What Is Spring Training in Baseball?

Get ready for the MLB season with Spring Training: a month-long event filled with exhibition games, player evaluations, and team preparations.
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

Every year, Spring Training offers a unique baseball month for players and fans. Preceding the MLB’s regular season in April, this March event prepares teams for their long 162-game season with games played primarily in Florida and Arizona. While the intensity is more relaxed, fans cherish the chance to watch their favorite teams and collect autographs.

  • Spring Training is a month-long event that occurs every year in March in preparation for the MLB season.
  • It consists of exhibition games played by all teams in either Florida or Arizona.
  • The first organized Spring Training league was founded in the state of Mississippi, while the Cactus League was formed in 1947.
  • The purpose of Spring Training is to keep players sharp and ready for the long regular season ahead, as well as to evaluate young talent vying for a spot on each team’s roster.
  • The format of Spring Training typically begins in the first week of March and ends in the last week of March, with teams playing 4-6 games per week.

The history of Spring Training

Spring Training has been a part of the MLB for over 100 years. In 1870, the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Chicago White Stockings held their own spring games. This was the first form of spring training.

Spring Training didn’t become an organized ordeal until the early 1900s. The first organized Spring Training league was founded in the state of Mississippi, while the Cactus League was formed in 1947. However, only a few teams were involved compared to the 15 in today’s game. Starting in the 1950s, some teams started gradually moving their preseason training to Florida. This led to the creation of the Grapefruit League.

As time went on, Spring Training became a booming business. Money has continued to roll in for both of these leagues, mainly through ticket sales. Fans who didn’t live near their favorite teams now had the opportunity to see their favorite teams in their home state. With the stadiums being smaller, fans were also able to get much closer to the field at a much lower cost.

The purpose of Spring Training

The MLB regular season is 162 games long. It is the longest season of any professional sport. While you can stay in shape by practicing, nothing compares with real-game action. The MLB decided to implement a month of exhibition games to keep players in shape and prepare their bodies for the long haul ahead of them. While injuries are usually unavoidable, some can be prevented or at least lowered in severity.

Spring Training is also used to evaluate players. Coaches use these games to let their young guys play. Their performances in these games usually decide whether or not they make the regular-season roster. There are only a certain number of roster spots, so the competition is blazing for a spot.

Spring Training may be loads of fun for the older and more established guys. However, the young guys are fighting for their future.

Exhibition games also help players create bonds with their teammates. Since the games are outside of their usual location, players are forced to live there for a month. This means that teams are constantly around each other for the entire month of March. It is always a good thing to spend quality time with your teammates.

The format of Spring Training

The games of Spring Training typically begin in the first week of March and end in the last week of March. The majority of teams will begin Spring Training on March 4th, 2023.

Some teams have their actual regular-season Opening Day on March 30 or 31. Teams typically play anywhere between 4-6 games every week during Spring Training. It is a rather busy schedule, but lineups constantly change to keep players rested and healthy.

With so many games, practices aren’t very common during the month of March. These games are used as their practice for the most part. Teams might have some form of organized practice on their off days, but the level of intensity is substantially low. MLB players are talented enough to make adjustments in-game and do not need extra practice to fix their mistakes. However, extra work is always a good thing when it comes to fitting into the schedule.

The benefits of Spring Training

It is always a good thing to be around your teammates. Spring Training allows for nearly four weeks of teams being together to form a bond for the upcoming season.

Coaches can get a feel for how their team works and what their assets are. They also use this time to try new things, such as lineups and rotations that haven’t been seen before.

Younger guys use Spring Training as an opportunity to put their name on the map. A strong performance in these games can be the difference between making the roster or being cut. When the season gets going, some of these guys won’t get many opportunities. This means Spring Training is the most important part of the year for some of these guys.

Another benefit of Spring Training is the opportunity it provides for the fans. Stadiums are much smaller, so fans are able to get closer than they ever have. Spring Training also allows for special opportunities to get autographs before and after games. Spring Training has a multitude of benefits that fans and players greatly appreciate.

The future of Spring Training

Throughout the years, Spring Training has evolved tremendously. One evolution of Spring Training happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance was limited, but fans were still allowed at the games.

There were many parameters set up to ensure the safety of the fans and players during the pandemic. As you know, COVID hit the United States for the first time around March 2020. This hit directly at the start of the 2020 Spring Training.

However, the MLB did a fantastic job of handling the situation effectively. The MLB has considered testing new rules in Spring Training games. Since the results of the games are irrelevant, they provide great opportunities to test new things out. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Spring Training start and how long does it last?

Spring Training starts in the first week of March. The season continues through the month of March and concludes in the last week of March.

Do baseball games count in Spring Training?

While these games have some value, they have no implication on a team’s record. They are not counted toward anything relevant.

What happens to players who don’t make the team during Spring Training?

Players that don’t make the team are sent down to the minor leagues. Each MLB team has an A, AA, and AAA affiliate. The AAA league is the most competitive and closest to the MLB.

How many innings are in Spring Training baseball?

Spring Training games are identical to regular-season games in terms of length. All games are nine innings long.

Do MLB players get paid for Spring Training?

No, they do not. MLB players do not receive paychecks until the first week of the regular season.


Spring Training is a wonderful time that fans all across the world look forward to. Some families may not be able to travel to see their favorite team during the regular season. Spring Training provides an opportunity with cheap tickets and easy access to games. Players can also use this time to work on their game in a less intense atmosphere. These games shouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon. These games are a bright spot for Major League Baseball.

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