Spring Training Ballpark Sees Plenty of Use

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Palm Beach Post (Florida)


Nearly 1,300 baseball games that have nothing to do with the Houston Astros or the Washington Nationals have been played at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches this year.

The nearly 2-year-old facility west of Interstate 95 and south of 45th Street is more than just the spring training home of the 2017 World Series champion Astros and the four-time NL East champion Nationals.

It also hosts baseball tournaments for all ages and levels of play, Minor League Baseball, fall instructional baseball and lacrosse tournaments, among other events.

November was a particularly busy month at the ballpark.

During a two-week span that ended Tuesday, the facility hosted a Perfect Game Youth Florida baseball tournament for players ages 13 to 16; a Men's Senior

Baseball League tournament featuring 200 teams from the United States, Venezuela and Puerto Rico; a youth lacrosse tournament featuring nearly 50 boys' and girls' teams; and an eight-day training event featuring the Canadian Junior National Team.

The Canadian baseball team also played a pair of exhibition games against the U.S. national team during its Nov. 12-20 stay in West Palm Beach. Those games drew huge crowds as well as more than 100 Major League Baseball scouts.

"This was a unique weekend that had two different sports and four different entities all on site at the same time," FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches General Manager Brady Ballard said. "We just thought it was a good showcase of what represents our summer and our fall."

The ballpark's 13 baseball fields get plenty of work between April β€” when spring training ends β€” and November.

This month's schedule began Nov. 4 with an international tournament organized by the Men's Senior Baseball League, which is the premier amateur baseball league for players ages 18 and older.

The league has held its tournaments at venues all over the country, but coordinator Gary D'Ambrisi calls the $150 million FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches one of the finest.

"This year was my 34th year hosting adult men's baseball events, and in all these years, we have never played on more beautiful fields," D'Ambrisi said. "We have played at almost all of the current and former major league spring training facilities in Florida, and this new facility is the grandest of them all. The atmosphere is fantastic."

Perfect Game Youth Florida Director Tak Walden also had high praise for the facility, which includes a 7,700-capacity stadium as its centerpiece.

"It's a world-class facility with world-class service," he said.

For information on FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, visit www.fitteamballpark.com.

[email protected] @JRWagner5

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November 24, 2018


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