Deep South Offers Perfect Spring Training Climate
February 1, 2013
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill
While much of the U.S. is still shoveling snow and bundling up to keep warm in February and March, professional baseball players are gearing up to take the first swing at the bat. Players head south where warm temperatures and dry weather help prepare them for the upcoming baseball season.
Spring training in Florida has been a tradition in Major League Baseball since 1913 when the Chicago Cubs played in Tampa, Fla. The warm Arizona became another hot spot for spring training 34 years later in 1947 when the Cleveland Indians and New York Giants made the journey to the desert to prepare for the rigors of the long regular season.
Training typically begins in mid-February and continues until just before opening day in early April. In Phoenix and throughout the Sunshine State, the weather allows players to run the bases and catch fly balls without interference from snow and brutal wind chills.
Phoenix typically sees afternoon readings around room temperature, in the upper 60s to lower 70s during February. March is warmer with highs reaching the lower 80s towards the end of the month. Morning lows climb from the middle 40s in February to the middle 50s by late March.
Rain isn`t usually a problem for players in Phoenix. Monthly rainfall averages less than one inch in February and March.
Teams like the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins that flock to Florida for spring training typically see warmer temperatures and more rain than those teams in southern Arizona.
Florida spring training is clustered along the Gulf Coast from Tampa to Fort Myers and on the Atlantic Coast from Miami to the greater Orlando area. The average high ranges through the middle and upper 70s in February and March with morning lows in the comfortable 50s. As might be expected, Miami is warmer with average highs around 80 degrees by early March.
Rainfall averages 2 to 3 inches of rain in February but there is a bit of an uptick by March. Orlando, Fla., typically gets in excess of 3.50 inches of rain during the second half of spring training.
The warm Arizona and Florida winter climates provide a great excuse for fans to flock south to escape the cold and snow and watch their favorite team compete. Besides the beach, spring breakers can also enjoy taking in a game as well.
When it`s time to come home and roll out the game home opener, the weather can be a shock to the system for northern teams. Instead of playing in 70-degree weather, when the Minnesota Twins open the season at Target Field, they can normally expect 40-degree air temperatures.
Cincinnati always opens its regular season at home. Going from temperatures in the 80s during the day to typical early April upper 50s can make the bat sting a bit. The only way the players would get lucky enough to have similar Phoenix spring training weather is if Cincinnati had record warmth on opening day.
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Story Image: An early-season baseball game is played on a beautiful day at Wrigley Field in Chicago in mid-April 2007. (Carolyn Muffler, WeatherBug user)
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