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Spring is good time to watch baseball



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Spring is good timeto watch baseball

NEW YORK -- Some travelers head south to the beach as winter gives way to spring. Others use their travels this time of year to seek out wildlife or blooming flowers.

But for baseball fans, a vacation in March wouldn't be complete without watching a favorite team gear up for opening day.

Spring training for major league baseball starts March 1 and continues through April 3, with training camps located throughout Florida and Arizona. You can watch the Pirates against the Yankees in Tampa on March 3, or the Diamondbacks against the White Sox in Tucson on March 4. Other locations include St. Petersburg, Winter Haven, Fort Myers, Port St. Lucie, Sarasota and Kissimmee in Florida, and Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale in Arizona.

Most tickets are well under $20 and the stadiums are smaller than the teams' home arenas, so spectators have a more intimate view of the game. Ardent fans also may be rewarded with an additional thrill usually unavailable at big-league showdowns -- the chance to meet the players, who tend to be more accessible during spring training than they are once the regular season begins.

For a complete list of teams, schedules, locations and ticket information, log on to www.mlb.com or contact your local team or Ticketmaster.

Buffalo Bill center offers family package

CODY, Wyo. -- The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is hoping to boost attendance by luring more people from nearby Yellowstone National Park.

For $40, one or two parents plus their children younger than 17 can visit the BBHC under its new family package.

"We're trying to aim at younger families, 35 and younger," BBHC Director Bob Shimp said.

BBHC attendance in 2004 dropped almost 7 percent. The park declined less, 4 percent, but the East Entrance was off about 17 percent.

The center's facilities include the Buffalo Bill Museum, which interprets Bill Cody's life in the context of the American West; the Whitney Gallery of Western Art; the Plains Indian Museum; the Cody Firearms Museum, which boasts the "world's most comprehensive assemblage of American arms," and the Draper Museum of Natural History, which focuses on the ecosystem of the Yellowstone area. The historical center is 52 miles from Yellowstone via the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway.

For more information, visit www.bbhc.org or call (307) 587-4771.

Michigan trail networkcaters to bikers

BRIGHTON, Mich. -- By the mile and sometimes by the yard, the Michigan Mountain Biking Association is knitting a statewide network of trails for themselves and others.

The association's 2,000 active members not only ride Michigan's trails year-round, but also build, maintain and oversee trails throughout the state, according to the Detroit Free Press. They also teach classes in erosion-free trail building and, increasingly, do work that the state and local recreation departments can't afford. Members soon will build a new trail link in Oakland County's Addison Oaks park, near Lake Orion.

Mountain-bike and rails-to-trails groups have joined with the Michigan Department of Transportation to form the Metro Region Nonmotorized Advisory Committee.

The new group intends to attack problems such as trails that make their way through suburban areas, only to be virtually severed where they meet busy roads.

For more information about the Michigan Mountain Biking Association's programs and events, visit www.mmba.org.

Vindicator wire services




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