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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Roger Dean Stadium / St. Louis Cardinals / Jupiter Hammerheads & Palm Beach Cardinals

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It is the busiest ballpark in professional baseball, a place where four teams play daily from the beginning of March through the middle of September. There's no ballpark that hosts two pro teams simultaneously for two different sessions, all under the same management.
Year Opened: 1998
Capacity: 7,000
Architect: HOK Sport
Dimensions: 335L, 380LC, 400C, 375RC, 325R
Playing Surface: Grass
Websites: rogerdeanstadium.com, palmbeachcardinals.com, jupiterhammerheads.com
Phone: 561/775-1818
Ticket Prices: $8:50 Adults/$6.50 for kids and seniors.
League: Florida State League (High Class A)
Parking: The main parking is located in the grass parking lot on the northwest side of the ballpark (located between Parkside and Stadium Drive). There is additional public parking available in the Abacoa parking garage west of the ballpark as well as throughout the neighboring Abacoa community.
Address/Directions: 4751 Main Street, Jupiter. From I-95, exit at Donald Ross Road (exit 58) and travel east one mile to Central Boulevard. At the light, make a left and follow Central to Frederick Small. Make a left onto Frederick Small and the ballpark will be on your left. 

Most fans won't realize what a feat this is, especially the fans descending on the park during its most popular times: St. Louis Cardinals spring-training games and, to a lesser extent, Florida Marlins spring-training games. Add in the two Florida State League teams calling Roger Dean Stadium home, and you've got quite the lineup.

Despite the heavy FSL schedule, this park was built for spring training. The two looming office buildings that make up the outfield view ensure you of that. In left field stands the office building of the Marlins, complete with the team's logo. In right field, a carbon copy of the left field building dons the logo of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The architecture of Roger Dean Stadium matches the Abacoa Town Center area that it's been nestled into perfectly. In case the palm trees didn't tip you off, the stucco-style structure of the building and roof tiles let you know that you are, indeed, in a Florida ballpark.

The seating arrangement at Roger Dean Stadium is easy to figure out and the sight lines are fantastic. The seats are as close to the field as they can possibly be, which makes for a real treat when you get to watch big leaguers during the Spring. The field box seats offer only a slightly better view than the loge box (which the stadium crew takes notice offering the same price for either during the Florida State League season.)

The field sits just about at ground level, so the concourse is built beneath the stadium's bowl. The concourses are wide and accommodating, and only the far outreaches of it aren't covered (a must for Florida's hot sun and constant rain). The team store, located behind home plate on the concourse level is fairly large for a minor league shop.

The party deck in right field offers a great view because it sits far above the field level. It's also got a great view right down the line to home plate. Roger Dean is also equipped with six air-conditioned luxury suites that sit at the press box level. Each suite is 320 square feet, includes a wet bar and has an outdoor patio section.

The wonderful thing about Roger Dean Stadium is that it manages to hold its charm even after Spring Training is long gone. While it's a great feeling to be in this packed "mini-stadium" watching Major League players, it's equally as refreshing to sit back and watch the minor leaguers on a few of those more mild summer nights.

CONCESSION
They say you can't go to Roger Dean Stadium without trying a trademark Dean Dog. There is plenty of other food to choose from as well, although the selection is your typical ballpark food.

The concession stands are well-located and there's more than enough of them to keep the lines down even during busy spring-training games.

FOR THE KIDS
Roger Dean does the typical things to keep kids entertained at minor league ballparks. If you do take the kids, we recommend the lawn seats to let them run around, especially during the Florida State League season when the park is mostly empty.

BALLPARK HISTORY
The $28 million ballpark opened on February 28, 1998 and was originally the Spring Training home of the Montreal Expos and St. Louis Cardinals. When Jeffrey Loria sold the Expos and bought the Marlins in February of 2002, he moved the Fish to Roger Dean and the Expos went to Brevard County.

In September 2004, Roger Dean suffered $3.2 million worth of damage due to Hurricane Frances.

BEFORE/AFTER THE GAME
Jupiter, and more specifically, the Abacoa Town Center where the stadium is located, has plenty of surrounding entertainment including a movie theater and various and restaurants. All are within walking distance of the complex.

Recommended: Rooney's Pub. It's a nice little Irish Pub setting and has the best food in the Town Center area. The Stadium Grill, right near Roger Dean, isn't a bad stop either.