Grapefruit Sports League Venues – Best Western Hotels

  

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Spring Training Venues

You know its spring when all of the MLB teams from across the country head to Florida to practice, train, and get ready for the upcoming baseball season. Known as the Grapefruit League, catch your favorite team in action down south from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic.

There are 14 stadiums and ballparks around Florida that host different major league teams. Watch the Yankees at bat in Tampa’s Steinbrenner Field, or their rival Mets at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie.  The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins share a spring training filed at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. While the Boston Red Sox take the field at JetBlue Park, AKA Fenway South in Fort Myers. Catch the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, or follow the Philadelphia Phillies to Clearwater, Florida’s Spectrum Field. Treat the family to a day at your favorite ballpark or hop around the state to see them all.

Champion Stadium

Once known as Cracker Jack Stadium, Champion Stadium opened in 1997 in Lake Buena Vista as a part of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Atlanta Braves are them major resident at the park, using it as their Spring Training home, and the home field of their Minor League affiliate, the Gulft Coast League Braves.

Seating 9,500 fans, Champion Stadium features sterling views of all the baseball action, and a gorgeous grass playing surface. Travel into the Orlando area and explore – there are few things more fun for a family outing than America's pastime.

Joker Marchant Stadium

Set in the pleasant city of Lakeland, Joker Marchant Stadium is one of the premier baseball parks in the Orlando area. Built in 1966, Joker Marchant Stadium seats 8,500 fans, was renovated in 2003, and features an all natural, grass playing surface. During the spring, the Detroit Tigers call Joker Marchant Stadium their home for Spring Training – don't miss out on exciting Grapefruit League action.

The Lakeland Flying Tigers are the full-time resident at Joker Marchant Stadium. As the Advanced-A Level Minor League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, the Flying Tigers play games from April through September – make the drive in from Auburndale, to the south, or from Tampa, to the west. Joker Marchant Stadium also plays host to the Gulf Coast Tigers, the Rookie Level Minor League affiliate of the Major League ball club.

Osceola County Stadium

Florida visitors in the Orlando area, have a variety of attractions from which to choose in Kissimmee – head to the Osceola County Stadium for a day at the ballpark. This wonderful 5,300-seat stadium is the location for the Houston Astros spring training games, as well as the home field for the Gulf Coast League Astros minor league baseball team, a Rookie-level affiliate of the Houston Astros.

Although it's the smallest stadium in the Grapefruit League, it has been recognized as one of the best "fan friendly" stadiums in the league. Fans love hanging out in the stadium's Autograph Alley, ready for players' signatures.

In addition to baseball games, Osceola County Stadium has also hosted concerts, amateur tournaments, and private events in the party deck space.

Space Coast Stadium

Built in 1994, Space Coast Stadium is a ballpark located in Viera – just south of Cocoa and Cocoa Beach in east central Florida. The ballpark primarily serves as homefield to the MLB's Washington Nationals during spring training and Grapefruit League competition.

In addition to Grapefruit League action, the minor league Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League call Space Coast home. Likewise, the Gulf Coast League Nationals, the rookie level minor league affiliate for the Washington Nationals, also play their home games at the stadium.

Tradition Field

Opened in 1988, Tradition Field is a multi-use stadium located in Port Saint Lucie. The stadium is primarily the home of the New York Mets during their spring training activities held every March, as they take on other members of the MLB Grapefruit League.

The stadium doubles – no pun intended – as the home ballpark of the St. Lucie Mets Class A MiLB team and the Gulf Coast Mets Rookie League team. The park is a mainstay for MLB spring training, held throughout east-central Florida.

Bright House Networks Field

The sunny Gulf Coast of Florida is home to Clearwater, the smallest city in the Tampa & West Central Florida area. Since 2004, this lively city has hosted spring training baseball games for Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field.

This beautiful 8,500-seat baseball park also hosts home games for the Clearwater Threshers, a minor league team in the Florida State League and High-A affiliate for the Philadelphia Phillies. Enjoy a fun day of baseball with family and friends.

As you cheer on the Phillies, let the kids play in the children's play area in the left field corner of the 360-degree concourse. Make your way to the Tiki Pavilion near the left field wall, to enjoy your favorite beer, wine or mixed drink, while watching the game.

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium

Although the Coastal city of Dunedin is small, it offers visitors a wonderful variety of options for sunny fun along Tampa and west central Florida region. Dunedin is home to Dunedin Brewery, the oldest microbrewery in Florida, Caladesi Island State Park, and the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. This fine stadium is home field for the Toronto Blue Jays' spring training games.

Since 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have played their spring training games in Dunedin. Grant Field was the original ballpark for their games from 1977 to 1989. In 1990, Dunedin Stadium was constructed on the same location, replacing Grant Field. Throughout the years, renovations and improvements have been made to the 5,510-seat stadium and facilities. It was renamed the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in 2010.

Steinbrenner Field

Each spring since 1996, Steinbrenner Field has been the location for the New York Yankees spring training games. The Tampa Yankees, the minor league baseball team from the Florida State League, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the New York Yankees, also play their home games in the Tampa stadium.

In 2008, this 11,000-seat stadium, originally named Legends Field, was renamed for former Tampa resident and Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner. While visiting this replica of the old Yankee stadium, be sure to view the life-size bronze statue of Steinbrenner and make your way to the Legends Room to browse the selection of Yankees memorabilia.

Roger Dean Stadium

Baseball is alive and well in the southern Florida town of Jupiter. The Jupiter Lighthouse may be one of the landmarks of the town, along with the Palm Beach International Raceway, but the Roger Dean Stadium Complex is where baseball fans flock.

The St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, have played their spring training games in the 6,871-seat stadium since it was built in 1998. In 2003, Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins also joined the Cardinals, to play their spring training games in Roger Dean Stadium. It remains the only stadium in Florida to host two Major League Baseball teams' spring training games.

This fine complex is also the only stadium in the United States to host four minor league teams – the Gulf Coast Marlins, the Gulf Coast Cardinals, the Jupiter Hammerheads, and the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Charlotte Sports Park

Since 2009, Charlotte Sports Park has been the home field for Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays spring training games. This fine stadium is also home to the Charlotte Stone Crabs, the Minor League Baseball team Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Gulf Coast Rays minor league baseball team.

Even before the Tampa Bay Rays entertained baseball fans in the stadium, the stadium was the home field for the Charlotte Rangers, the Texas Rangers' minor league affiliate. Whether enjoying baseball action, attending a local festival, or enjoying a concert, this is an ideal venue for a number of Gulf Coast events.

Ed Smith Stadium

Found just inland of the Gulf of Mexico, Ed Smith Stadium is a sterling example among MLB Spring Training facilities in Florida. With Sarasota as it's backdrop, Ed Smith Stadium is the spring home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Built in 1989, Ed Smith Stadium originally was the spring home of the Chicago White Sox up to 1997 when the Cincinnati Reds took over. The Reds resided there until 2008 when in moved the Orioles. During the spring, when traveling around southwest Florida, head into Sarasota and visit Ed Smith Stadium.

Hammond Stadium

The Gulf Coast city of Fort Myers has hosted Major League Baseball's spring training games since 1925 with the Philadelphia A's. The Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Kansas City Royals soon followed suit, and played their spring training games in Fort Myers.

By 1991, Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins began playing Spring Training games in the 7,500-seat Hammond Stadium – located in the 80-acre Lee County Sports Complex. Set on the southwest Florida Gulf Coast, this fine ballpark was named in honor of William H. Hammond.

Not only do baseball fans watch the Minnesota Twins, they can also catch the Fort Myers Miracle – the Class A Advanced minor league baseball team and affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Make your way to the Beer Garden, located near the third base concourse, and choose from 18 beers on tap during the game.

jetBlue Park

Officially opened on March 3, 2012, just in time for Grapefruit League Spring Training, jetBlue Park is set in Fort Myers along the Gulf Coast of Florida. The Spring Training home of the Boston Red Sox, jetBlue Park is also known affectionately as Fenway South, because it's dimensions are nearly exact as those of the real Fenway Park in Boston.

Travel through Fort Myers in late February through March and check out the Red Sox play Spring Training games at jetBlue Park. After the spring season ends, check out the other resident at jetBlue Park, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox – Boston's Rookie League affiliate.

McKechnie Field

Throughout the years, the city of Bradenton in west central Florida has hosted numerous baseball games in "Florida's Fenway Park." McKechnie Field, originally named City Park, opened in 1923 east of the current baseball field. It was the home field for the Bradenton Growers of the Florida State League and the training location for the St. Louis Cardinals.

By 1993, major renovations were done to the ballpark, including moving it to its current location, south of Bradenton. In 1927, the ballpark was named Ninth Street Park, followed by another name change in 1948, to become Braves Field.

By 1962, it was named after former Bradenton resident Bill McKechnie, a baseball player, manager and coach. McKechnie Field has hosted spring training games for the National League's Philadelphia Phillies, American League's Boston Red Sox, National League's Boston Bees (now the Atlanta Braves), American League's Kansas City Athletics and finally, National League's Pittsburgh Pirates.