Ed Smith Stadium

Ed Smith Stadium is a baseball field located in Sarasota, Florida. Since 2010, it has been the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Ed Smith Stadium
Ed Smith Stadium Baltimore Orioles Spring Training marquee sign
Location2700 12th Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
Coordinates27°20′52″N 82°31′2″W / 27.34778°N 82.51722°WCoordinates: 27°20′52″N 82°31′2″W / 27.34778°N 82.51722°W
OwnerSarasota County
OperatorBaltimore Orioles
Capacity8,500
Field sizeLeft – 333 ft (101 m)
Left Center – 366 ft (112 m)
Center – 400 ft (120 m)
Right Center – 374 ft (114 m)
Right – 339 ft (103 m).
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Opened1989
Renovated2011
ArchitectPopulous Original Structure
David M Schwarz Architects, Inc Renovation
Structural engineerBliss & Nyitray, Inc (renovation)
Tenants
Baltimore Orioles (spring training) (1991, 2010–present)
Cincinnati Reds (spring training) (1998–2009)
Chicago White Sox (spring training) (1989–1997)
Sarasota Reds (FSL) (2004–2009)
Sarasota Red Sox (FSL) (1994–2004)
Sarasota White Sox (FSL) (1989–1993)
GCL Reds (GCL) (2004–2009)
GCL Orioles (2010–present)

History

Ed Smith Stadium was built in 1989 to replace Payne Park as a Spring Training and Minor League Baseball site. It is named for the Sarasota civic leader who was instrumental in getting the new stadium built.[1] It was formerly the spring home of the Chicago White Sox (1989–1997) and the Baltimore Orioles (1991). In 1998, it replaced Plant City Stadium as the spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds remained at the facility through 2008. After Cincinnati's club moved its spring activities to Arizona, Ed Smith Stadium spent a year without major league Spring Training.[2]

The Orioles became the stadium's tenant and operator in 2010.[3] Baltimore had trained in Sarasota before—at Twin Lakes Park in 1989 and 1990, as well as at Ed Smith in 1991—before moving to St. Petersburg and then Ft. Lauderdale for spring games.[2]

From 1989 to 2009, the stadium hosted a series of Minor League Baseball teams, the Single-A Sarasota White Sox, Sarasota Red Sox, and Sarasota Reds. From 2004 until 2009, it housed the Gulf Coast League's Gulf Coast Reds. Ed Smith has also hosted high school and college baseball tournaments.

On November 1, 2008, Barack Obama gave a speech to a crowd of 10,000 spectators as part of his 2008 presidential campaign.

Renovation

Ed Smith Stadium Sarasota Florida after renovation
Ed Smith Stadium after $31 million renovation

In 2008, a planned renovation fell through when a proposed bond issue from the city of Sarasota to partially fund the renovation was rejected by the voters. The Reds, whose lease with the city and the stadium expired after the season, announced that they intend to seek a new spring training home.[4] They moved to Goodyear Ballpark, located in Arizona, in 2010.

The Baltimore Orioles reached a tentative 30-year agreement to begin spring training at Ed Smith Stadium starting in 2010 which included renovations to the stadium and surrounding areas. The $31.2 million renovation was completed prior to the beginning of spring training in February 2011.[5]

Features after renovation

Seats in the renovated stadium are refurbished seats from the Orioles' revolutionary home ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Three air-conditioned suites added to the park are numbered Suites 66, 70, and 83, corresponding to the club's three World Series championships. A fabric sun shade system extends from the stadium's original roof to nearly double the number of seats in the shade.[3]

A series of photos produced by the Orioles shows the dramatic changes resulting from the renovation.[6]

Seating is available for 7,428 spectators, with standing room space taking the park's total capacity to 8,500. Two concourses include food and beverage stands, a cafe, and a 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) gift shop. 100 high-definition televisions are located throughout the stadium and a high-definition LED video board in the outfield measures 17 feet (5.2 m) high by 30 feet (9.1 m) across.[3]

References

  1. ^ Fernandes, Doug. "Ed Smith part of Sarasota's sports fabric". Sarasota Herald. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  2. ^ a b "Baltimore Orioles Spring Training - Spring Training Online". springtrainingonline.com.
  3. ^ a b c http://mlb.mlb.com/bal/downloads/y2011/ess_fact_sheet.pdf
  4. ^ Carol E. Lee (2007-11-07). "The Reds will seek a new place to play". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  5. ^ Don Muret (2011-02-28). "Orioles' spring training home becomes a swan". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  6. ^ http://mlb.mlb.com/bal/downloads/y2011/ess_enovations.pdf

External links

Arizona League Reds

The Arizona League Reds, formerly the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Reds, are a minor league baseball team in Goodyear, Arizona. They are a Rookie-level team in the Arizona League that begin play as a Cincinnati Reds affiliate in the summer of 2010. The AZL Reds play home games at the Goodyear Ballpark. The team is composed mainly of players who are in their first year of professional baseball either as draftees or non-drafted free agents from the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and other countries.

With the announcement of the big league club moving their spring training headquarters from Sarasota, Florida to Goodyear, Arizona beginning in 2010, the former GCL Reds headed to the Arizona League for the 2010 season. The GCL Reds played home games in Sarasota, Florida, at Ed Smith Stadium.

Boog Powell

John Wesley "Boog" Powell (born August 17, 1941) is an American former professional baseball first baseman and left fielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers between 1961 and 1977. He was with the Orioles’ World Series Champion teams in 1966 and 1970, the American League Champion teams in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, and the American League East Division Champion teams in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974. The four-time All-Star won the American League's Most Valuable Player award in 1970 and in 1964 posted a .606 slugging percentage to lead the American League.

City of Palms Park

City of Palms Park is a baseball stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. It served as the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox from its opening in 1993 to 2011. The stadium was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people. It was also the home of the Red Sox Rookie team, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, from June through August. The stadium's name is taken from the city's official nickname. The City of Fort Myers occasionally uses the venue for concerts.

A crew of six is on hand during spring training to groom the Ballfields/Common grounds. Since Lee County Parks and Recreation has taken this facility over from the City of Fort Myers in 2003, the Grounds Crew has won the Ground Crew of the year award for the Red Sox Gulf Coast League in 2005 and 2007.

City of Palms Park is one of four spring training facilities in Fort Myers. The Minnesota Twins train in Hammond Stadium on the Southern end of Fort Myers. Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is not in use, however, it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. In February 2012, the Boston Red Sox moved their spring training operations into the newly constructed jetBlue Park at Fenway South located on County Road 876 (Daniels Parkway) in Fort Myers. It is also located close to Southwest Florida International Airport.

Fenway South

Fenway South is the Player Development Complex and Spring training base of the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Florida.The purpose-built training and player development complex will be used year-round by the Red Sox and its minor league farm teams — Pawtucket Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs, Salem Red Sox, Greenville Drive, and Lowell Spinners — and includes an 11,000-seat stadium and an additional six baseball fields together with training and medical facilities. As the spring training home of Red Sox it replaces nearby City of Palms Park.

The stadium within Fenway South is called jetBlue Park, through sponsorship by JetBlue Airways, which has maintained major operations at Boston's Logan International Airport since 2004.

It was officially opened by the Lee County Board of Commissioners and the Red Sox on February 25, 2012.

GRAEF

GRAEF is a private industry engineering and consulting firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, servicing civil, construction management, environmental and landscape architecture, MEP/commissioning, operations consulting, planning, structural, survey, and transportation industries. GRAEF was founded in 1961 by Luther W. Graef, Leonard Anhalt and Robert Schloemer.Based in Milwaukee, GRAEF also has offices located in Madison and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Chicago Loop and O'Hare, Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Orlando, and Miami, Florida.

Goodyear Ballpark

Goodyear Ballpark is a stadium in Goodyear, Arizona (a western suburb of Phoenix) and part of a $108 million baseball complex that is the current spring training home of the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds. The stadium opened to the public with a grand opening ceremony on February 21, 2009 and held its first Cactus League spring training baseball game on February 25, 2009. The stadium complex is owned by the city of Goodyear and contains the main field with a seating capacity of 10,311 along with several practice fields and team offices.

The main entrance of the stadium is modern and uses surfaces mimicking dark stained wood and polished metal. The entrance houses a team shop, several concession stands and is decorated with Indians posters on the 1st base side and Reds on the 3rd base side. The entrance also has a third story terrace patio that can be rented for private parties. Outside the main entrance, the concourse features a 60-foot 6 inch fiberglass statue titled "The Ziz" created by artist Donald Lipski. The main entrance structure does not interfere with the inside the stadium which is a single tier of seating. Free standing polished metal awnings with fabric shades provide shelter from the sun down the third base line. Bullpens are located off the field in left and left center field. There is a large scoreboard in left field with general admission seating on a grass berm at its base. A cinder block concession stand in center field is painted dark green to provide a backdrop for the hitters. Right field features a second grass berm and a patio seating area and bar. The patio and bar area, like the Terrace patio, can be rented for private parties. There is a child play area with a Wiffle Ball field, inflatable batting and pitching games located on the first base side of the stadium.

Goodyear Ballpark replaces Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Florida, as the Indians' spring training home, and Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, as the Reds' spring training home. The stadium is primarily used for baseball but also hosts community events such as the City of Goodyear's Star Spangled 4th, Fall Festival, and Home Plate for the Holidays.

Gulf Coast League

The Gulf Coast League is a rookie-level Minor League Baseball league that operates in Florida, United States. Together with the Arizona League, it forms the lowest rung on the North American minor-league ladder.

GCL teams play at the minor league spring training complexes of their parent Major League Baseball clubs and are owned by those parent clubs. Admission is not charged and no concessions are operated at the teams' games. The players assigned to this level are first-year players who are drafted in the MLB entry draft a few weeks prior to the start of the GCL season, and emphasis is therefore placed on skill development, rather than competitive play.

Gulf Coast League Orioles

The Gulf Coast League Orioles are a minor league baseball team that plays in the Gulf Coast League. The Orioles were originally a team from 1991–2003, but were reactivated in 2007. The Orioles play their home games in Sarasota, Florida at Ed Smith Stadium, which became the spring training home to the Orioles at the start of the 2010 season.

Gulf Coast League White Sox

The GCL White Sox were a Gulf Coast League minor league baseball team that played from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 to 1997. The club was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox.They won two league championships, in 1970 and 1977 - both under manager Joe Jones.

Kino Sports Complex

Kino Sports Complex is a multiple-use sports complex in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox formerly utilized the complex's main ballpark, Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, for Cactus League games each March and had their minor league complexes on-site. The ballpark was also home to the Tucson Sidewinders of the Pacific Coast League for the team's last decade in Tucson, running from the stadium's 1998 opening season to the 2008 season. The ballpark was a temporary home (2011–2013) to the Tucson Padres (formerly the Portland Beavers) of the Pacific Coast League during the team's relocation to El Paso, Texas. It was also the regular season home of the Pecos League's Tucson Saguaros baseball team from 2016 to 2017. It seats 11,500 fans, and hosts concerts in addition to its primary function as a baseball park.

Kino Sports Complex is also used to host soccer matches. FC Tucson of USL League One plays its home matches at the complex's North Stadium, its primary soccer stadium. The complex serves as the preseason home of Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls and host of the Desert Diamond Cup preseason soccer tournament.

List of Major League Baseball spring training cities

The following is a list of current and former Major League Baseball spring training cities.

North Florida Christian School

North Florida Christian School (NFCS) is a private Christian school located in Tallahassee, Florida that was founded as a segregation academy. The school has classes from K3 to 12th grade, and it serves students from several counties in north Florida and South Georgia.

The school is a ministry of Florida Baptist Church, formerly known as Temple Baptist Church. In 2016–2017, tuition was about $7,000.

Payne Park

Payne Park is a former baseball field from 1924 to 1990 in Sarasota, Florida. The stadium and field were built on a portion of 60 acres (0.24 km2) of land donated by Calvin Payne and his wife, Martha. Payne Park today is a 29-acre (0.12 km2) public park used for recreational events.

Plant City Stadium

Plant City Stadium is a stadium in Plant City, Florida with a capacity of about 6,000. It was built in 1988 as the new spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds, who had previously trained at Al Lopez Field in nearby Tampa for many years. In 1998, the Reds left Plant City for Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. After the departure of the Reds, Plant City Stadium mainly hosted local amateur baseball and softball games.

In 2012, the stadium became the home pitch for several VisionPro Institute developmental soccer teams, including VSI Tampa Bay FC of USL Pro, VSI Tampa Bay FC of the USL Premier Development League, and VSI Tampa Bay FC of the USL W-League. In early 2020, the Tampa Bay XFL team will renovate and take over the facility for use as its practice facilities.

Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota () is a city in Sarasota County on the southwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. The area is renowned for its cultural and environmental amenities, beaches, resorts, and the Sarasota School of Architecture. The city is at the southern end of the Tampa Bay Area, north of Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. Its official limits include Sarasota Bay and several barrier islands between the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013 Sarasota had a population of 53,326. In 1986 it became designated as a certified local government. Sarasota is a principal city of the Sarasota metropolitan area, and is the seat of Sarasota County.

The islands separating Sarasota Bay from the gulf near the city, known as keys, include Lido Key and Siesta Key, which are famous worldwide for the quality of their sandy beaches. The keys that are included in the boundary of Sarasota are Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Otter Key, Casey Key, Coon Key, Bird Key, and portions of Siesta Key. Previously, Siesta Key was named Sarasota Key. At one time, it and all of Longboat Key were considered part of Sarasota and confusing contemporaneous references may be found discussing them.

Longboat Key is the largest key separating the bay from the gulf, but it was evenly divided by the new county line of 1921. The portion of the key that parallels the Sarasota city boundary that extends to that new county line along the bay front of the mainland was removed from the city boundaries at the request of John Ringling in the mid-1920s, who sought to avoid city taxation of his planned developments at the southern tip of the key. Although they never were completed in the quickly faltering economy, those development concessions granted by the city never were reversed and the county has retained regulation of those lands.

The city limits had expanded significantly with the real estate rush of the early twentieth century, reaching almost 70 square miles (180 km2). The wild speculation boom began to crash in 1926 and following that, the city limits began to contract, shrinking to less than a quarter of that area.

Sarasota Blues Fest

The Sarasota Blues Fest is an annual music festival held at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. In addition to all day live entertainment, the festival has vendors selling a wide array of food, drink and crafts.

Sarasota County, Florida

Sarasota County is located in Southwest Florida on the Gulf Coast. As of the 2010 US Census, the population was 379,448. Its county seat is Sarasota (with an estimated 2016 population of 56,610) and its largest city is North Port with an estimated 2016 population of 64,274. Sarasota County is part of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Sarasota Reds

The Sarasota Reds were a professional minor league baseball team, located in Sarasota, Florida, as a member of the Florida State League. However team originally started play in Sarasota as the Sarasota White Sox in 1989. They remained in the city for the next 21 seasons, going through a series of name changes due to their affiliation changes. They were known as the White Sox from 1989–1993, as the Sarasota Red Sox from 1994–2004, and the Reds from 2004–2009. In Sarasota, the team played in Payne Park (1989) and then Ed Smith Stadium (1990–2009). They won two division championships, in 1989 and 1992, and made playoff appearances in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, and 2007.

However the roots of the Reds can be traced back, even further, to the Tampa Tarpons. In the 1980s rumors arose that a major league team would come to Tampa, which would threaten the viability of the Tarpons and other minor league teams in the Tampa Bay Area. In 1988 the Chicago White Sox replaced Cincinnati as the Tarpons' affiliate, launching murmurs that the White Sox would themselves relocate to the area. Fearing his team would soon be displaced, in 1989 Tarpons owner Mitchell Mick sold his franchise to the White Sox, who moved it to Sarasota, Florida as the Sarasota White Sox.The team's Sarasota era produced many notable player who would go on to play in majors. Bo Jackson, Mike LaValliere, Dave Stieb, Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and Bob Wickman all played for the Sarasota White Sox. Meanwhile, Stan Belinda, David Eckstein, Nomar Garciaparra, Byung-hyun Kim, Jeff Suppan, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, and Kevin Youkilis were alumni of the Sarasota Red Sox. The Sarasota Reds also produced many notable major league players such as Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto, Chris Heisey, and Drew Stubbs.

After the Reds' spring-training departure from Florida's Grapefruit League to Arizona's Cactus League in 2009, the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates did an "affiliate-swap". The Pirates took over the Sarasota Reds, while the Reds became the parent club of the Pirates' former Class A-Advanced affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League. The Pittsburgh Pirates have had their spring training facilities based in Bradenton, Florida since in 1969, when the city met with Pirates' general manager Joe Brown and owner John W. Galbreath and both sides agreed to a lease of 40 years, with an option for another 40 years. On November 10, 2009, baseball officials voted to allow the Pirates to purchase and uproot the Sarasota Reds. The Pirates moved the team to Bradenton, where they were renamed the Bradenton Marauders. The Marauders became the first Florida State League team located in Bradenton since the Bradenton Growers folded in 1926.

Spring training

In Major League Baseball (MLB), spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives established players practice time prior to competitive play. Spring training has always attracted fan attention, drawing crowds who travel to the warm climates of Arizona and Florida to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play, and spring training usually coincides with spring break for many US college students.

Spring training typically starts with "truck day", which is when equipment trucks for each team leave their hometowns to drive down to spring training. This usually happens in the last week of January or the first week of February. In mid-February, pitchers and catchers report, and within a week of that, the rest of the team reports. Exhibition games start in the later part of February, and continues until just before Opening Day of the regular season, which falls in the last week of March, or the first week of April. In some years, teams not scheduled to play on Opening Day will play spring training games that day. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training first because pitchers benefit from a longer training period. A few days later, position players arrive and team practice begins. Exhibition games usually begin in late February.

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