City of Palms Park
is a stadium
in primarily used for baseball
, although the City of Fort Myers uses the
venue for the occasional concert. Former Boston Red Sox left
fielder Mike Greenwell
Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city
for spring training
. The stadium was
built in for that purpose and holds 8,000 people. It is also the
home of the Red Sox Rookie team, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox
April through June. The stadium's name is taken from the city's
A crew of six staff are on hand during spring training to care and
groom the Ballfields/Common grounds. Every effort is made to ensure
that the players have access to the best spring training facility
in Major League Baseball. Since Lee County Parks and Recreation has
taken this facility over from the City of Fort Myers in , the
Grounds Crew has won the Ground Crew of the year award for the Red
Sox Gulf Coast League in and .
Perhaps the most memorable game played at City of Palms was on
March 7, . This was the first game played between the Red Sox and
New York Yankees
since Aaron Boone
hit the home
that eliminated the Red Sox from the play offs the previous
October. Boone's replacement at third
, Alex Rodriguez
was the high
profile key acquisition of the off season for the Yankees, and he
was savagely booed by the 7,304 in attendance.
City of Palms Park is one of three spring training facilities in
Fort Myers. The Minnesota
Twins train in Hammond Stadium on the Southern end of town. Terry Park
Ballfield (also known as the Park T.
Stadium) in East Fort Myers is currently not in use, however, it is
the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics
, Cleveland Indians
, Pittsburgh Pirates
and Kansas City Royals
Boston Red Sox Player Development Complex
A little league field in Fort Myers
supports the Red Sox.
The Player Development Complex is where the Red Sox train and
practice before exhibition season begins at City of Palms. It also
houses all the Minor League
and coaches the entire month of March, and it is where players are
reassigned as they whittle the roster down during spring training.
Once spring training ends, Extended spring training runs from April
through the beginning of the Gulf Coast League season.
Instructional league takes place here from September to
This Complex includes: five baseball fields with bullpens and eight
batting tunnels. The Clubhouse includes: a spacious meeting room,
conference room, kitchen, six offices, a spacious players' locker
room with showers, a Trainer/Therapy room, a Hydro-Therapy room,
laundry room, an Umpire locker room, Coaches' locker room, and a
new, expanded weight training room that was added in - .
New spring facility
The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however,
team ownership had been toying with exercising the early out in
their contract that allows them to leave following the spring
season. Chief operating
officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials on
April 25, to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to
Sarasota's Ed Smith
Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring
home in .
John Yarborough, director of Lee County Parks and Rec, met with
Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect
is volunteering his time to brainstorm ideas on what can be done to
keep the Red Sox in Fort Myers. “I’d like to have a project by
2012,’’ Yarborough said after the meeting.
On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve
an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility
team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone
dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the
vote, but stated that he supported it.
Dee was present in the chambers for the vote, and took the
agreement back to Boston to meet with team owner John Henry
and other team officials. On November
1, 2008, the Red Sox signed an agreement with Lee County that will
keep their spring training home in the Fort Myers area for 30 more
Wednesday, April 30, 2009, the Lee County commissioners selected
the Watermen-Pinnacle site on Daniels Parkway (a little more than a
mile east of Interstate 75) as the site for the new facility.
choice, if negotiations between county staff and the developer
falter, is the University Highland site just north of Germain Arena in Estero.
Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is
volunteering his time toward the project, envisions a facility with
Park that would open for Spring 2012.
County officials have talked for months about the possibility of
securing another team for City of Palms with the Baltimore Orioles
(who had also been in
talks with Sarasota about Ed Smith Stadium, however, declined)
leading the list of potential new tenants.