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February 15

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City of Palms Park


Spring Training home of the Red Sox from 1993-2011

Ballpark address:
2201 Edison Avenue
Fort Myers, FL   33901

Opened: 1993
Capacity: 7,800

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City of Palms Park

Location
Just as Fenway Park is a neighborhood ballpark, so too is City of Palms Park. It's tucked away among small houses and an apartment complex near downtown Fort Myers. But if you don't know where it is, you won't find it by accident.

Directions
Take I-75 to Exit 138 (MLK Jr. Blvd/SR 82) and go west for about 3.5 miles. Turn left onto Fowler Street, drive a half-mile then take a right on Edison Avenue. The ballpark lies just ahead, engulfed by palm trees.

Parking
There are grass fields on either side of the ballpark. Once those lots fill up you'll have to park somewhere in the neighborhood. The Salvation Army and Central United Methodist Church are two nearby trustworthy options.
 Cost: $7 (stadium) or $5-10 (neighborhood)


Stadium Information
Palm tree lined streets lead the way to the appropriately named City of Palms Park and even more palms stand behind the outfield fence. The ubiquitous palms trees make the ballpark one of the more picturesque in Spring Training. A roomy plaza outside the stadium is a great place for Red Sox fans to mingle and get their picture taken alongside the statue of Ted Williams, whose entire Hall of Fame acceptance speech is etched on a stone tablet a short distance away. The ballpark's capacity has inched upwards from its original 6,990 over the years. But even the addition of a freestanding bleacher section and right field deck hasn't been able to keep up with demand, as the Red Sox sold out over 100 straight Grapefruit League games during a streak that finally ended on March 8, 2011. The ballpark is named after the city's nickname. Fort Myers has been known as the City of Palms since Thomas Edison began importing royal palm trees from Cuba in the early 20th century. Edison had a winter home in Fort Myers and spent much of his time there. City of Palms Park resides on an avenue named in his honor, but after 19 seasons the ballpark is no longer used for the purpose it was built. Beginning in 2012, the Red Sox will play about a dozen miles away at their new $77.9 million JetBlue Park at Fenway South complex. Efforts to get a team to replace the Red Sox at City of Palms Park have yet to yield any results.

Fast Facts

  • The ballpark has three entrances, two of which are named for the streets they are on: Edison (first base) and Broadway (third base). The biggest gate is behind home plate, at the intersection of those two streets.
  • A small number of ticket windows are near the third base entrance. Their main function is to serve as will call, as day of game tickets are rarely available.
  • The concourse is located behind the stadium. It's covered between the dugouts.
  • Fans must climb stairs to get from the street-level concourse to their seats. Zig-zag handicap ramps are found at the end of each side of the grandstand.
  • Both bullpens are behind the outfield fence and thus out of sight from fans - the Red Sox in left field, the visitors in right-center. Pitchers are able to watch the game from elevated bleachers adjacent to their bullpen.
  • The stadium's scoreboard is in left-center field and is definitely a thing of the past. It has no video board, just a monochrome screen that flashes announcements between innings and the name of the player at bat during the game.
  • Just like at Fenway, Sweet Caroline is played in the middle of the 8th inning and Dirty Water following Red Sox wins.
  • The facade of the right field deck has numbers retired by the Red Sox on it, a feature copied from Fenway Park.
  • Souvenir stands and gift shops abound on the concourse. Stands are set up behind home plate and first and third base. There are two walk-in shops: Home Plate Merchandise is a less crowded and smaller version of the main team shop, simply called Red Sox Baseball Store, that is found on the third base concourse.

    Practice Fields

  • A single practice field is behind the left field wall.
  • Prior to the beginning of their Grapefruit League schedule the Red Sox train at their Player Development Complex, which is located 2.5 miles east of City of Palms Park at 4301 Edison Avenue.
  • To get to the team's Player Development Complex from City of Palms Park, take Edison Avenue east until it dead ends at the complex. Along the 2½ mile drive you'll pass single story homes and then enter an industrial area, which is where the five field complex is located. It's not an attractive part of town. In fact, there's a cement factory across the street.
  • Since public parking is not available at the complex, the Red Sox provide a shuttle to it from City of Palms Park. The round trip fare is $2 per person.

    Types of Seating
    City of Palms Park seating diagram Most of the seats in the ballpark have chair backs and armrests, although there is some bleacher and lawn seating available.

  • Stadium seats: Makes up the entire grandstand (sections 101-124 and 201-216).
  • Bleachers: A small section of bleachers is beyond the grandstand and behind the berm down the right field line. Bleacher seats do not have seatbacks.
  • Berm: A small hill extends from the end of the first base grandstand to the right field foul pole.

    Notes about the seating

  • The Red Sox dugout is on the third base side. To make sure you're on the home side of the stadium, buy your tickets in sections 111-124 or 208-216.
  • An aisle divides the stadium's grandstand into two sections. Box seats are below the aisle, reserved seats above it.
  • Handicap accessible seating is available on the aisle, where wheelchair spaces and companion seats occupy row 8 of sections 101-121.
  • Seats do not have cup holders.
  • The netting behind home plate spans from sections 109-113 and attaches to the roof, which necessitates the use of an elaborate roping system that can be annoying to fans sitting in sections 206-210.
  • The aisle is wide enough to accommodate plenty of fans who gain admission with a Standing Room Only ticket. Fans standing in the aisle will not block the view of fans in the reserved seats above them, as the aisle's blue wall is just over 6 feet tall. Additional standing space can be found on the right field deck and on a patio above the third base grandstand.
  • Umbrella covered picnic tables can be found in a pair of places - at the end of the first base concourse and on the patio above the third base grandstand.

    Sections and rows

  • Rows for sections with stadium seats range as follows:
    1 to 7 in sections 101-103; 5 to 7 in sections 104-108; 1 to 7 in sections 109-113; 5 to 7 in sections 114-118; 1 to 7 in sections 119-121; 1 to 10 in sections 122-123; 5 to 10 in section 124; 1 to 17 in sections 201-205; 1 to 13 in sections 206-209; 1 to 12 in sections 210-211; 1 to 13 in section 212; 1 to 17 in sections 213-216
  • Rows for sections with bleacher seats range as follows:
    1 to 15 in three unmarked sections down the right field line
  • Rows for sections with barstool seats in the right field deck range as follows:
    1 to 3 in RF Deck sections 1-5

    Seats to avoid
    Ironically, the worst seats are supposed to be some of the best. The two rows of Dugout Box seats are below field level, which is a horrible vantage point. Furthermore, the seats are folding chairs that aren't even set up until 15 minutes before game time. Prior to that, the dugout box section is the standing room area for autograph seekers who congregate near the Red Sox dugout.

    Seats in the shade
    This ballpark is the king of shade. It has a large cable-supported roof that covers all reserved seats in sections 203-215, plus half of 216. At game time the sun is behind first base, which ensures most seats in sections 104-110 are shaded. The sun shifts during the game so that after a few innings sections 111-118 are in the shade too.

    VIP seating
    A balcony for suite holders is above sections 210 and 211. The Home Plate Box seats comprise the first two rows of seating in sections between the dugouts. The Right Field Deck has approximately 150 barstool-type seats set up along drink rails.


    Game Day
    Stadium gates open 2½ hours prior to game time, which means early arriving fans can watch most of Red Sox batting practice.

    Food, drink and bag policy

  • Although signs outside the ballpark say "No food or beverage of any kind may be brought into the park," plastic bottles of water are allowed inside. Food is not.
  • Bags are allowed up to a maximum size of 16" x 16" x 8".

    Getting autographs
    A small number of Red Sox players will sign a half hour or so before the game in the field level area that extends from near the Red Sox dugout towards the left field foul pole. Fans closest to the dugout have the best opportunity to get signatures. The "autograph alley" is closed to fans 15 minutes before game time, when folding chairs are set up for ticket holders with dugout box seats. Postgame autographs are scarce, as players for both teams enter their clubhouses through a tunnel in their dugout, a design that limits player accessibility to fans. The visiting team's bus is parked near the end of the first base concourse, where a fence set up following the game allows players to walk to the bus from their nearby clubhouse at the edge of the grandstand. That area is the only place where fans of the visiting team can get close to players, who will be dressed in street clothes by then.

    Unique ballpark fare
    Sorry, you won't find Fenway Franks here. Actually, you won't find anything that's creative at the Aramark run concession stands, where you'll have to fill up on the usual suspects - hot dogs, sausages, burgers, fries, etc. An outside vendor does sell sushi rolls at a couple of freestanding booths on the concourse, but that is the extent of the ballpark's expanded menu. It's fitting then that Coca-Cola Classic provides soft drink service and beer on tap is limited to three traditional choices - Bud, Bud Light and Miller Lite. Bottled beer options are slightly more varied and highlighted by Heineken and Sam Adams Light.


    2011 Red Sox Spring Training Schedule


    (only home games at City of Palms Park are listed)
    February Day Time Visiting Team
    26 Saturday 1:05 Boston College
    26 Saturday 6:00 Northeastern
    28 Monday 1:05 Twins
    March Day Time Visiting Team
    2 Wednesday 1:05 Braves
    3 Thursday 1:05 Phillies
    5 Saturday 1:05 Marlins
    7 Monday 1:05 Orioles
    8 Tuesday 1:05 Astros
    9 Wednesday 7:05 Orioles
    12 Saturday 1:05 Marlins
    14 Monday 7:05 Yankees
    17 Thursday 1:05 Mets
    18 Friday 1:05 Tigers
    20 Sunday 1:05 Cardinals
    22 Tuesday 7:05 Rays
    25 Friday 7:05 Blue Jays
    26 Saturday 7:05 Twins
    29 Tuesday 1:05 Rays

    * Single game tickets went on sale Saturday, January 8.
    See the full 2011 Red Sox Spring Training schedule


    Ballpark Area Info
    City of Palms Park is an oasis of beauty in an otherwise blighted neighborhood. The land it stands on was claimed by the city through eminent domain, and other than a small park beyond right field (named Yawkey Park after the former Red Sox owners) your only business in the immediate vicinity is baseball. The heart of downtown Fort Myers and the Caloosahatchee River is a very short drive away, although it is worlds apart from the neighborhood you'll leave behind.

    Travelers' notes

  • The closest Interstate, I-75, is 4½ miles away.
  • Hammond Stadium, Spring Training home of the Twins, is just 7 miles away.
  • The ballpark isn't in the best of neighborhoods, although it's a safe haven on game days.

    Nearby Hotels

    Hotels close to City of Palms Park

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    Distance Hotel Street Address City/Zip Phone
    0.3 miles Holiday Inn-Central 2431 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-332-3232
    0.6 Winyah Hotel & Suites 2038 W 1st St Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-332-2048
    0.8 Travel Inn 2939 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-332-1330
    0.9 Ambassador Riverfront Inn 2500 Edwards Dr Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-337-0300
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    Nearby Restaurants

    Restaurants close to City of Palms Park

    Distance Restaurant Street Address City/Zip Phone
    0.1 miles Vinny's Caribbean Cuisine 2275 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-334-3142
    0.25 Taqueria Jalapenos 2249 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-337-3319
    0.25 Two Guys Pizza 2406 Cortez Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-461-0088
    0.3 Char Grillhouse 2431 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-337-2427
    0.3 La Cucina 2072 Hendry St Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-332-4040
    0.4 Tropical Creole Food 2247 Fowler St Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-334-2111
    0.4 Edison Lunch Box 2200 Martin Luther King Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-334-0219
    0.45 Oasis Restaurant 2260 Martin Luther King Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-334-1566
    0.45 Los Cuates 2160 Fowler St Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-337-0018
    0.5 Second Street Deli 2112 2nd St Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-332-5225
    0.55 Juicy Lucy's 2725 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-337-1988
    0.6 Calzone Jacks 2610 Fowler St Fort Myers, FL 33901 239-337-4646
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    Nearby attractions

    Airports close to City of Palms Park

    Distance Airport Airport Code
    8.4 miles Southwest Florida International (Fort Myers) RSW
    66.6 Sarasota Bradenton International SRQ
    101.0 Tampa International TPA
    115.0 Miami International MIA

    City of Palms Park in Fort Myers
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