Twins, Red Sox set up shop in Fort Myers
With full squads reporting to both camps, spring training games for the Red Sox and Twins will kick off this Friday, with the Red Sox hosting Northeastern University at 1:05 p.m. and the Twins hosting the University of Minnesota at 6:05 p.m.
The Red Sox play at JetBlue Park, often referred to as “Fenway South,” which fans have filled to capacity each game since it opened in 2012.
The Twins have called Hammond Stadium at Century Link Sports Complex home going on 30 years.
The highlight of Hammond Stadium is its towering waterfall fountain at the entrance. The stadium’s outer facade was designed to resemble Churchill Downs.
Hammond Stadium seats 9,900 with room for 10,600. Ticket prices for Spring Training games at Hammond run for as little as $9 grandstand seats to $46 dugout box seats. The stadium is fan-friendly and open to the public to watch workouts and practices.
The Twins bring in many of their former players to serve as instructors. You will notice three-time batting champion Tony Oliva right away.
“I do everything they ask of me. I’m a coach,” Oliva said of his role throughout spring training. An eight-time All-Star and five-time hits leader, Oliva has watched and helped many of the players in the Twins system develop.
Oliva draws from his experience as a contact hitter who could hit to all sides of the field as well as out of the park. As a player, Oliva said “I tried to make things easy for me.” Nothing replaces practice though. “The more you work, the better you feel about yourself,” he said. “I trusted my eyes. I trusted myself.”
Just 5.7 miles east, JetBlue Park serves as the home of the Red Sox. With a capacity of 10,823, “Fenway South” is nearly a replica of Fenway Park in Boston, as the dimensions of the two ballparks are identical – including the 37-foot 2-inch-high wall in left field known as the Green Monster. The design allows players to get acclimated to the unique contours of the oldest ballpark in America.
One difference is that at Fenway South, fans can sit “inside” the monster. There are three rows of seating throughout the middle of the wall with netting in front to protect fans.
There is also a manual scoreboard along the bottom portion of the mammoth wall, just as in Boston.
The roofing around the ballpark provides some shade and reflects the cypress tree domes surrounding the ballpark. Locally manufactured masonry blocks that make up the ballpark are also embedded with seashells from Sanibel beaches.
Stadium tours are offered before each home game three hours prior to first pitch, as well as on non-game days after Feb. 6. Along with an up-close and behind-the-scenes look at JetBlue Park, fans will have an opportunity to visit the Green Monster and watch the Red Sox take batting practice.
Boston Red Sox Chief Marketing Officer Adam Grossman said fans can look for new food offerings this season from new pizza selections, street tacos and seafood. “We try to expand the menu options for fans,” Grossman said.
For Boston’s opening day against Northeastern, any active or retired military or first responder can receive two free tickets, Grossman said.
While Red Sox tickets sell out every year at JetBlue Park, there are still tickets available, Grossman said. In addition, the team sets aside tickets each day for walk-ups at its box office.
Tour prices for non-game day is $10 with children 12 and under free and $40 for adults on game day and $15 for children 12 and under.
Spring training game tickets to see the Red Sox run between $5 and $35. Reserved lawn seats cost $5 while box, grandstand and Green Monster seats round out the top of the $35 price tag.
Parking at each stadium on game day is $10.
For more information on JetBlue Park, tickets, suites, permitted items and more, visit www.mlb.com/redsox /spring-training/ballpark. The JetBlue Park Ticket Office is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. JetBlue Park is at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers.
For more information on Hammond Stadium, visit www.mlb.com/twins /spring-training/ballpark. Hammond Stadium Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Hammond Stadium is at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Fort Myers.