Posts Tagged With: spring training home

Ballpark Village ready for Opening Day

Maybe the coolest thing happening to a baseball organization at the moment, the Cardinals have announced that the opening of Busch Stadium Ballpark Village is slated for April 7, also known as Opening Day.

According to cardinals.com, “Ballpark Village is a mixed-use retail, entertainment, office and residential district being developed in partnership by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies. Spanning seven city blocks on the 10-acre site just north of Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village will be the country’s first fully integrated mixed-use development designed to deliver the excitement and energy of the game day experience to a new neighborhood outside the stadium walls.”

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cardinals.com The three-story bar/restaurant/museum looking into Busch Stadium.

This village is being built in partnership with Anheuser-Busch to showcase the heritage that the brewing company has in St. Louis and with the Cardinals. The $100 million first phase includes a three-story restaurant with a Cardinal-themed museum that also has rooftop seating looking directly into Busch Stadium. (pictured right)

Another part of Phase 1 includes a two-story Budweiser Brew House that also has rooftop seating looking into Busch Stadium. With German-inspired cuisine and more than 100 beers on tap, this will be a hot-spot for Cardinal fans to enjoy a meal and beer while having access to prime seating to watch the Cardinals play.(pictured below)

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cardinals.com The Budweiser Brew House

Across the street from Busch Stadium on Clark Street will be the first Cardinal themed bar and restaurant, also holding a Cardinal Hall-of-Fame museum. Named ‘Cardinal Nation’, this three-story building also offers rooftop seating that allows the fans to view the game from Clark Street.

Located in the heart of Ballpark Village, is FOX Sports Midwest Live! The 20,000 square foot entertainment marketplace has a open gathering area with a 40-foot TV

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cardinals.com The FOX Sports Midwest Live! Marketplace

screen with impressive audio providing another optimal place to view the Cardinal game. Overlooking this marketplace on the second floor is a FOX Sports studio.

The final part of Phase 1 is the PBR St. Louis Cowboy Bar. This country-themed bar is the eighth PBR bar in the country. It is an impressive sports bar that will also have live entertainment. With plenty of TV’s to watch the Cardinal games, this Cowboy bar will be the only PBR establishment in St. Louis.

With this amazing new part of St. Louis coming together, Opening Day can not come soon enough. We can’t forget the actual baseball game, however, and the Cardinals have given young Michael Wacha the nod to start the first game of the season on April 7 vs. the Reds. The young star from Iowa has picked up where he left off last season, winning three of his four games started in spring training. He has a dazzling 1.76 ERA, only allowing three runs in 15 1/3 innings pitched. He also has 17 strikeouts to only three walks. Add all these outstanding stats together, and you earn a trip to the mound for Opening Day baseball.

Matt Mattia

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Peoria, Ariz. (Padres)

Peoria, Ariz., is the home of the San Diego Padres for the spring training season.  There are many things to do in Peoria, whether hiking trails, playing golf or seeing a show. Some of the Padres’ players go golfing during the day when they have a night game. Other players prefer to relax at one of Peoria’s many top of the line hotels after a hard day of practice.  Peoria has a wide range of activities for its visitors from enjoying the natural sights, to seeing the Padres’ players at the golf course or hotels. This town was meant for spring training.

                                                                                 – Zack Buckwald 

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Port Charlotte, Fla. (Rays)

The Tampa Bay Rays began spring training in Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla.  on Feb. 13. While there’s no news of a team outing for the Rays, The Bell Tower Shops were a hang out for the players and fans in past years. Players told the Tampa Bay Times they were excited for the upcoming season.

The Rays switched from Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg to Charlotte Sports Park in 2009 in an effort to boost interest in spring training, which was successful.  They play regular home games at Tropicana Field.

-H.R. Gordon

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Viera, Fla. (Nationals)

Washington Nationals hold spring training at Space Coast Stadium in Stadium Parkway in Viera, Fla. Not only is the stadium the training facility for the Nationals in the spring, but it is also the regular season facility for the Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League.  

The Nationals have trained here since 2003. Space Coast Stadium can seat up to 8,100 fans, with seats good enough to give fans a great view of the field. When the Nationals decide to take a break, they can visit the Delray Beach, Clearwater Beach or Sanibel Island. Hot spots are always the place to be! Stay tuned!

-Vonna Simmons

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Scottsdale Arizona (Giants)

The Giants are spending their spring in beautiful Scottsdale, Ariz., where they will have a great view of the Camelback Mountains while they train. They have been spending their springs in Scottsdale since 1984, so the players are familiar with the area.  While there, the team will  be able to visit the many local attractions, such as  the Scottsdale Fashion Square, an upscale shopping mall, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona’s only permanent museum, and the Scottsdale Gun Club, which boasts the largest shooting range in the United States.   Scottsdale is also only 20 minutes away from Phoenix, so some players choose to spend what little free time they have there.

-Bradley Wigsten

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Scottsdale, Arizona (Diamondbacks and Rockies)

The Colorado Rockies and

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Rockies.com photo

Arizona Diamondbacks share the home of the first Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training facility built on Indian land in the nation, known as Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

 

The 11,000-seat capacity ballpark was a product of the partnership between Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the two MLB teams.  The 140 acres shared in the partnership contains 12 practice fields, office buildings, major and minor league clubhouses, training facilities, offices for each team, and endless views of the surrounding mountains including Camelback, McDowell, Four Peaks, Red, and Superstition.

The spring training facility is special because both teams are working hand-in-hand with the surrounding Native American community.  The field shows diversity and the culture and values of Pima and Maricopa Indian tribes shine through.  In fact, Salt River Fields is the first Major League Baseball spring training facility to be built on Indian land in the whole nation.  Hopefully the training facility won’t be the only thing standing out this season.

Located in the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is annually rated among the nation’s most desirable communities to live in visit and do business in, according to ScottsdaleAZ.gov.

Some of the local attractions of Scottsdale are Scottsdale Fashion Square, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, AZ on the Rocks, which is Arizona’s largest indoor climbing gym. Other attractions include Casino Arizona, Dave & Busters, Queen Creek Olive Mill and Octane Raceway, which offers go-karting, billiards, arcades, rock-climbing walls and restaurants.

Kiara Catanzaro and Casandra Nguyen

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Peoria, Ariz. (Mariners)

MLB.com photo

MLB.com photo

The Seattle Mariners are training in Peoria, Ariz., at the Peoria Sports Complex. The Mariners share this premier complex with the San Diego Padres. The complex, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013, is 150 acres large. This allows each team to have six major league sized practice fields, many half fields, a 55,000 square foot clubhouse, both indoor and outdoor batting tunnels and cages and an 11,000-seat stadium.

Peoria, a town of 160,000 populates, is extremely warm and dry this time of year, with temperatures currently ranging from 80-90 degrees. However, these hot conditions do not stop visitors and players from enjoying what the suburb has to offer.

When people are not hanging out at the sports complex, there are numerous daytime activities. Peoria has many elite golf courses, including the Quintero Golf Club. Families are also able to visit the Arizona Broadway Theatre or the Rio Vista Recreation Center.

The nightlife in Peoria is not to be overlooked either. There are several fun bars, which range from Mexican themed dance clubs like Sandbar Mexican Grill to American sports bars like The Heights Sports Bar. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be able to spot some of the Mariners hanging out at one of these hot spots.

Laura Meyers

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Tampa, Fla. (Yankees)

The New York Yankees have found a new home for spring training.  Forty American League and Twenty Seven World Championships! The stars of today and tomorrow are training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Regarded as one of the finest Spring Training in the country, George M. Steinbrenner Field is also home to the Florida State League Tampa Yankees.

Some of the attractions at the new Yankees training field include the bright house network dugout club, the blues crew kid club, and the legend room. The Bright House Networks Dugout Club is a private club during spring training and is reserved for seat holders in the Club seating area behind home plate. The Bright House Networks Dugout Club is available year round for rental for private parties and meetings.

The Blues Crew Kids Club is for kids.  According to the Steinbrener website  “For $10 kids get into every Monday night home game free, and get a free hot dog, chips, and soda. They will also get a personalized ID card, fan fun pack, members only VIP stadium tour, a discount at the Tampa Yankees team store and the oppor-tunity to run the bases after every Monday night home game.”  http://www.steinbrennerfield.com/yankeespavillion.html 

The Legends Room gift shop sells all of the latest New York Yankees and Tampa Yankees apparel and accessories.  Another bonus that people love and will bring the New York Yankee field to Steinbrener field is the Jumbotron messages.   According to the Steinbrener website  “If you would like a birthday, anniversary, or other special event mentioned on our jumbotron,  the scoreboard page on the steinbrener  website allows one  to down load a message form. Each message re-quest is $40 and made payable to the New York Yankees Tampa Foundation.”

http://www.steinbrennerfield.com/yankeespavillion.html 

 

Tristan King

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Bradenton, Fla. (Pirates)

Bucs

mlb.com photo

 

Bradenton, Fla. is the place. Pittsburgh Pirates is the team. Baseball is the game. Need it be any more complicated than that?

McKechnie Field, named after Pittsburgh native and former Bradenton resident and Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, will host the Bucs in their second spring training since its significant renovation last year. Fans and visitors can look forward to a 19,000 square foot boardwalk that offers both an incredible walk around the outfield and an all-you-can-eat picnic at the Boardwalk Barbecue Area. Additional dining can be found across the ballpark at the Left Field Party Deck, and it’s top-notch menu is certainly no downgrade.

Pittsburgh has held its spring training in 16 different sites since 1900, but the 2013 upgrades that followed those made in 2006 and the early 1990s suggest that McKechnie Field will house the Pirates for years to come. After all, it attracted an attendance in its final game last spring that shattered the records of any before it. The one flaw in the facility is the lack of an official parking lot, making it the only field in the Grapefruit League with this issue. Still, enough friendly business and homeowners– and an advantageous grassy field just outside the centerfield fence– have prevented the absent lot from causing any chaos.

The stadium’s upgrades also provide fans with improvements in field visibility, expanded restroom facilities, new concession locations and an enlarged Fan Plaza. The enormous palm trees that now surround the stadium perfect the tropical look that makes spring training so magical. Since the Pirate ship landed in Bradenton in 1969, McKechnie Field has built itself up to be one of the finest facilities in all of baseball.

Beyond the walls of the stadium, Bradenton is an industrial town that makes its age very obvious to the naked eye. Only some of the buildings have been modernized, with the others maintaining the early 1900s look that’s especially concentrated in the Manatee Village Historical Park just a few miles from McKechnie Field.   There are several hotels and even more restaurants for residents and Pittsburgh roadies to choose from. A few museums and state parks provide additional potential for something to do. However, as springtrainingconnection.com puts it, “the only reason to be in this part of town is the ballgame.”

As for the players, the convenient location on the coast of a peninsula puts them right on the beach. South Florida is an ideal place to relax and soak up some sun. When they’re not on the field, the players can plant their butts in a chair next to the ocean and breathe the non-Pittsburghian (clean) air.  I’m sure they do it a bit more luxurious, though. Yachts, beach house parties, expensive meals– am I rambling?

Regardless of what they do in their leisure, there’s no doubt the Pirates will be ready for baseball come February 26. Aye-aye Bucs!

 

Vinnie Bellardini

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Clearwater, Fla. (Phillies)

The Philadelphia Phillies are in Clearwater, Fla., for spring training once again. The Phillies have been training in Clearwater since 1948. In 2002, Clearwater and the Phillies broke ground constructing a new stadium. The team has practiced at the new “Bright House Field” ever since. The stadium holds a capacity of 8,500 people. There are group picnic areas, party suites and Club seats in the ballpark. There is also a kids play area and expansive team store.

Clearwater has a population of 108,732 people. There are many hotspots and recommended restaurants in the city. Wave Night Club and Backyard Tiki bar are some of the most popular. Britt’s Island Grill is another, along with Yacht Starship dinner cruise. Some attractions Clearwater has are a Super Boat Festival and Pier 60 Park. The park has free family events that feature artisans, crafters, street performers and musical entertainment every night.

-Laura Camera

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