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20 fun facts about spring training

1.) The Florida Grapefruit and Arizona Cactus leagues are a 50-50 split, with 15 teams training in each of the two states.

2.) The Yankees train in Tampa, but the Tampa Bay Rays train 94 miles away in Port Charlotte.

3.) The Mets have had only two spring venues in their history: St. Pete's Al Lang Field from 1962-87 and Port St. Lucie's Digital Domain Park (formerly Tradition Field) since 1988.

4.) If you're driving between Port St. Lucie and Tampa via Interstate 75 and State Road 84, there's a reason that stretch of highway is known as Allegator Alley. Don't pull over.

5.) The best stadium name in the Grapefruit League? Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Tigers since 1966, was named for Lakeland's former parks and recreation director.

6.) Cactus League teams have abandoned the Tucson area. All 2011 games will be played in the 10 complexes in and around Phoenix.

7.) From 1946-61, the Yankees trained in St. Petersburg, with the exception of 1951 in Phoenix. And that was Mickey Mantle's rookie season.

8.) The Yankees' George M. Steinbrenner Field is directly across the street from Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

9.) Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater truly caters to its Phillies fanbase, offering Philly cheesesteaks and Yuengling beer among its concessions.

10.) Want a close look at players than your seat in the stands? Spend some time at a team's minor-league complex, where access rules for fans are a lot more lax.

11.) The Brooklyn Dodgers were all over the map in the 1940s, training in Clearwater, Fla. (1940); Havana (1941-42 and 1947), Bear Mountain, NY (1943-45); Daytona Beach (1946), Ciudad Trujillo, D.R. (1948) and Vero Beach, Fla. (1949).

12.) George M. Steinbrenner Field has the same outfield dimensions as Yankee Stadium.

13.) Arizona Diamondback fans don't need to take a vacation to attend spring training. Salt River Fields, the new home they share with Colorado Rockies, is just 22 miles from their in-season home, Chase Field. Their previous spring home was in Tucson, 118 miles away.

14.) Port St. Lucie is growing as a town, but it's still small enough where you're bound to bump into players at any of the local restaurants. So keep your eyes open.

15.) Fans attending Blue Jays games in Dunedin get to hear both the Canadian and American national anthems before each game. Labatt's beer is on tap for at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium for thirsty Canadian visitors of drinking age.

16.) Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Rockies, D-Backs) in Arizona is located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community reservation.

17.) John Lannan of the Nationals, a Long Beach product, left some of the driving to Amtrak this year. He drove his car from his home in Hoboken, N.J., to Lorton, Va., where his vehicle was loaded onto Amtrak's Auto Train for the ride to Sanford, Fla., and then he drove the 63 miles to Nationals camp in Viera.

18.) Surprise Stadium (Royals, Rangers) in Arizona has a merry-go-round in the rightfield concourse.

19.) One of Hank Steinbrenner's favorite restaurants in Tampa is Iavarone's, just north of the Yankees' ballpark. Stop in and you might get to talk baseball with the Yankees co-chairperson.

20.) The foul poles at Phoenix Municipal Stadium (Athletics) were originally used at the Polo Grounds.

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