This will be the last spring the Boston Red Sox are training at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers. It’s not been an especially distinguished run in terms of ballpark architecture and amenities, as City of Palms Park and a nearby training complex were cramped, outdated facilities. Here’s a look at City of Palms Park in its final days as an MLB training facility.
Year Opened: 1992
Dimensions: 330L, 385LC, 410C, 385RC, 330R
Local Airport: Fort Myers
Address: 2201 Edison Av., Fort Myers,
Directions: From I-75, take Exit 23 West onto Martin Luther King Blvd., turn left on Fowler St. and then right on Edison Avenue.
A statue of Ted Williams greets fans at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, the spring-training home of the Boston Red Sox. But Teddy Ballgame never trained in Fort Myers, and his ties to the complex are exceedingly tenuous, to say the least.
And, in a way, so are the ties with the Red Sox as well. When City of Palms Park opened in 1992, it was good enough to draw the BoSox from Winter Haven’s Chain of Lakes Park for spring training.
But since then the world of spring training has changed from an unavoidabe expense to a profit center. Hemmed in by residential properties and unexpandable, City of Palms Park became a disposable facility the day the Red Sox realized there were new revenues to be gained from a new spring-training home. And the problems posed by City of Palms Park — unexpandable, more than a mile from the minor-league complex, capable of generating limited revenues — would be true for any other team moving in. So it’s more than likely that City of Palms Park will go away sometime in 2012 or 2013.
We’re not going to argue this would be a crying shame. There’s not much distinguished about City of Palms Park: it’s an OK ballpark in a marginal neighborhood. The seating bowl is comfortable enough, but the concourses are cramped, the concessions are already expensive (can’t see them going up too much higher in a new facility opening in 2012) and the party areas limited. The place sells out for virtually every spring game, but that has more to do with the passion of Red Sox Nation than the draw of City of Palms Park.
Still, if you harbor some nostalgia for the Sox and their World Series wins this decade, a trip to City of Palms Park in 2011 is in order. Call it the last hurrah, call it what you will. Have one last sausage with peppers and onions and a Sam Adams — the two best items sold in the place — and toast to World Series victories past.