Spring has arrived for baseball fans, as pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Florida and Arizona. Fans have a pretty good idea of what spring training means to the major leaguers, but what about the minor leaguers and the teams they’ll play for?
Nick Grueser, President of the Lansing Lugnuts, the Midwest League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, says there isn’t much difference between the spring training regimen for the pros and the minor leaguers. "What is a little unknown is where they're going to be" Grueser explains. "For example, a guy that we had last year, if he came in late at the end of the season, he might have an idea that he's coming back, he might have the hopes to go to high A, he might want to go to AA. For our guys, it's really trying to fight for position. It's almost like a tryout."
"Our busiest time of the year is probably the six to eight weeks leading up to opening day," Grueser adds. "We're trying to get the ball park opened up; we've got snow on the field right now. Getting our marketing efforts going and all of our sales efforts going. We handle all of the entertainment side of the business outside of the sport."
The Lugnuts open the regular season in Midland against the Great Lakes Loons on April 5. Opening day in Lansing will be April 7, also against the Loons. Grueser says the Lugnuts are planning lots of festivities for that day, with a block party, meet the team event, and post-game fireworks.