We’re Headed To Our Own Championship
My family and I are headed down to Sarasota to watch my husbands baseball championship for his men’s baseball league. This is super cool for him to be playing in a spring training major league stadium. When I met him, his dream was to play pro ball. He was going to try outs and wishing for that one chance to play major league. He had the privilege of getting a call back and was able to try out in this very stadium 16 years ago. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned and he didn’t have a call back after that.
What makes him happy now is just to be able to play ball with a bunch of guys. They are just a bunch of ordinary guys having fun playing a sport they love. I’m so proud of him and I love to watch him play ball because it’s what makes him happy. So here’s to an absolutely fabulous day down in Sarasota at the Ed Smith Stadium with my family.
Ed Smith Stadium was formerly the spring home of the Chicago White Sox (1989–1997) and the Baltimore Orioles (1991). In 1998, it replaced Plant City Stadium as the spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds remained at the facility through 2008. After Cincinnati’s club moved its spring activities to Arizona, Ed Smith Stadium spent a year without major league Spring Training.
The Orioles became the stadium’s tenant and operator in 2010. Baltimore had trained in Sarasota before—at Twin Lakes Park in 1989 and 1990, as well as at Ed Smith in 1991—before moving to St. Petersburg and then Ft. Lauderdale for spring games.
From 1989 to 2009, the stadium hosted a series of Minor League Baseball teams, the Single-A Sarasota White Sox, Sarasota Red Sox, and Sarasota Reds. From 2004 until 2009, it housed the Gulf Coast League’s Gulf Coast Reds. Ed Smith has also hosted high school and college baseball tournaments.
On November 1, 2008, Barack Obama gave a speech to a crowd of 10,000 spectators as part of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Ed Smith Stadium
Ed Smith Stadium after $31 million renovation
In 2008, a planned renovation fell through when a proposed bond issue from the city of Sarasota to partially fund the renovation was rejected by the voters. The Reds, whose lease with the city and the stadium expired after the season, announced that they intend to seek a new spring training home. They moved to Goodyear Ballpark, located in Arizona, in 2010.