BaseballMonkey Clearance Craze! Up to 50% Off Bats, Gloves & Mots, Balls, Apparel and more! Shop Now!
Legends On Deck

Two Days Until SPRING Training

088

As a native New Yorker, I enjoy the yearly changing of the seasons. Especially, the excitement of that first snowstorm in December as Christmas approaches and amps up the festive spiritual part of the holidays.  However, that excitement fades fast.  In December, football is nearing a close.  As a football fan, gears shift and we tend to support the teams making the post season and eventually the Super Bowl.  But leaving the focus from the team we have been loyal and disappointed of for a lifetime…(the NY Jets)….  So once the holidays and Super Bowl is over, I am left with nothing except cold weather and snow.

As we are all aware on February 2, the top news story covers the famous tradition of Punxsutawney Phil arising from his den in Pennsylvania.  We anxiously await for this creature to predict how many more weeks until Spring is upon us….. As the gloom of the long winter months hover the north; the cold, the grey, and the snow, get very old.  So when February rolls around I don’t need a groundhog to tell me when spring is coming. For I know Pitchers and Catchers will be reporting to Spring Training in weeks to come.

That’s right folks; it’s that time of year!  Time to forget about the weather and the gloom… Spring Training is here!! And that means Baseball is here!!  Once that process starts, Opening Day is just around the corner.

I grew up a die-hard Yankees Fan, and I passed that tradition on to my three boys.  My 19-year-old went to his first Yankees game when he was two.  We would go to games at least once a month, as I did the same with my other two boys.  Back then I was spoiled and would always buy seats near the Yanks on-deck circle.  Directly behind the “Giuliani Seats” at $90.00 – $150.00 a ticket, and looking back it was a bargain.  However, fast forward two boys later, a new stadium, the sky rocketing cost of living, I would need to re-finance my home in order to buy the same tickets to see a game with my boys, including the travel and food.

In 2009, my parents purchased a condo in Clearwater, Florida and we have been coming down every year since then.  To my delight I realized that Spring Training at the Yankees facility was close by and it was something better than Disney, and no long lines. The experience at Spring Training is like no other, the beauty of the fields, the smell of fresh cut grass, sounds of the ball hitting the glove, the sun, the warmth, and the relaxing atmosphere where you get the see the players up close, in a competitive but in a very relaxed manner.

Seven seasons attending Yankees Spring Training with my boys, autographs, beautiful weather, and great memories… better than taking them to their first game in the Bronx. I could never have expected anything more.

That changed dramatically last year when I became the Official Site Photographer for Legends On Deck. As many of you know I have spent over a year with this growing site capturing images for our writers and readers. Last February I had the privilege of attending every camp down in Florida for the 2015 Grapefruit League Spring Training season.  The most fascinating aspect of my job is capturing images of the young players, and then following their progress through the minor league system up in the northeast.  All of which were the ideas our site founder David Conde envisioned when he created this site.

Although I am only a photographer, in the next few weeks I will be stepping outside of my comfort zone, to write. So this year I have decided to document my journey throughout the Florida Grapefruit League. Starting at the end of the week with my first camp, I will be sharing my daily experiences and opinions of each camp, exclusively for our readers and baseball fans… If you have never experienced spring training in Florida, I hope you will use my stories as a guide and inspiration to get down to the Sunshine State and experience it for yourself.  I will be highlighting each camp I attend daily, and will cover everything from locations, to parking, to food, and overall what to expect… It will be a complete on-site guide and resource to the 2016 Spring Training Season in Florida, an all-in-one front row seat only here at Legends On Deck.

Enjoy the journey with us.

Legends On Deck - Deck Logo

Gabe Rodriguez

Gabe Rodriguez

Official Site Photographer/Media Director at Legends On Deck®
Gabe has spent eight of his sixteen years in law enforcement as an Investigator and Crime Scene photographer. He turned his passion for photography, art, and sports and is the owner of GGR Photography. He specializes in action sports photography and is currently the official photographer for the Albany Athletics Twilight Baseball League in upstate New York. Gabe is also engaged in freelance photography for various youth sporting events in the Capital Region of New York, as well as New York State High School Athletic Association. His work is defined in the detail and commitment he has for sports, especially baseball.

You can also reach out to Gabe at grodriguez@legendsondeck.com
Gabe Rodriguez

Latest posts by Gabe Rodriguez (see all)