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Grapefruit Games

March 14, 2005
March 14, 2005

Table of Contents
March 14, 2005

SI Players
SI Adventure
Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
LETTERS
PRO BASKETBALL
Baseball
College Basketball
Golf
Inside
Inside the NBA
Departments

Grapefruit Games

Where to get loose with the Red Sox, the Yankees and eight other major league teams

1 LEGENDS FIELD (Yankees) Regulars at this mini--Yankee Stadium include Dick Vitale and Warren Sapp, both of whom have homes in the area. Just as in the Bronx, groundskeepers prance to YMCA while dragging the infield; games conclude with Sinatra's New York, New York; and there's even a Monument Park with plaques of Yankee greats.

This is an article from the March 14, 2005 issue Original Layout

2 BRIGHT HOUSE NETWORKS FIELD (Phillies) Year-old park replaced Jack Russell Stadium, where, during an '85 Florida State League game, an ump ejected organist Wilbur Snapp for playing Three Blind Mice. The new place features Hooters girls shagging foul balls in the outfield.

3 KNOLOGY PARK (Blue Jays) Second-smallest Grapefruit League park (capacity: 5,509) is also home field for Dunedin High and offers a small taste of Canada: The concession stands feature Labatt's beer.

4 PROGRESS ENERGY PARK (Devil Rays) Stadium is next to the Yankees' former home and lies next to the race track (near Turn 4) where the IRL's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be run next month.

5 MCKECHNIE FIELD (Pirates) Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean trained here with the Cardinals and ran a gas station a few blocks away, leading to the team's 1930s nickname, the Gas House Gang.

6 ED SMITH STADIUM (Reds) In '03, 3B Aaron Boone saw longtime Dayton Daily News writer Hal McCoy, who had recently gone legally blind from two strokes and feared he wouldn't be able to do his job, looking distraught. Boone convinced him to stay in the business and later helped guide McCoy to interviews in the Reds' locker room.

7 WILLIAM HAMMOND STADIUM (Twins) The Twins' Class A Fort Myers Miracle also play here, occasionally in front of part owner Bill Murray, and have had fun promotions such as Cork Night and Bobblehead Elections.

8 CITY OF PALMS PARK (Red Sox) Gotta shop early to see the champs in Fort Myers. Last year the Sox sold out every game, and 100-plus camped out for Sox-Yanks tickets, which were later scalped for up to $500.

9 JOKER MARCHANT STADIUM (Tigers) Beautiful views of Lake Parker beyond the outfield have helped keep the Tigers in Lakeland since 1934--the longest spring training tenure of any team.

10 CHAIN OF LAKES PARK (Indians) In '87, when the Red Sox played here, Boston pitcher Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd was notified of a warrant in the clubhouse by police for overdue videotapes rented from a local store. Among the titles: Nudes in Limbo and Fists of Fury. --Adam Duerson

FAN FUN

Some big hits outside the parks

A CHRISTY'S SUNDOWN RESTAURANT Leaving the restaurant in '91, Red Sox 3B Wade Boggs fell out of a moving SUV driven by his wife, Debbie. Boggs suffered a gash on his right elbow and a bruised ankle.

B TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART An exhibit called The New York Yankees and the American Dream features baseball-inspired art and runs through April 3.

C GATOR LANES Twins manager Ron Gardenhire bowls at this Fort Myers alley every Monday during camp. Last year he rolled a 300.

D PHILLY'S FAMOUS CHEESESTEAKS The closest visiting Philadelphians can get to the real thing. Joint imports hoagie rolls from Philadelphia daily.

E MIKE GREENWELL'S FAMILY FUN PARK The former Red Sox LF opened this Cape Coral wonderland, which features paintball, fish feeding and go-karts. Greenwell occasionally hits in the batting cages.

COLOR MAPMAP BY JASON LEECOLOR PHOTOCOURTESY OF DAVID LEVINTHAL AND PAUL MORRIS GALLERY (RUTH)COLOR PHOTOJACQUELINE LARMA/AP (CHEESESTEAK)COLOR PHOTORICK STEWART/GETTY IMAGES (BOGGS)B/W PHOTOBETTMANN-CORBIS (BOWLING)COLOR PHOTOLWA-DANN TARDIF/CORBIS (GO-KARTS)TEN COLOR PHOTOS