MLB spring training: Yankees make batting practice for Judge, Stanton open for fans

In just two short weeks, the Grapefruit League and Cactus League seasons will begin in Florida and Arizona, respectively. Yeah, they're only spring training games, but they're fun in their own way. Real live baseball is only a fortnight away.

On Tuesday, the New York Yankees announced they will open the gates one hour earlier than usual for spring home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this year. Why? So fans can watch Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton take batting practice, of course. Here is the announcement from the Steinbrenner Field website:

The much anticipated 2018 Yankees Spring Training just got a little bit better. Steinbrenner Field will officially be opening 3 hours before game time (e.g. 1:05 p.m. game time, gates open at 10:05 a.m. to the public) so fans can experience the Yankees batting-practice action. Fans, be prepared to see your favorite players like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton taking BP and remember to bring your glove in case you get lucky!   

As someone who has seen Judge and Stanton take batting practice many times over the years, I assure you they are worth the price of admission individually. Getting to see both? That's quite the deal. Judge's batting practice displays are awe-inspiring. Effortless power to the deepest parts of the ballpark.

The Yankees, like most teams, open their gates two hours prior to first pitch before all games. That means fans only get to see the home team's final batting practice group, and the final group is typically reserved for bench players and players rehabbing from injuries. Not the most exciting group.

Last year MLB and the MLBPA discussed flipping batting practice for the home and road teams -- the home team takes batting practice first, then the road team gets their chance -- allowing fans to see the home team take their hacks before games. Those discussions never went anywhere and the home team first, road team second system remained in place.

For now the Yankees are opening gates three hours prior to first pitch for spring training games only. It is unclear if they will do the same during the regular season.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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