Thanks to the beautiful weather of Florida’s Gulf Coast, baseball in Sarasota has been a fixture for nearly a century. Every year, beginning in late February through early April, Major League teams gather from across the United States for spring training. Prepping for the start of the regular season, players relish the extra time to practice, train, and play against each other. Western teams play in Arizona (known as the Cactus League) and eastern teams make their way south to Florida (Grapefruit League).
Baseball in Sarasota History
The annual tradition of hosting Major League teams in Sarasota began in the 1920’s when owner of the New York Giants, John McGraw, was persuaded by two good friends, Samuel W. Gumpertz and John Ringing, to bring his team to play at the newly constructed baseball diamond in the city’s Payne Park. Season tickets for reserved seating sold for $1.
After the Giants, the Indianapolis Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago White Sox all played at Payne Park. In 1989, the new center for Major League baseball in Sarasota, Ed Smith Stadium, was built on 12th Street. The Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and for the last seven years, the Baltimore Orioles have called it home. A $31 million renovation of the stadium was completed in February 2011.
This year, season begins February 26th and runs through March 30th. Major league teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Philadelphia Phillies are some of the visiting teams you’ll find competing against our home team, the Baltimore Orioles. View 2017 season schedule here: http://m.mlb.com/orioles/tickets/spring
But it’s not just baseball players who migrate to the Gulf Coast during the spring months. Many people visit Southwest Florida for a variety of reasons – be it to enjoy our top-rated beaches, world-class culture, exciting attractions, and endless recreation.
Sports in the Sunshine
The Sarasota area is an incredible place to enjoy and excel at many sports. The variety of sporting venues include Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota Polo Grounds, the world-famous IMG Academy and Nathan Benderson Park— which will host the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Plenty of nature trails, parks, miles of waterfront and beautiful beaches present abundant opportunities for boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, cycling and more.
For those who dream of life in the sun and by the shore, the Sarasota-area coastline offers over 35 miles of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, including award-winning Siesta Key Beach. Here, sun-filled days on the sand spill into magical evenings capped with brilliant sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2016, the Sarasota County School District was rated “A” for the 13th consecutive year by the Department of Education. In addition to highly rated elementary, middle and high schools, notable colleges and universities highlight the area including New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art & Design, State College of Florida and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
For golfers, the Sarasota area offers over 80 public and private courses to challenge every level of player. Many of these emerald fairways are consistently voted the top places to play in the US by golf magazines, and are located in residential communities. Visit GolfNow.com to make t-times and see available courses in the area.
Amazing Arts & Culture
Circus magnate John Ringling of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey made his mark on the area in the 1920s and brought with him a world of arts and culture that never ended. Now considered to be the cultural capital of Florida, Sarasota is home to the Sarasota Ballet, The Ringling Museum, the Van Wezel, the Sarasota Orchestra, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, The Sarasota Film Festival, and enough art galleries to rival any big city.
An Area for All Ages
The Sarasota area is truly a destination for all ages. Sarasota School District’s “A” rating from the Department of Education combined with our notable institutions for higher learning make this region a center for families and young adults. Equally so, Sarasota is consistently named one of the top places to retire in the country. This recognition comes as no surprise when you consider the stable climate and quality of healthcare. Sarasota Memorial Hospital is one of only two Florida hospitals to have achieved the federal government’s highest 5-star rating for overall quality and safety.
Buy, or Sell a Home in Sarasota with Michael Saunders & Company
When considering real estate in Sarasota, the first name that comes to mind is Michael Saunders & Company. Founded in 1976 on St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, the company is locally-owned, independent and globally connected, with 650+ associates known far and wide as local real estate experts dedicated to both customer and community.
We specialize in every neighborhood along the Gulf Coast from Bradenton to Boca Grande, and have been helping visitors become residents for over 40 years. Our in-house Relocation division makes it easy to connect with the right associate and property for your specific needs if you are planning a permanent move.
To browse properties for sale in Sarasota and beyond, visit the award-winning MichaelSaunders.com, where you can search for homes by lifestyle and use smart mapping tools to pinpoint areas of interest. Lifestyles include On the Beach, Waterfront, Golf & Tennis, City Life, Arts & Culture, 55+ and more.
We look forward to welcoming you to Sarasota, Florida, and invite you to contact a Michael Saunders & Company agent should you require any information or assistance with Sarasota real estate. To learn more about things to see and do in Sarasota County, head to VisitSarasota.org.