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Grapefruit League, Cactus League: Terminology

Grapefruit League

Grapefruit League, Cactus League in spring training

The Grapefruit League has nothing to do with actual grapefruits, that is unless you like eating something sour while watching baseball games.  The Cactus League is a little more self-explanatory; it is a league in Arizona.  Both of these are the names of the two spring training leagues that compose Major League Baseball during the month of March before the regular season begins.

Phillies Spring TrainingFlorida is where you will find the Grapefruit League.  Teams are spread out across the state with the majority residing on the gulf coast.  Each team has their spring training sites at one of their minor league affiliate’s home stadiums.  Two teams, the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, share a complex, but have their own practice fields.  There is definitely some distance between some of the parks, as much as four hours going from Dunedin to Jupiter.

The other league, the Cactus League, is based around Phoenix and extends outwards towards places like Scottsdale and Glendale.  The setup is a little different as most of the teams share complexes in Arizona.  They are much closer to one another which makes for shorter trips between stadiums for the players.

Most teams have at least four practice fields as rosters are large and there are so many prospects to evaluate through workouts.  There might be one field designated for pitchers, one for infielders, and so on.  It depends on the team and what their objective is at the time.

Here is a breakdown of which teams play in which leagues:

Cactus

  • Kansas City Royals
  • Texas Rangers
  • Seattle Mariners
  • San Diego Padres
  • Chicago White SoxCactus League 2014
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Colorado Rockies
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

 

Grapefruit

  • New York Yankees
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Washington Nationals
  • Pittsburgh PiratesGrapefruit League 2014
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Boston Red Sox
  • New York Mets
  • Minnesota Twins
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Miami Marlins
  • Houston Astros

As you can see, the general basis for which league each team is in is based on where the teams are located.  The AL and NL East teams are in the Grapefruit, the AL and NL West teams are in the Cactus, and the AL and NL Central are divided between the two.  Teams have changed the locations of their spring training sites many times over the years, but this setup has been in place for a while and probably will for some time.

Grapefruit League MapThere are pros and cons of each league.  In the Grapefruit, it’s Florida.  Beaches and sunshine are all around.  There’s also a lot of rain and humidity.  For the Cactus, the air is dryer and more tolerable.  The view of the mountains is breathtaking and pretty nice.  It’s also the desert more or less.

If you’re in one of these states in the month of March, be sure to find a park near you that has a spring training game.  Not only will you get to see Major League stars for a fraction of the cost of a regular season game, but the atmosphere is very family friendly and much more relaxed.  There are ample opportunities to get autographs and just enjoy the game of baseball at a more leisurely pace.

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