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Monday, Sep 01st

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Hammond Stadium / Fort Myers Miracle / Minnesota Twins

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Hammond Stadium may be best known as the spring home of the Minnesota Twins, but it's also home to the Fort Myers Miracle of the Florida State League. Located on the southern edge of Fort Myers, the ballpark is clearly geared to the Twins and spring training, but the Miracle team draws well (at least by Florida State League standards), and the place isn't so overbuilt that you won't feel alone in the ballpark attending a Miracle game in the summer.

FAST FACTS

Year Opened: 1991
Capacity: 7,500
Architect: Lescher and Mahoney
Dimensions: 330L, 404C, 330R
Playing Surface: Grass
Website: miraclebaseball.com
Phone: 612/33-TWINS; 800/33-TWINS (spring training); 239/768-4210 (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Ticket Prices (2009): Dugout Box, $7 (Fireworks Nights, $8); Box Seats, $7 (Fireworks Nights, $8); Reserved, $5 (Fireworks Nights, $6.00); Drink Rail, $7 (Fireworks Nights, $7); Lawn Seating, $5 (Fireworks Nights, $5)
League: Florida State League
Parent: Minnesota Twins
Parking: Free in surrounding lot.
Address/Directions: 14100 Six Miles Cypress Pkwy., Ft. Myers. From I-75, take the Daniels Road exit west 2 miles to Six Miles Cypress Parkway; go south and the stadium is on the right.
Written by: Kevin Reichard

The ballpark is much simpler than you'd expect. It's a single-deck ballpark with all the seating between the foul poles. Built in 1991, the ballpark lacks staples found in newer spring-training facilities, such as an outfield berm, picnic seating or a party deck. All concessions are located in back of the grandstand, which means you'll miss the action if you sneak away for a cold one. (In fact, you might as well make an outing of it: the bar at the end of concourse on the third-base line is a nice place to hang out for an inning or two.) The view of the new houses beyond the outfield wall is just stunning -- not. Between the highway noise and the cinder-block wonders in center field, you quickly realize you're not in some bucolic Florida getaway.

The most notable thing about the ballpark, interestingly enough, is the ballpark's exterior, which puts a Florida facade on a pretty ordinary ballpark. The Twins draw well in spring training because a) Minnesotans are pretty sick of winter by the end of February and b) there's a spillover effect thanks to the Boston Red Sox also training in Fort Myers, as Red Sox fan cram in as much baseball during spring as they can and flock to Hammond Stadium when the BoSox are out of town.

But they don't come to Hammond Stadium because it's a great facility. And the Miracle draw because of the promotional abilities of the Goldklang Group. If you're in the area, take in a Miracle game to see what young prospects the Twins are grooming.