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Charlotte Sports Park (formerly known as Charlotte County Stadium and Ranger Stadium) is a baseball stadium in Port Charlotte, Floridamarker. The stadium is the home field for Tampa Bay Rays spring training operations, as well as its Class-A Florida State League Charlotte Stone Crabs and Rookie-class Gulf Coast Rays teams.

Originally built in 1988, the main stadium underwent a renovation that was completed in January 2009 at a cost of $27 million. [309511]

Charlotte Sports Park in January of 2009, nearing completion of renovation.

Prior to the Rays, the stadium was once home of the Texas Rangers' minor league affiliate Charlotte Rangers, and has played host to college baseball tournaments and the South Coast League Charlotte County Redfish.

Historical Events

After signing an unprecedented 10 year deal worth $252 million with the Texas Rangers, in 2000, slugger Alex Rodriguez held a press conference with the sports media at the stadium. The stadium, which was being vacated by the club at the end of the 2002 Spring Training, was unable to accommodate the significant number of news reporters. In an effort to allow enough room for reporters to speak to Rodriguez, the press conference was held on the roof of the Rangers' dugout -- a clear sign that the Rangers had outgrown the facility.

During the 1994 Spring Training, the Rangers played host to the Chicago White Sox who featured basketball star Michael Jordan. The game drew a record crowd and was one of only a few sites in Florida to host Jordan.

In the Spring of 1993 , Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan announced his retirement from the clubhouse at the stadium.

The Rays opened Spring Training at the renovated stadium on 2009-02-14. They lost their first Spring Training game to the Cincinnati Reds on February 25, 7-0. Their first Spring Training home win came on February 27, a 12-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.

Other uses

The stadium has also been used by the local community for events like concerts, festivals, and expos. It has hosted such musicians as Kenny Rogers, The Beach Boys, and Simple Plan. The latest new event will be the hosting of a family festival with many activities including concert entertainment by THE LITTLE RIVER BAND, and MAIDEN CANE. The concert portion of the festival is produced by Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment.

External links

Charlotte County Sports Park construction photos (plumbing)

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