Phillies Harper Baseball

Bryce Harper smiles after putting on a Philadelphia Phillies jersey during a news conference at the team's spring training baseball facility, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Clearwater, Fla. Harper and the Phillies agreed to a $330 million, 13-year contract, the largest deal in baseball history. 

With all the hype over Bryce Harper joining the Philadelphia Phillies, wouldn't it be cool to get a first look at the star player?

Jana Tidwell with AAA Mid-Atlantic recommended Delawareans head south to Clearwater, Florida, for some last-minute fun.

"I think everyone is just about done with winter, the cold, the snow, the ice, and there are more than three weeks of spring training games left in Florida before Bryce Harper makes his debut in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park. Traveling to Florida over the next few weeks is a great option--not only to see the Philadelphia Phillies, but as a getaway to some fun and some warmth in the Florida sunshine," said Tidwell.  

Tidwell said while people always get excited for the start of baseball season with spring training, this time around it's different.

"There is definitely some renewed energy in the city, and people just can't wait for baseball season. The fact that we have had such a dreary and cold miserable winter here--that is another draw for people over the next few weeks to head to Florida to to take in some sunshine and to welcome Bryce Harper to Philadelphia," she said.  

The fastest way to get out Florida is to fly.

"If you want to travel this coming weekend--just because you're in that seven day window--you will find airfares to be more expensive; however, if you can plan your trip 10 days, 14 days, 20 days out or so, you'll find more reasonable fares about $300 to $350 for a direct flight, but if you're willing to make a connection somewhere, you can find a flight up to $200 round-trip," said Tidwell. 

There's plenty of availability--though, if you want to get there this weekend, just be ready to shell out some big bucks--to the tune of $800 round-trip for the short, two-and-a-half hour flight. But before you splurge on that--public service announcement: something we preach on JetSet--two people can fly to Europe round trip for that kind of money.  

Driving is a cheaper alternative. Can anybody say road trip!?

"It can be a very good time, it is about 1,100 miles from our area, and could take about 20 hours to do; however, it can be a good time, great memories for family and friends," said Tidwell.

But make sure you have your car checked out before you embark on the trip.

"[Check] your car battery, your tires, all the fluids, windshield wipers, those kinds of things. Understand what the weather's going to look like along your route so you have what you need and always pack a vehicle emergency kit because no one ever thinks they're going to get stuck in traffic [or break down]...but having jumper cables, a flashlight, non-perishable snack foods, some extra clothes, those kinds of things can definitely help in that situation." 

It's not exactly on the I-95 route, but if you're willing to go a little out of your way, a fun major city to check out and spend the night that's about half-way into your journey is Charlotte, North Carolina. There, sports fans can catch a Charlotte Hornets game or walk the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 

There's also the Carolinas Aviation Museum, the Sea Life Charlotte Concord Aquarium, and the some good bargains to be found at the Charlotte Premium Outlets.

No matter your budget, once you get to Clearwater, you'll be able to find accommodations.

"There are hotels close to the airport; the airport there is about 20 minutes from Spectrum Field, where the Phillies play. You can get hotels for $150-$179 a night," said Tidwell. 

AAA members can get a discount of up to 15 percent on tickets to Phillies spring training games on Ticket Monster, but act soon, the Bryce Harper hype is real and demand is likely to rise.  

If a last-minute trip to Florida just isn't in the budget, stay home, we've got you covered. You can catch the Sunday's Phillies spring training game on 101.7 FM and 1150 AM WDEL at 1 p.m.  For more information on Phillies spring training, click here.  

Amy Cherry is the Assistant News Director and an investigative journalist at WDEL. She joined WDEL's award-winning news team in 2010 from WBZ Newsradio 1030 in Boston and has received national accolades for reporting.