Charlotte Sports Park

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Charlotte Sports Park
Location 2300 El Jobean Road
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
Coordinates 26°59′57″N 82°10′54″W / 26.99917°N 82.18167°W / 26.99917; -82.18167Coordinates: 26°59′57″N 82°10′54″W / 26.99917°N 82.18167°W / 26.99917; -82.18167
Broke ground July 20, 1986[1]
Opened March 6, 1987
Renovated 2008-09
Owner Charlotte County
Operator Charlotte County
Surface Grass
Construction cost $5 million
($10.4 million in 2014 dollars[2])
$27.2 million (renovation)
($29.9 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect HOK Sport
General contractor Gilbane Building Co.[1]
Capacity 7,670
Field size Left Field: 343 ft
Left-Center Field: 384 ft
Center Field: 414 ft
Right-Center Field: 384 ft
Right Field: 343 ft
Tenants
Texas Rangers (MLB) (Spring Training) (1987-2002)
Charlotte County Redfish (SCL) (2007)
Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) (Spring Training) (2009-present)
Charlotte Stone Crabs (FSL) (2009-present)
GCL Rays (GCL) (2009-present)

Charlotte Sports Park (formerly known as Charlotte County Stadium and Ranger Stadium) is a baseball stadium in Port Charlotte, Florida. The stadium is the home field for Tampa Bay Rays spring training operations, as well as its Class-A Florida State League Charlotte Stone Crabs and Rookie-class Gulf Coast Rays teams.

Originally built in 1987, the main stadium underwent a renovation that was completed in January 2009 at a cost of $27 million. [1]

Charlotte Sports Park in January 2009, nearing completion of renovation.

Prior to the Rays, the stadium was once home of the Texas Rangers' minor league affiliate Charlotte Rangers, and has played host to college baseball tournaments and the South Coast League Charlotte County Redfish.

On February 3, 2010, the Rays announced a naming rights deal with The Mosaic Company. The agreement was reported to last through 2024.[3] However, due to a potential conflict-of-interest with Charlotte County — whom ultimately must approve the name change — on February 10, the Rays asked for more time to study the proposal before giving it to the county commissioners for final approval.[4] On February 17, due to intense opposition by both the Charlotte County Council and local residents, the Rays announced they are abandoning the deal with Mosaic and will potentially look at other companies in the future instead.[5]

In March of 2014, Charlotte Sports Park was named the #1 spring training destination by the readers of USA Today and 10Best.[6]

Historical Events[edit]

After signing an unprecedented 10 year deal worth $252 million with the Texas Rangers, in 2000, slugger Alex Rodriguez held a press conference with the sports media at the stadium. The stadium, which was being vacated by the club at the end of the 2002 Spring Training, was unable to accommodate the significant number of news reporters. In an effort to allow enough room for reporters to speak to Rodriguez, the press conference was held on the roof of the Rangers' dugout—a clear sign that the Rangers had outgrown the facility.

During the 1994 Spring Training, the Rangers played host to the Chicago White Sox who featured basketball star Michael Jordan. The game drew a record crowd and was one of only a few sites in Florida to host Jordan.

In the Spring of 1993[when?], Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan announced his retirement from the clubhouse at the stadium.

The Rays opened Spring Training at the renovated stadium on February 14, 2009. They lost their first Spring Training game to the Cincinnati Reds on February 25, 7-0. Their first Spring Training home win came on February 27, a 12-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.

The interior of Charlotte County Stadium during warm-up prior to a spring training game, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cincinnati Reds, 2009-02-25

Other uses[edit]

The stadium has also been used by the local community for events like concerts, festivals, and expos. It has hosted such musicians as Kenny Rogers, The Beach Boys, and Simple Plan. The latest new event will be the hosting of a family festival with many activities including concert entertainment by The Little River Band and Maiden Cane. The concert portion of the festival is produced by Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Snyder, Jack (July 21, 1986). "Construction". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Topkin, Marc (February 3, 2010). "Spring Fling: Stadium Now Mosaic Field at Charlotte Sports Park". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 3, 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ Pittman, Craig (February 9, 2010). "Tampa Bay Rays Pull Charlotte Naming Rights Off Meeting Agenda After Objections". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ Topkin, Marc (February 17, 2010). "Plan Dropped to Rename Spring Site Mosaic". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-spring-training-facility/

External links[edit]