Dan Schlossberg's Weekend Notebook: On jetBlue Park • Latino Sports


Dan Schlossberg’s Weekend Notebook: On jetBlue Park


FT. MYERS, FL – The drive from Kissimmee to Ft. Myers consumed nearly three hours each way but was well worth it.

The first glimpse of  jetBlue Park was as good as the last.

The newest spring training facility in Florida, now in its third season, calls itself Fenway South and looks the part.

Not only is The Green Monster there but a hand-operated scoreboard displaced by a newer model in Boston.jetBlue Park 1

Even the jetBlue logos don’t overwhelm — unlike the Disney and ESPN emblems plastered all over Atlanta’s Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista.

The easy-to-reach ballpark, just two miles from I-75, holds 9,900 fans — big by Grapefruit League standards but not as big as George M. Steinbrenner Field (cap. 11,076), the Tampa home of the rival Yankees.

Dimensions of jetBlue Stadium sound strikingly familiar: 302 feet to the right-field foul pole, 310 down the line in left, 420 feet to center, 379 in the left-field power alley and 380 to the right-field power alley.

jetBlue Stadium even has a Florida version of Yawkey Way: an outside-the-park mix of hawkers, vendors, and entrepreneurs selling everything from clam chowder to tank tops emblazened with the logo of the defending World Champions.

One thing this stadium has that Fenway doesn’t: an enormous jetBlue tail that serves as a sun dial in front of the main entrance.

jetBlue wing serves as sundial at Florida park

jetBlue wing serves as sundial at Florida park

There’s plenty of parking, plenty of room in the press box, and an affable and professional staff that makes fans feel appreciated both during the game and on their way out. Other teams should emulate that example.

Other notes from the spring training camps:

Word is that Lake Worth, just south of West Palm Beach, is pushing hard to land a team — either one that trains in Arizona or one unhappy with its Florida facility. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, both in the Grapefruit League, are quietly seeking new digs . . .

Although Ed Coleman continues as Mets beat reporter for WFAN, he’s no longer part of the club’s broadcast crew because of the shift to WOR. That gig has gone to Seth Everett, formerly of Sirius XM Satellite Radio . . .

The Red Sox and Tigers are among the teams that tease their fans by announcing both the Florida temperature and the home-city temperature before games . . .

Washington Nationals official scorer David Vincent, author of terrific books on  All-Star and home run history, made a surprise visit to the Red Sox press box . . .

Retired numbers of Red Sox greats line the right-field wall but there’s room for more — especially since the great Lefty Grove is not among them . . .

jetBlue wing greets arrivals at Ft Myers home of the Red Sox

jetBlue wing greets arrivals at Ft Myers home of the Red Sox

The top ticket at jetBlue Park costs $48 but the cheapest — on the grassy berm — costs only $5 — half the price of parking . . .

Although Atlanta prides itself on the prowess of its young pitchers, the best Braves pitcher this spring has been soft-throwing retread Freddy Garcia, author of five perfect innings so far.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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