Perhaps the best pairing to result from spring training is that of baseball and St. Patrick’s Day. Depending upon one’s interests, a major league spring training game can be enhanced by a tasty spring training St. Patrick’s Day brew, a pre- or post-game event, or the sight of two teams sporting bright green jerseys.
We are still awaiting several promotional slates from the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, but both circuits feature some interesting spring training St. Patrick’s Day matchups. The games below are just a small sample of what to see on March 17. For full league schedules, visit our complete listings of games for Florida and Arizona.
Tampa Bay Rays at Philadelphia Phillies: Clearwater’s Bright House Field is worth a visit whenever the Phillies are home, but a spring training St. Patrick’s Day game in particular makes for a fun day at the ballpark. The Phillies typically plan promotions for the occasion, and the ballpark’s left-field tiki bar offers a unique spot for a good drink. Plus, the 1:05 start allows for plenty of time to check out the post-game offerings in the Clearwater area.
New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates/Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles: Why not celebrate St. Patty’s Day with a day/night doubleheader? The afternoon begins with the Pirates hosting the Yankees at Bradenton’s historic McKechnie Field. The fans and players should be decked out for the day; the picture above comes from a previous St Pat’s Day celebration. For the nightcap, fans can head about 20 minutes south to Sarasota and see the Orioles and the Twins face off at Ed Smith Stadium. This doubleheader also highlights two of the finer venues in Florida.
Team Canada at Toronto Blue Jays: This matchup does not strike the eye at first, but it has its advantages. The laid-back experience should offer a nice contrast from the more crowded games—in fact, the Blue Jays are currently offering $10 tickets at all levels. It also has a case for the best post-game entertainment option: Following the final out, fans can make the short walk up the Pinellas Trail to downtown Dunedin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day festival, which features live music and runs through 11:00 p.m. It’s hosted by Flanagan’s Irish Pub.
Orioles at Boston Red Sox: Slated for a split squad, the Orioles will play their first game that day against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park. This matchup features two American League East rivals for an afternoon at one of Florida’s newer ballparks. Following the game, fans can check out some of the post-game events in Ft. Myers, including the downtown St. Patty’s Day festival.
Cardinals at Tigers. Detroit fans always throw a huge party on St. Patrick’s Day, and this year is no exception — it’s been sold out for weeks.
Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds: The Indians are listed as the visiting team but this is practically a home game for both clubs, given that they share Goodyear Ballpark. Since these two squads are squaring off, fans will be able to purchase $1 berm tickets, while the senior saver special will give attendees 55 and older the chance to purchase an infield box seat with a $5 food voucher for the price of $20.
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Dodgers: Camelback Ranch will play host to one of Arizona’s more notable games that afternoon. The defending world champion Royals will head to Glendale to take on the Dodgers, who are coming off their third consecutive National League West title. Plus, Camelback Ranch has been among our favorite facilities since it opened in 2009.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs: This matchup in Mesa features two of the offseason’s busiest teams and, in the Cubs, one of Arizona’s top-drawing clubs. Sloan Park is also one of Arizona’s most recently completed stadiums, and has lived up to its hype since opening in 2014. Buy your tickets early; this will sell out.
Milwaukee Brewers at Texas Rangers: Though there is no rivalry between these clubs, two factors make this game worth a visit. For Rangers fans canvassing the Cactus League, this will be their last chance to see their favorite team in Surprise before they begin a two-game series at the Alamodome in San Antonio. (For more on those games, see our earlier post on notable spring exhibitions). Additionally, this is just one of two night games scheduled in the state, with other featuring the San Diego Padres playing host to the NL West rival San Francisco Giants in Peoria.
Since Arizona’s clubs are mostly based in and around the Greater Phoenix area, there should be plenty of pre- or post-game festivities, including Chandler’s annual Pot of Gold Music Festival.