Here's my notion of a perfect day: the first of March, and I'm sitting in the bleachers in Goodyear, Arizona watching the Cleveland Indians play an exhibition game against the Colorado Rockies. Afterward, I'll get some Mexican food and drive out into the desert to watch the sun set. Tomorrow morning, perhaps a little golf.

Baseball spring training is gearing up in Florida and Arizona, and with air fares down and hotels suffering a downturn in tourism, this would be a great year to head to the sunshine to watch the boys of summer whet their skills.

The Bradenton Herald recently gathered together some tips for saving money on your baseball jones.

1. If spring training home tickets for your favorite team are pricey, follow them on the road. Watching the Yankees at home in Tampa starts at $17. Follow them to McKetchnie Field in Bradenton to play the Pirates and you can get in for $8. Some stadiums also sell 'berm' tickets, general admission tickets for the grassy areas beyond the grandstands.

2. Bring your own items for the players to autograph; the stuff for sale at the souvenir stands is very overpriced.

3. Eat before or after the game. Some restaurants in the area offer discounts to those who can show a ticket for the day's game.

4. Scope out free parking or identify the nearest bus stops.

5. Check with your local travel agent about special excursion packages. Then check that price against what you can put together yourself.

If you make it to Goodyear this year, tell the boys that this is our year. Go, Tribe!

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