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Fantasy Baseball Camp: Training Like a Yankee, Part 1

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Many people head to Florida for spring training, but in January it’s also fantasy baseball camp week: seven days where participants can become a 10-year-old once again. Contributor Roy Berger, a New York Yankee fan, will be blogging his experiences on and off the field this week. 

Woke up this morning and for a minute I thought it was July 1, 1966. Back on those July dates from 1966-69, I woke up with an unmistakable feeling: Camp begins today!

Camp in the 1960’s was in an outpost known as Woodbourne, New York about 2 hours from our Long Island home. The camp last year was in Lakeland, Florida–a long way from anywhere.

Those summers still resonate today. When I decided to be a kid again 2years ago–January 17, 2010–I woke up with the same feeling I had in 1965. How did I get into this and how do I get out of it? I even had a return trip booked that night from Bradenton, Florida just in case.

Fantasy baseball camp––a long unrealized dream for me––beckoned as my wife pushed me to go. It was Pittsburgh Pirates camp, a reunion of my earliest baseball memory, the 1960 World Champion Pirates, that was “‘my” team growing up.

It turned out to be a fantastic experience. So much so that I booked in again last year at the longest-running fantasy camp in the business––Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Florida. The experience wasn’t as good as the Pirates but in fairness it never had a chance. There was rain virtually every day of the week which not only shortened the ball playing but made some days really, really long.