definately an instructional meeting.
This is another meeting, just more people invited!!
This is 2 coaches who were kind enough to pose for me. I wish I knew who they were. They are probably former players because they didn't seem to have much to do except stand and talk.
More goof-offs. Looks like a pretty good job to me!
These are the catchers. Nice to see someone actually working!
These are the pitchers. I have more pictures of them coming up.
There's a batting cage at each field. Thats kind of neat cause there's a lot of players in spring training and everyone gets batting cage time.
One of the coaches hitting ground balls. I guess he found something to do!
Here's a little better picture of the pitchers.
Another field and another batting cage.
And the pitchers again!
Yet another field and another batting cage.
This player came over and changed his shoes before going into the batting cage!
These are the outfielders
Chuck Knoblauch now with the Royals. He was coming toward the fence to field a ball.
Another shot of Chuck Knoblauch.
Time to go home and I was walking back toward the stadium. All the practice fields are up the road a short walk from the main stadium.
This is the front of the stadium.
Back at the car. All the cars you see are all the people that were there to watch the practices. As you can see, there weren't very many there. Check out my little dog waiting patiently for me to return!!