Over 25 years ago, the Mets opened Spring Training at their new Thomas J. White Stadium, named for the real estate developer that lured the club to the locale. Since 2004, the stadium's naming rights have been sold, remaining "Tradition Field" for most of that period. But at the last minute in February of 2017, the Mets inked a new naming deal with payment transaction giant First Data that saw the newly renamed "First Data Field" welcoming visitors for the first time that year.
While First Data Field is also the home of the Single-A St. Lucie Mets and the Rookie League Gulf Coast Mets (not to mention hosting some Florida state high school baseball tournaments), it gets most of its visitors as a Spring Training venue for the parent MLB club.
It wasn't originally a hit with players and fans, but regular renovations over the years (including $55 million planned for when the Mets break camp in 2017) have kept it up to current standards around the Grapefruit League.
Despite some meager community surroundings, the 7,160-seat First Data Field is a solid spring venue at an excellent value for fans looking to get close to their club.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
As with most categories, the Mets cover all the bases with food and drink, but don't hit anything out of the park. The main concessions serve modified versions of the same menu, with locations in the center field berm, and on the outer walkway by first base, home plate, and third base.
Your ballpark basics are covered with hot dogs ($4), burgers (w/ fries, $9), chicken fingers ($8), and Italian sausages or brats ($6.50). There're even knishes ($4.50) if you want a nosh. The Ulti-Met Grill (get it?) in the outer walkway by third base fresh grills burgers ($9), foot-long hot dogs ($7.50), chicken sandwiches ($10), and Italian sausages or brats ($9.50), all with chips.
Further down the third base walkway is the ever-popular taco-in-a-helmet stand ($7 for chicken or beef), and Bella Roma (on the third base side) offers stuffed subs ($8), as well as Italian desserts ($3-$5). Frank & Al's Pizza by home plate dishes out $6 slices and $42 full pizzas, while Sony's BBQ on the first base side has $8 pulled pork sandwiches.
The epicenters for drinking are Mulligan's Tiki Bar in left field and Mulligan's Beach House in right, which offer alternatives from the $7.50 24-oz souvenir Bud/Light at the regular concession stands. Both offer $6 tropical mixed drinks as well as $15 Malibu Buckets of rum punch, in addition to $9 cans of Corona, Modelo, and Kirin Ichiban. The Blue Point stand in the right field plaza has even more beer options, with $8 craft beers (Big Wave, Shock Top, SweetWater, Rob Bender Red Ale, and Goose Island). Coke rules the Mets roost, $6 for a souvenir drink and $5 for a regular. Water and Powerade are on offer for $4.
For atmosphere's sake, you can't beat getting an elaborate mixed drink such as the St. Lucie Cooler at the Tiki Bar ($6), taco in a helmet ($7), and then sprawling out on the berm for some baseball. You're at Spring Training. Live a little.
First Data Field is not the newest of parks in the Grapefruit League, nor does it have the historic pedigree of some of its brethren, but it is a regularly renovated facility that makes it a solid entry in the league and a good place to take in a game.
The entrances all lead up to the main walkways outside and inside the seating area. Both meet up at the start of the outfield, but neither circles the park. Left field ends in a large patio area, and right field goes into the picnic berm in right-center. The walkway in the seating bowl separates the lower and upper seats. At the top of the upper seats behind home plate sits the press box, luxury boxes, and party decks. Bullpens sit in the respective outfield corners in foul territory (the Mets are in left field), and the video scoreboard peers down from left-center to keep you up-to-date on the game.
Fans looking to see the most of the home team should acquire seats behind their third base dugout and arrive when the gates open an hour and half before game time. Autograph seekers can also camp out there up to a half hour before game time, when guests are allowed in any seating area of the park.
The Mets have recently renovated and opened up the practice fields behind the park, letting fans (especially autograph seekers) a closer look at the players. The entrance (down the walkway from the A-Gate entrance) can be hard to find. Just turn left at Gate A and follow the sidewalk until you see the signs.
Mr. Met is one of the few mascots that doesn't make the trip to Florida, which is a shame. Even his tropical-shirt wearing southern doppelganger doesn't make appearances, though the other Mets minor league mascots sometimes show their faces. Standard minor league entertainment of contests and tests of skill are scattered throughout the inning breaks.
Where you sit all comes down to how much you like the Florida sun. If you'd rather not fry, get one of the seats in the aptly named "Covered Seating." If you want to sit as close to your MLB heroes as possible, grab a Lower Reserve seat on the third base side. If you're there just for the sun, get a cheapo berm seat and lie out in the sun with the 7 Line Army for an afternoon of baseball.
When it first opened, players and press sarcastically called their new home "Port St. Lonely," and while the area has come along since then, it isn't a metropolis just yet.
Standard suburban strip-mall amenities are available a short drive south, and golfers will turn their heads at the 54-hole PGA Village complex just west of the stadium. Other than that, there just isn't a lot to recommend in the immediate area outside of Superplay USA, a boardwalk-type amusement center with bowling, batting cages, laser tag, and a restaurant that can be fun for families. All the other regional attractions, including the beach, are about a 20-30 minute drive to the east.
There's a wide variety of chain restaurants and bars on the nearby main drag of Port St. Lucie West, with some local standouts such as Tutto Fresco, Sam Snead's Tavern, West End Grill, and Roy's Sushi. Otherwise, take the drive to the beach or downtown for many more options.
For hitting the hay, the Outdoor Resort is closest to the park to the north, while many more options huddle a short drive to the south on the main drag right off I-95. MainStay Suites, Sleep Inn, and Hilton Garden lie to the west by the golf resort, while to the east, there's Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn. The closest cheap option is a Best Western about four miles to the east on Route 1.
New York sports fans are known for their passion and knowledge, so it is not surprising that the Mets' Spring Training crowds are no different, but they aren't as numerous as their passion might suggest.
Even with their recent success, the Mets sit solidly in the middle of Grapefruit League attendance. The crowd is mostly families, and they are New Yorkers looking for a break from winter, or transplants who have moved south to permanently flee winter's tyranny.
However, the fans in attendance are into the game more than most and knowledgeable students of the game (or loudmouthed know-it-alls). How seriously the game is taken often depends on the opponent. Even the bleacher-dwelling 7 Line Army now make the trip down with summer-themed shirts, nearly exclusively to be found on the center field picnic berm.
The park is located just off 95 and just under five minutes west of the Florida Turnpike. The signage leaves a lot to be desired, as it isn't prominent and still mostly reads "Tradition Field."
It is just about an hour north of West Palm Beach International Airport and an hour and a half from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. As with most of Florida, driving is mostly your only option, as the local bus service won't be of much assistance.
Parking is a league average $10 in grass lots around the park. The parking arrangements have gotten more complicated, but they lead to a better experience exiting the park and prevents parking near the alligator-inhabited lake in the back of the park.
Inside the park, a large concourse extends from the edge of left field by the party deck all around to the berm picnic area in right center. You can walk all around without missing any of the game, but (with the exception of the concessions on the top of the outfield berm) all the stands are located on an outside walkway and not the concourse, meaning you'll need to miss some of the game if you don't get your grub before the game or between innings. Concession lines get long during the game, so plan your trips. Long rows of seats and few aisles mean that getting in and out can be a problem, especially at the end of the game.
Outside of seeing your favorite MLB players in essentially a more personal minor league environment, one of the main benefits of Spring Training (especially for big-market teams) is being able to see your favorite players close-up and affordably. The Mets are one of the better teams in this regard, with a field-level seat going for the price of eating at the park up north.
Though the ticket prices are still creeping upwards as the team continues to perform well, they still remain a bargain. The two-tier pricing of "Classic" and "Premium" covers Premiere Box (home plate, $35-$40), Bullpen Reserve (outfield level, $30-$35), Lower Reserve (field level, $30-$35) Covered Seating (second deck field level, $20-$30), Upper Reserve (second deck field level with no cover, $20-$30), and berm (right field picnic hill, $15-$25).
The Mets go a little further than most teams for deals. There's standard flex pack and group deals that offer per-ticket discounts for each game, but there are also "Amazin' Getaways" that let snowbirding fans get game tickets, hotels, and exclusive events with the team all in one discounted package.
Nearly all the concessions are under $10 (with the exception of the chicken sandwiches, alcohol buckets, and full pizzas). Regular hot dogs are $4, and 24-oz souvenir beers run $7.50. All the concession prices are quite reasonable (especially from a NY perspective), the ticket prices for the seats can't be beat, and the park experience itself is worth the reasonable price of admission. Parking and programs are all about league average.
The $5 program comes with the fluff pieces that fans have come to expect from such baseball programs. The main team store is accessible outside the main entrance, and two smaller locations are inside the stadium itself. If you're feeling lucky, there are always at least one or two charity raffles going on for autographed merchandise, either at stands outside the entrance, or in the fan services booth in the outside walkway of the park.
Championship banners for the parent club, as well as the minor league affiliates that call First Data Field home, are just inside the back gate, as well as right below the press box, flanking the team's retired numbers (14 - Hodges, 31 - Piazza, 37 - Stengel, 41 - Seaver, 42 - Robinson).
A monument to 9/11 is located in a mini-park across the street from the main entrance, along with a slew of smaller memorials to milestones of park construction and renovation and late staff members of the Mets organization (Joe McShane, Andy Kaplan, and George McClelland).
The main entrance plaza is dedicated to previous namesake and field builder, Thomas White. A "To the Majors" section on the first base walkway to celebrate players who made it to the bigs from the low-minors teams at First Data Field. And all the roads out in the practice fields honor Mets greats (Tom Seaver Curve, Willie Mays Drive, etc.).
Kids can test their throwing arm at a blow-up pitch booth just inside Gate A, or sign up for on-field events at the fan relations booth.
Though not the newest or the nicest of the Spring Training venues, Mets fans can get their closest encounters with their big-league heroes at First Data Field for a reasonable price, at a good venue, and well worth the price of admission.
For more than 25 years, the New York Metropolitans have called Port St. Lucie their Spring Training home. For 2013, they had to dust off some signs in storage, as their two-year naming agreement with animation company Digital Domain was not renewed. But Tradition, FL, grabbed up the naming rights again, leading to the triumphant return of Tradition Field.
While Tradition Field is also the home of the A-Ball St. Lucie Mets and the Rookie-League Gulf Coast Mets (not to mention hosting some Florida state high-school baseball tournaments), this was a look at the park as a Spring Training venue for the parent MLB club. Despite some meager community surroundings, the 7,160-seat Tradition Field is a solid spring venue at an excellent value for fans looking to get close to their club.
For over 25 years, the New York Metropolitans have called Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie their Spring Training home. For 2013, they had to dust off some signs in storage, as their two-year naming agreement with animation company Digital Domain was not renewed. But Tradition, Florida, grabbed up the naming rights again, leading to the return of Tradition Field in 2014.
While Tradition Field is also the home of the A-Ball St. Lucie Mets and the Rookie-League Gulf Coast Mets (not to mention hosting some Florida state high-school baseball tournaments), it gets most of its visitors as a Spring Training venue for the parent MLB club. Despite some meager community surroundings, the 7,160-seat Tradition Field is a solid spring venue at an excellent value for fans looking to get close to their club.
8540 Commerce Centre Dr
Port St Lucie, FL 34986
1680 SW Saint Lucie West Blvd
Port St Lucie, FL 34986
9501 Reserve Blvd
Port St Lucie, FL 34986
There are no local entertainment entries. Help us build with your expertise!
800 NW Peacock Blvd
Port St Lucie, FL 34986
7900 U.S. 1
Port St Lucie, FL 34952