|Published:||Dec 13, 2011 5:34 AM EST|
|Updated:||Dec 14, 2011 4:50 AM EST|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The calendar may say December, but baseball fans are already starting to think spring.
Fans have started lining up to be the first to pick up spring training tickets for the Red Sox, which go on sale on Saturday morning.
The new Jet Blue Park opens off Daniels Parkway in February, but the ticket counters aren't quite ready, so fans are still lining up here at the team's old home at City of Palms Park.
Derek DeArmond has been one of the first in line for spring training tickets for 11 years.
"The last probably two or three weeks, everybody wants to be my buddy. 'Hey can you get me these tickets,'" DeArmond said.
This year, he brought his son, a soldier home for his first spring training in years, and his son's friend. They staked out their spot on Sunday, almost a full a week before tickets go on sale.
"There's a small group of us, usually have a friendly rivalry see who gets up front," DeArmond said.
They're not exactly roughing it out there.
"We've got generators, we've got an a/c machine we can set up in here if it gets real hot."
Veteran ticket campers like these have even come up with their own rules over the years.
"We have a four hour rule," DeArmond explained. "You can go anywhere in Lee County in four hours and come back, and don't have to worry about your spot in line."
But this year will be bittersweet, a last hurrah for the ticket camping tradition at City of Palms. While these fans will miss the intimacy of this stadium, the excitement this year is all about the new beginnings for the Sox, and the new Jet Blue Park.
"Here we get our own mini green monster," DeArmond said. "It'll be a whole new ballgame."
Fans are limited to eight tickets with each trip to the window. DeArmond says he plans to get his seats for the Yankees and St. Patrick's day games, then head to the back of the line to start all over again.
Ticket windows open at 10am on Saturday.
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