Rays Spring Training
|2013 First Practice Dates
|Pitchers & Catchers:
|Year ||Total ||Average
| 90,935 |
|* The Rays trained in St. Petersburg prior to 2009
Spring Training Info
| Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training
||Area Info - Port Charlotte
Charlotte Sports Park
Spring Training home of the Rays since 2009
2300 El Jobean Road
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
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Fronted by a small lake, the stadium is visible from El Jobean Road (SR 776) and is next door to the local Harley Davidson dealership.
Take I-75 to Exit 179 (Toledo Blade Blvd) and go west for approximately 6.3 miles. Turn right onto State Route 776 (El Jobean Road) and the stadium is 1.5 miles ahead on the left.
Note: Toledo Blade Boulevard has a handful of traffic lights and a 45 MPH speed limit that slows traffic as it passes through the city of North Port.
A large grass field with gravel lanes behind the stadium can hold up to 1,500 cars. Parking is also available across the street from the stadium at the Charlotte County Fair Grounds, which acts as a second official lot. The Harley dealership that's barely east of the stadium sometimes opens up its parking lot for game day parking and when they do they charge just half the price of their neighbor.
Cost: $5 (Black Widow Harley-Davidson lot) or $10 (stadium lots)
For 15 seasons Charlotte County Stadium was the spring training home of the Texas Rangers. But the Rangers bolted for Arizona following the 2002 season and Port Charlotte was forced to find another Major League tenant. It took a while, but they finally found one just up the road in St. Petersburg, where the Tampa Bay Rays had trained since their inception in 1998. To lure the Rays 80 miles southward the now 25-year old stadium underwent a complete renovation, to the tune of $27.2 million, that was finished in 2009. So what the Rays now inhibit is quite different from what the Rangers left a decade ago. The old stadium, which sat 5,424, was enhanced to hold 6,823, the extra capacity made possible by the addition of berms down each baseline. Although the actual grandstand remained the same, the outer facade was completely rebuilt. Additionally, a two-story clubhouse was constructed just beyond right field and a playground for kids was built near it. The highlight of the extensive renovations is the Baseball Boardwalk, a 19,000 square foot wooden walkway that extends around the outfield and houses a tiki bar. And to top off all the changes, the stadium was given a new name: Charlotte Sports Park.
Fast Facts Groundbreaking for the rebuilding of the stadium took place on August 20, 2007.
Fans enter the ballpark through one of three gates. The main entrance is behind home plate and is accessed by climbing five stairs or using the handicapped ramp. The other gates are located behind first base and third base.
Nine ticket windows are to the immediate right of the home plate entrance. Will Call windows are numbered 2-4.
The main concourse runs behind the grandstand. It becomes open to the playing field at the grandstand's end and continues around the outfield, where the concrete walkway turns into a wooden boardwalk.
A small playground can be found down the right field line in the Kids Clubhouse.
The Rays' bullpen is in right field, the visitors' in left. Each are close to the foul poles and fans can stand behind them on the boardwalk.
The stadium's sole scoreboard is on the boardwalk in left-center and features a line score and a panel that lists the name and number of the player at bat.
A large Rays team store is behind home plate near the main entrance. A couple of stands set up on the concourse beyond the grandstand carry a limited selection of souvenirs.
Practice Fields The Sports Park has five and a half practice fields. All are found behind the outfield.
The team varies their policy on allowing the public to view practices, but generally the gates to the back fields open between 9:00 and 9:20 a.m. and only after the Rays are already on the fields.
Types of Seating Stadium seats: 5,028
Berm: 1,500 (approximate)
All of the seats in the ballpark have chair backs, armrests and cup holders. There are two berms, with the one down the third baseline being larger than the one down the first baseline.
Notes about the seating The Rays dugout is on the first base side. To make sure you're on the home side of the stadium, buy your tickets in sections 101-108 or 201-209.
An aisle cuts through the middle of the grandstand. Field and Baseline Box seats are below the aisle, while Field and Baseline Reserved seats are above it.
Handicap accessible seating is available on railed in platforms at the top of these sections: 101-103, 106-107, 109-110, 113-115. All handicap seating is listed as row 8 in those sections.
The protective screen behind home plate extends from sections 106-110 and is barely noticeable to those sitting behind it.
The first five rows of seats in sections 106 and 110 can peer directly into the expansive dugouts.
Lots of standing room is available on the outfield boardwalk, which has chairs facing the field on its right half. Limited standing room can be found on the concourse above the berm down the first base line, which also has many picnic tables on it.
Sections and rows Rows for stadium sections range as follows:
1 to 7 in sections 101-102; 6 to 7 in section 103; 8 to 10 in sections 104-105; 1 to 7 in sections 106-107; 1 to 10 in section 108; 1 to 7 in sections 109-110; 8 to 10 in sections 111-112; 6 to 7 in section 113; 1 to 7 in sections 114-115; 1 to 16 in sections 201-206; 7 in section 207; 1 to 7 in sections 208-211; 1 to 16 in sections 212-218
There is only one row of seats in section 207 and that row (7) is below four rows of tables with folding chairs that are set up for the media.
Tickets Sections 101-102 and 114-115 are sold as Baseline Box.
Sections 103-113 are sold as Field Box.
Sections 201 and 218 are sold as Baseline Reserved.
Sections 202-217 are sold as Field Reserved.
Space in the outfield lines lawn and standing room on the Boardwalk deck are collectively sold as Berm/Boardwalk and each general admission area fills up on a first-come, first-served basis.
Children under the age of 2 are admitted free without a ticket but will need to sit in an adult’s lap in the grandstand.
Seats to avoid
The park is small enough that no seat is far away from the field, nor are any obstructed. But if you're picky, seats in the two rows that make up sections 103 and 113 are behind the television camera platforms at the end of the dugout, which doesn't make for an appealing foreground.
Seats in the shade
All but the first row of seats in the upper half of the first base grandstand (sections 201-206) are in the shade, courtesy of the roof over them and the position of the sun, which is behind that side of the grandstand. The third base grandstand has a similar roof, but only rows 10 & up in sections 212-218 are shaded when an afternoon game begins due to the location of the sun, which descends enough by mid-game so that more seats in sections 214-218 (approximately rows 5 & up) and all seats in sections 208-213 become shaded.
Suites with two rows of outdoor seating are beneath the press box. Areas on the boardwalk can be reserved by groups for picnics or parties.
Ballpark gates normally open 2 hours before game time - 11:05 a.m. for a 1:05 p.m. start and 5:05 p.m. for a 7:05 p.m. start.
Food, drink and bag policy One sealed plastic water bottle per fan and children's single-serving juice boxes are the only permitted drink items.
No food can be brought into the stadium.
Bags are allowed up to a maximum size of 16" x 16" x 8".
Autographs opportunities are limited before the game starts. Rays fans should camp out in front of the small section of field-level berm down the right field line or in the two grandstand sections between the berm and Rays' dugout. Fans of the visiting team should congregate on the area of berm closest to the tarp down the left field line. Post-game autographs are more plentiful. Clubhouses for both teams are in right field and players walk down that line to get to them. The berm and grandstand section beyond the first base dugout are good places to get a few signatures. True autograph hounds will want to exit the stadium and head over to the batting cage building in the right field corner. Rays players exiting the cages will sign for the fans at the fence next to them. That spot is also a good place to chat a player up, as few fans will be gathered there.
Unique ballpark fare
The Rays outsource two of the ballpark's more popular items from national chains: a turkey wrap from Jason's Deli and the Chick-Fil-A sandwich, which isn't available on Sunday since the restaurant isn't open that day. BBQ pork sandwiches are available at all concession stands behind the grandstand. Local vendors set up shop under canopies behind both berms. In 2011, the canopy down the right field line covered up a stand that served up gyros and beer battered grouper fish sandwiches. Additionally, a steak and cheese stand is on the boardwalk. Pepsi is the cola of choice. Draft beer is almost exclusively available near or on the outfield concourse with the largest selection of beer on tap found at the tiki hut on the Baseball Boardwalk that's modeled after the tiki bar in Clearwater. Port Charlotte's version features vintage baseball cards beneath its countertops and stays open until an hour and a half (90 minutes) after the game ends, although last call occurs prior to closing time.
Ballpark Area Info
Port Charlotte is the most-populated area in Charlotte County, although it is not a chartered city. Its population was reported at 54,392 in the 2010 Census. The older you are the more you will enjoy the area, where the median age is 49. The best thing for more youthful fans (age and attitude) to do is hang out at the ballpark’s tiki bar, which stays open until well after the game is over, as there's not a lot of activity anywhere near the ballpark, although there is a peaceful and pristine option abutting the complex's 82 acres of property: at the back of the stadium's parking field is an entrance to Tippecanoe Environmental Park, a 355-acre coastal nature preserve with walking trails and a canoe/kayak launch.
Travelers' notes The closest Interstate, I-75, is 8 miles away.
The area around the ballpark is as safe as it is secluded from significant development.
Hotels close to Charlotte Sports Park
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|Distance ||Hotel ||Street Address ||City/Zip ||Phone
|2.6 miles ||Coffey House Bed and Breakfast ||2379 Sunninglow St ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-624-5733
|3.3 ||Days Inn ||1941 Tamiami Trl ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-627-8900
|5.9 ||Warm Mineral Springs Motel ||12597 Tamiami Trl S ||North Port, FL 34287 ||941-426-4029
|6.4 ||Microtel Inn ||4056 Tamiami Trl ||Port Charlotte, FL 33952 ||941-624-6339
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Restaurants close to Charlotte Sports Park
|Distance ||Restaurant ||Street Address ||City/Zip ||Phone
|1.4 miles ||RJ's Cafe & Deli ||17753 Toledo Blade Blvd ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-235-0005
|2.1 ||Doughboys Pizza ||1101 El Jobean Rd ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-766-8323
|2.1 ||New England Drive In ||320 Tamiami Trl ||Port Charlotte, FL 33953 ||941-255-9066
|2.3 ||Sonny's Bar-B-Q ||1152 Tamiami Trl ||Port Charlotte, FL 33953 ||941-613-1114
|2.3 ||Steak 'n Shake ||1080 El Jobean Rd ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-255-6990
|2.3 ||Looney Bin Eatery & Pub ||1182 Tamiami Trl ||Port Charlotte, FL 33953 ||941-255-5999
|2.4 ||Bob Evans ||1050 El Jobean Rd ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-764-6111
|2.4 ||Joe Cracker Sportsgrille ||1020 El Jobean Rd ||Port Charlotte, FL 33948 ||941-258-3444
|4.4 ||Big Geroy's BBQ ||2395 Tamiami Trl ||Port Charlotte, FL 33952 ||941-255-0273
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Airports close to Charlotte Sports Park
|Distance ||Airport ||Airport Code
|34.9 miles ||Sarasota Bradenton International ||SRQ
|40.0 ||Southwest Florida International (Fort Myers) ||RSW
|69.9 ||St. Petersburg-Clearwater International ||PIE
|71.1 ||Tampa International ||TPA
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