City of Palms Park


City of Palms Park
City of Palms Park
Cityofpalsms.jpg
Location 2201 Edison Ave
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
Broke ground 1992
Opened 1993
Owner Lee County Sports Authority
Surface Grass
Architect Populous
Capacity 8,000 (2008)
Field dimensions Left Field: 330 ft
Center Field: 410 ft
Right Field: 330 ft
Tenants

Boston Red Sox (Spring Training) (MLB) (1993–present)

GCL Red Sox (GCL) (1993 - Present)

City of Palms Park is a stadium in Fort Myers, Florida primarily used for baseball, although the City of Fort Myers uses the venue for the occasional concert. Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training. The stadium was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people. It is also the home of the Red Sox Rookie team, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, from April through June. The stadium's name is taken from the city's official nickname.

A crew of six is on hand during spring training to groom the Ballfields/Common grounds. Every effort is made to ensure that the players have access to the best spring training facility in Major League Baseball. 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.

Perhaps the most memorable game played at City of Palms was on March 7, 2004. This was the first game played between the Red Sox and New York Yankees since Aaron Boone hit the home run that eliminated the Red Sox from the play offs the previous October. Boone's replacement at third base, Alex Rodriguez was the high profile key acquisition of the off season for the Yankees, and he was savagely booed by the 7,304 in attendance.

City of Palms Park is one of three spring training facilities in Fort Myers. The Minnesota Twins train in Hammond Stadium on the Southern end of town. Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is currently not in use, however, it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.

Boston Red Sox Player Development Complex

A little league field in Fort Myers supports the Red Sox.

The Player Development Complex is where the Red Sox train and practice before exhibition season begins at City of Palms. It also houses all the Minor League affiliates and coaches the entire month of March, and it is where players are reassigned as they whittle the roster down during spring training. Once spring training ends, Extended spring training runs from April through the beginning of the Gulf Coast League season. Instructional league takes place here from September to October.

This Complex includes: five baseball fields with bullpens and eight batting tunnels. The Clubhouse includes: a spacious meeting room, conference room, kitchen, six offices, a spacious players' locker room with showers, a Trainer/Therapy room, a Hydro-Therapy room, laundry room, an Umpire locker room, Coaches' locker room, and a new, expanded weight training room that was added in 2004-2005.

New spring facility

The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however, team ownership had been toying with exercising the early out in their contract that allows them to leave following the 2009 spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials on April 25, 2008 to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in Goodyear, Arizona.

John Yarborough, director of Lee County Parks and Rec, met with Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time to brainstorm ideas on what can be done to keep the Red Sox in Fort Myers. “I’d like to have a project by 2012,’’ Yarborough said after the meeting.[1]

On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the vote, but stated that he supported it.

Dee was present in the chambers for the vote, and took the agreement back to Boston to meet with team owner John Henry and other team officials.[2] On November 1, 2008, the Red Sox signed an agreement with Lee County that will keep their spring training home in the Fort Myers area for 30 more years.[3]

Wednesday, April 30, 2009, the Lee County commissioners selected the Watermen-Pinnacle site on Daniels Parkway (a little more than a mile east of Interstate 75) as the site for the new facility. The backup choice, if negotiations between county staff and the developer falter, is the University Highland site just north of Germain Arena in Estero. Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time toward the project, envisions a facility with a mini-Fenway Park that would open for Spring 2012.[4]

County officials have talked for months about the possibility of securing another team for City of Palms with the Baltimore Orioles (who had also been in talks with Sarasota about Ed Smith Stadium, however, declined) leading the list of potential new tenants.[2]

On February 25th, 2010, the Boston Red Sox officially released the proposed architectural plans for its new training facility in Fort Myers, FL. The new stadium is to be located just miles from the former site, and will offer fans a more "quaint" version of Fenway Park. The outfield will be an exact copy of the Fenway field, and will contain a Green Monster. However, the stadium will offer a mix of the old Fenway style and a Floridian and modern style.[5] On March 29, 2011, it was announcd that the new field would be named JetBlue Park.[6]

References


Coordinates: 26°38′4″N 81°52′2″W / 26.63444°N 81.86722°W / 26.63444; -81.86722


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