Phillies Spring Training Guide 2021: What to expect when attending a game in Clearwater
After a 60 game, fan-less season took part in 2020, it’s finally time that the Philadelphia Phillies welcome their faithful fans back into their stadiums. It all starts in Clearwater, Florida at the newly-named Baycare Ballpark for Spring Training. On March 1st, 2021, I was lucky enough to attend the team’s first home game in Florida. What I’ve put together here is some tips for if you get to head on down for a game.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you stay safe. I’m not only saying make sure you wear your mask and socially distance, because those are a given. The sun is absolutely brutal, no matter where you sit in this stadium. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be seated in the club seats, make sure sunscreen is applied before you enter BayCare’s gates. If you do happen to forget, there are plenty of SPF 30 stations sectioned throughout the concourse and in the restroom’s, free to use. Lastly, an unfortunate event I had witnessed at this game was a fan breaking the heavy-duty zip-ties that were indicators of the seat being unavailable as a part of social distancing measures. So please, respect the hard work the stadium’s employee’s put in to make this experience possible. A nice addition to this is due to the seats all being separated by party, you’re welcomed to take your mask off while seated.
Don’t Bring A Bag.
If you are to bring a bag, make sure you’re aware of its size. Per the ballpark’s guidelines, only medical and diaper bags are permitted inside the stadium. If you are to bring a bag, it cannot be larger than the size of your hand. Personally, I witnessed around 8-10 people be turned away with bags ranging from a large backpack to a small handbag. Travel lightly.
Player’s Interaction Is Limited.
While Spring Training is usually full of face to face player interactions with fans, autographs, and photographs, that is not the case this year. Due to the MLB’s Covid-19 protocols, player’s are not allowed to be within 6 feet of fans and are currently unable to sign autographs. As unfortunate as it is, they are still very talkative and personable with the fans. For me, All-MLB catcher J.T Realmuto personally interacted with my entire section. Phillies manager Joe Girardi also was kind enough to stop, safely distance himself, and take a picture with me. So don’t worry about remembering autograph items or sharpies, they’ll be useless.
Overall, the environment this year is absolutely fantastic. The players are all trying out new things, pitchers testing new pitches, and others just fighting hard for a roster spot. The best way to describe the feeling of the Clearwater atmosphere is a minor league stadium, that just so happens to be housing the best players in the world. If you’re a Phillies fan from up north like myself, it is certainly a must do. For being my first time, I can assure you this will become a yearly thing for myself.
During the game against the Orioles, a player that certainly stood out was Matt Joyce. Joyce went 1-2 at the dish and scorched a home run into deep right field, a ball that traveled out of the ballpark. He also flashed the glove a few times, with an impressive full-extension diving grab in right.
The Phillies will open the regular season on April 1st against the Atlanta Braves in Citizens Bank Park. Approximately 8,000 fans will be welcomed into the seats.