The following is a guest post by Mr. Jerry Jones, Charlotte County Director of Film, Television and Digital Media.
Welcome back, baseball. Welcome back, spring training. The Tampa Bay Rays have set up shop at the Charlotte Sports Park and I got to see them in action against the Detroit Tigers. I’ve seen major league baseball in five different big league stadiums, but this was my first spring training game ever, and what a great experience.
Small ballpark (home to the Charlotte Stone Crabs) means you’re close to the action and close to the players. Heck, I probably couldn’t get tickets this close to the field at a major league ballpark, and if I could, I probably couldn’t afford them.
Am I really just a few feet from Rays star Evan Longoria? And just as close, isn’t that last year’s American League MVP – and first Triple Crown winner in 45 years – Miguel Cabrera? If I were much closer, I’d have to be in uniform.
I’m a recent transplant to Florida, so I’ll be adopting the Rays as my new favorite team. But there are a lot of Michiganders spending the winter down here, and they really enjoyed the chance to come to the ballyard and root for their Tigers. The crowd seemed about evenly divided between fans for the two teams, and that made the atmosphere even more exciting. Both sides were drawing cheers for every play.
I can’t wait to get to another game. Outside of a cornfield in Iowa, this is as close to baseball heaven as you can get.