There is nothing in all of American sport quite like baseball’s spring training. This annual six-week ritual, whose origins date back nearly a century and a half, fires the hearts and imaginations of fans who flock by the hundreds of thousands to glimpse superstars and living legends in a relaxed moment and watch the drama of journeyman veterans and starry-eyed kids in search of that last spot on the bench.
Under the March Sun recounts for the first time the full and fascinating history of spring training and its growth from a shoestring-budget roadtrip to burn off winter calories into a billion-dollar-a-year business. In the early days southern hotels only reluctantly admitted ballplayers–and only if they agreed not to mingle with other guests. Today cities fight for teams by spending millions in public money to build ever-more-elaborate spring-training stadiums.
An entertaining cultural history that taps into the romance of baseball even as it reveals its more hard-nosed commercial machinations, Under the March Sun shows why spring training draws so many fans southward every March. While the prices may be growing and the intimacy and accessibility shrinking, they come because the sunshine and sense of hope are timeless.
“A revealing combination of sports and business history. Written in brisk, engaging prose, it sheds light from an unusual angle on American society, from demographic changes through race relations on to park construction in all its dimensions.” — The Boston Globe
“Fountain has written that rare baseball book that also serves as a cultural history. Under the March Sun has so much atmosphere that you can smell the cocoa butter as you read.” — San Francisco Chronicle