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Mets fans, here’s some advice for attending spring training in 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 06: The Grapefruit League logo on the third base line before a spring training game between the Houston Astros and New York Mets at First Data Field on March 6, 2018 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 06: The Grapefruit League logo on the third base line before a spring training game between the Houston Astros and New York Mets at First Data Field on March 6, 2018 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Thinking about attending New York Mets spring training this year? Here’s some advice!

Amidst the ownership fiasco, “Wild Boar”-related suspicions, and fallout from the Houston Astros cheating scandal, one thing is certain for New York Mets fans: spring training has finally arrived. The springtime optimism of February and March is one of the most enjoyable times of the season, when hopes are generally high and players are generally healthy.

I had the pleasure of attending Mets spring training last year, and it was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken. My college roommate and I attended games in both Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach (the spring home of the Washington Nationals, her team), and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. For any Mets fan who has yet to experience the joy of spring training, you are in for a treat.

We stayed in West Palm Beach and drove to Port St. Lucie on the days we were going to Mets home games, which I would highly recommend. Outside of baseball, there is a lot more to see and do in West Palm Beach than in Port St. Lucie. We took advantage of the extensive beaches, historical mansions, downtown restaurants and bars, and nearby water park while staying in West Palm Beach, all within a 15-minute drive of our AirBnB.

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If you are spending some extra time in Port St. Lucie, make sure to check out Duffy’s. It’s a huge sports bar/bowling alley complex, and SNY occasionally films TV segments there during spring training.

The Mets players also apparently go bowling there regularly while they’re down in Port St. Lucie. Be warned, there really isn’t much else to do in Port St. Lucie besides stroll through some nice parks and river walks, so you may as well take a night (or two) of your visit to hang out at Duffy’s.

I also would take advantage of your time in Florida and see as many Mets “road” spring training games as possible at other nearby complexes. We went to a couple of Mets-Nationals games at the Nats’ spring training home.

They share that ballpark with the Houston Astros, and we saw a Mets-Astros game there as well. I was actually in attendance for the infamous moment when Josh Reddick crashed into Pete Alonso at first base and, well, flopped.

This may have been due to my lack of spring training finesse, but I felt like player autographs were much easier to get at the Nats’ spring training park than at the Mets’ stadium. At the Nats’ ballpark, I stood right by the field-level railing and easily got autographs from Mickey Callaway, Dilson Herrera (remember him?), and J.D. Davis.

At the Mets’ park, it didn’t seem like I could be by the front railings unless I had a ticket for that section. All this is to say, even at an “away” spring training game, you can still get autographs from your team’s players, so be persistent.

However, I was able to get a close-up view of Mets players by attending the early-morning practices at their spring complex, which fans are allowed to watch. These open practices usually start at around 9:30 am and go until about 10:30 or 11 am, though these times may certainly vary. This I would HIGHLY suggest doing, as it allows you to get a great glimpse of your favorite players from mere feet away while they run, do various drills, and maybe do some pitching or batting practice.

I remember hanging out by the fence right where Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and several other Mets pitchers were taking bunting practice. I also recall how the entire group of fans at that morning workout migrated to wherever deGrom was standing, and showered him with calls of “deGoat,” “Congrats on the Cy Young,” and simply “I love you,” which was a lot of fun.

I also really appreciated the fun, hopeful banter that I overheard between Mets fans. Spring training is where the real baseball die-hards hang out, and I got the vibe that everyone around me was an especially passionate Mets fan who knew a lot about the team.

If you’re attending Mets spring training, have fun interacting with the fans around you, either at the morning workouts or the games themselves. You never know what stories people might have about previous spring trainings, player sightings, or remarkable baseball moments they witnessed live.

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Spring training games may not have the same intensity as regular season games, but the overall atmosphere of spring training is nothing short of magical. If you have a few days in February or March to make the trip down to Florida and watch the Amazins prepare for the 2020 season, you’re in for the time of your life.

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