MLB spring training returns to Jupiter and West Palm Beach


A view of MLB spring training at Roger Dean Stadium

Major League Baseball began spring training in our area on Feb. 28, with 28 out of the 30 teams participating. 

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the Grapefruit League that plays in Jupiter and West Palm Beach will only face opponents in the state of Fla. to minimize travel. The maximum capacity will be lowered from the usual 7,100 to 1,500, and the seats will be spread out to enforce social distancing to allow fans to enjoy the games safely.

“I feel it’s a start to reopening a venue safely and able to control all the CDC guidelines since we are still actively in this pandemic with only certain individuals that have been vaccinated,” Daniel Benozich, food and beverage manager at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, said.

According to Benozich, spring training will return a sense of normalcy back into our lives while still being able to keep everyone safe.

“In my opinion, it’s important to follow the guidelines from our officials and continue to be a little over cautious until more people can get vaccinated,” Chris Jankosky, former vendor at Roger Dean Stadium, said. “It’s important to keep the staff, fans and players safe in order to have a successful season.”

By following guidelines, fans and players will be able to enjoy professional baseball in our area worry free.

“If anything, this situation is showing everyone accountability, general hygiene, respecting social distancing and all around being happy and appreciative of what they are experiencing versus all the negative issues we all have endured this past year,” Benozich said.

Spring training this year will not be all about COVID-19 precautions. It will maintain its purpose, which is to prepare players for the regular season.

“Spring training is a tradition that gets players ready but also gets team chemistry and builds foundations for playing as a team and for each other,” Andrew Mook, former Roger Dean Stadium employee and Jupiter High baseball coach, said. “Players need a routine to get them ready especially for a long enduring season.”

Spring training not only helps players improve their game but also makes them less susceptible to injury for the regular season. 

“The players in any sport need ‘pre-season’ to get their bodies conditioned and accustomed for actual gameplay,” Jankosky said. “There is only so much you can do in practice to mimic gameplay but the reality is that there is nothing like actual regular season play.”

Jankosky feels it is vital for players to participate in spring training, as it gives them a game-like experience to prepare them physically and mentally for what is to come. One key way in doing so is having fans in attendance to watch.

“Players are so used to the energy fans bring and it kind of gets them to just go through the motion and not have that baseball passion firing in them,” Mook said. “Plus, the fans can get away from the stresses of life and enjoy a game.”

According to Jankosky, spring training is a relaxing way for fans and players to watch and play something they love and the beginning of spring training is a positive step forward.

“It’s really been a roller coaster of a spring training season operational-wise from ordering, changing the way food is prepared and I’m very happy out of everything that fans have not complained one bit to what we are doing,” Benozich said. “They simply are happy to see somewhat of a return to normalcy.”