Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and cash: spring training is here - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and cash: spring training is here

By Lindsay Cohen email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) -- Who's on first, what's on second... and how much is being made behind the ticket window?

That's the question local business and city leaders are asking, as Major League Baseball spring training kicks off in Jupiter and Port St. Lucie on Wednesday.

"I just love coming out to Florida," said 10 year-old baseball fan Nick Ptak, in town from New York. "Seeing the Marlins, Cardinals and Mets -- it's always been my thing, for six years straight."

Fans started camping out at Roger Dean Stadium early Wednesday morning, hoping to have players sign baseball cards, photos, and jerseys.

Some estimate that spring training brings about 450-million dollars to Florida's economy. This year, however, a large piece of that is missing.

Vero Beach is without the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time in 61 years, after the team left for a new training facility in Arizona.

"It's unfortunate," said baseball fan Richie Nestro. "A lot of teams are moving out of Florida now and to Arizona, and I think it's gonna hurt Florida if they don't keep the teams they have."

Local shops and restaurants in Vero say business is down, and some wonder how they will survive. They are also hoping city and county leaders might be able to draw another big team to train at Dodgertown.

Meantime, the Marlins take on the Cardinals at 1:05 pm Wednesday in Jupiter. Games run through April 4th.

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