Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays open Grapefruit League season this weekend
Friday, March 2, 2012
St. Pete/Clearwater, FL (March 2, 2012) - Just like they have every year since 1914, the Boys of Summer have returned to the St. Pete/Clearwater area for sunshine and Spring Training.
Major League Baseball teams arrived to camps across Florida and Arizona earlier this month, with Clearwater once again welcoming the Philadelphia Phillies and nearby Dunedin playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays.
"It's a real treat for fans when you pair professional baseball in an intimate setting with a heavy dose of sunshine," said Kevin Smith, director of the St. Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission. "From our historic parks of the past to our newer, modern facilities, it's no surprise that the area has a long-time relationship with Spring Training."
The National League East's Phillies will officially open up their Grapefruit League season tomorrow against the New York Yankees at 1:05 p.m. at Clearwater's Bright House Field.
With both clubs carrying a large local following and both teams being picked to contend for a title, tickets for the opener have already sold out.
Offering full sun in its grass berm area and cold beverages in its Tiki Pavilion beyond the left field wall, Bright House has been a hit with fans since its 2004 inaugural season. In addition to being the spring home of the Phillies, the stadium also hosts home games of the organization's Florida State League team, the Clearwater Threshers, and the BIG EAST Baseball Championship.
The American League East's Blue Jays will also open their spring campaign on Saturday, with Toronto hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin.
The Jays have opened camp in the quaint village with the heavy Scottish heritage since the team's inception in 1977.
Lauded for its cozy feel, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (formerly Dunedin Stadium) was once ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top 5 places to watch a Spring Training game. The park also plays host to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League and various community activities throughout the year.
The Blue Jays and Phillies will also welcome perennial fan favorites like the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves to the area as part of their regular Grapefruit League schedule. Locals can get an early glimpse at the hometown Tampa Bay Rays on March 16 in Dunedin, at St. Pete's Al Lang Field against the Netherlands on March 18, March 29 in Clearwater and in a unique "Rays vs. Future Rays" match-up on April 4 at St. Pete's Tropicana Field.
In addition to the Spring Training schedule, fans can watch Major League clubs battle teams from around the globe in the St. Petersburg International Baseball series at historic Al Lang Field.
Tickets are available for all of the area teams at their respective websites, Phillies.com, BlueJays.com and RaysBaseball.com. Ticket prices vary by venue and opponent.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is the destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida.
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For more information: VisitStPeteClearwater.com
Contact: Public Relations Manager Josh Hall: Josh@VisitSPC.com
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