Grote’s Gripes: Grapefruit League Parks

And Down The Stretch They Come

PORT ST. LUCIE –  By today, all teams will have reported to spring training.  Major League Baseball is supposed to be glamorous.  They don’t call it The Show for nothing.  Well, during spring training many of the pros have to slum it at less than state of the art facilities in Florida.  Believe me I’ve visited a few and though some are nice some are dressed up class A fields.  Here is my breakdown of the Grapefruit League based only on the official name of the fields on which they play on.

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium – The Blue Jays fly south for the winter to play in a place named after a used car dealership.  Yep, that about sums up the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bright House Networks Field – This is truly an oxymoron because the word bright is never used to describe the Phillie fans who inhabit this Clearwater park.

Steinbrenner Field: You thought the monument to George in the Bronx was big.  The one housed in this park was used by space shuttle pilots to guide them home on their final mission.

Roger Dean Stadium: The Cardinals and the Marlins share this stadium during the spring and rumor has it the teams have begun sharing wives as well.  Good thing for Jose Reyes because his wife can be seen running at Flagler Dog Track on most weekends.

McKechnie Stadium: The Pirates were World Series Champions the last time this place was state of the art. I’m not talking about Pops Stargell and company either but Pie Traynor’s boys from 1925.   This stadium is so old that when it was built Grandma Moses was still a virgin.

Ed Smith Stadium: The Orioles convinced Sarasota to invest $31 million in upgrades to this ’80’s dump.  The great thing about this park is that everyone named Ed Smith gets in for free.  Hell, everyone gets in for free for O’s games, you have to pay to leave.  They have thousands of satisfied paying customers every game.

Charlotte Sports Park: Since the Yankees really are Tampa’s team in the spring, the Rays have to evacuate and head south to Port Charlotte.  Never heard of Port Charlotte?  Neither has anyone else, that is why it is the number one destination for folks in the Witness Protect Program.   The Rays games are filled with wise guys turned canary.

JetBlue Park: The Red Sox decided to build a replica of Fenway Park in Fort Myers to play their spring games in.  Now all they have to do is fill the surrounding neighborhood with wickedly racist massholes and they will feel right at home.

Hammond Stadium: The Twins home was built to resemble Churchill Downs, twin spires and all.  They take the connection a bit too seriously, though.  For instance, last year a couple of non-roster rookies had to be put down due to leg injuries.

Digital Domain Park: The Mets home in Port St. Lucie should not be confused with the much cooler Digital Underground Park right next door.  At the Digital Underground Park you might see a guy named Humpty, while at Digital Domain Park you will certainly see a guy named Murphy (pronounced with an Ur-phy).  I highly recommend getting busy in the Burger King bathroom at both parks.

The Mets Can’t Get Over The Humpty Hump

Space Coast Stadium: The Nationals are as out of touch with America as the rest of Washington D.C..  When faced with a decision whether to play on the east or west coast of Florida they decide to make up a coast of their own, at the tax payers expense of course.

Osceola Stadium: The Astros used to play at the Astrodome in Houston and now they train at the Astrodump in Kissimmee (my ass).

Champion Stadium: The Braves play at Champion Stadium.  The Atlanta Braves have won one World Series Championship in 45 years of existence.  Sounds like false advertising to me.

Joker Marchant Stadium: The stadium in Cleveland is known as The Jake while the home of the Tigers for the spring is known as The Joke.  The joke’s on you if you are a Tigers fan looking for a nice stadium in Florida.

You can expect much better jokes tomorrow when Angry Ward is up at bat.

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