It won’t be long until spring training baseball makes its annual Florida appearance. Anyone who is a baseball aficionado, or simply enjoys a relaxing day at the ballpark has to welcome the return of the veterans and eternal hopefuls. There’s nothing like spring training to see players, managers and coaches up close. And, it’s a lot cheaper than regular season games.
From Marco Island and environs it’s a special treat to motor to Fort Myers to see either the Minnesota Twins or Boston Red Sox. Both teams are favorites down here because so many folks are transplants, seasonal residents or tourists from the northeast and Midwest.
There’s an extra treat this year. The Red Sox have built JetBlue Park, the $78 million Fenway South Complex in Fort Myers. The new ballpark seats 10,000 (compared with 7,576 seats in the old City of Palms ballpark). The dimensions of the new stadium are identical to venerable Fenway Park in Boston, long time home of the fabled Red Sox. The field also duplicates the famous “Green Monster“ left field wall and an old fashioned manual scoreboard.
Spring training kicks off in Fort Myers on March 3rd when the Tampa Bay Rays visit the Twins at Hammond Field, and Northeastern University plays the Red Sox at JetBlue Park. The Twins and Sox will play each other, and there will also be appearances by the Baltimore Orioles, champion St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals and local Fort Myers Miracle.
The newly designed www.floridag rapefruitleague.com website has current information about schedules, ticket information and stadium directions. Through the site fans can order complimentary copies of the 2012 Florida Spring Training Guide.