- Lloyd Brown
Clover Park – New York Mets Spring Training
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Michael Rusignuolo, Stadium Journey, and Johnathan Puello
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
31 Piazza Dr
Port St Lucie, FL 34986
New York Mets Spring Training website
Year Opened: 1988
The Mets and Their Field of Clover
The New York Mets have held their spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida since 1988. This is the third longest relationship between a city and a Grapefruit team after the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Phillies. They have played those 35 seasons in the same stadium, although it has gone through several names, including Thomas j. White Stadium, Tradition Field, Digital Domain Park, and First Data Field.
In 2020, the park was rechristened as Clover Park. In conjunction with this change on the marquee, the venue began a two-year, $57 million renovation to address the many shortcomings of an older facility competing with much newer stadiums in the Grapefruit League. We’ll address those improvements through each section of this review.
Food & Beverage 3
Clover Field has a wide variety of food and beverage items available to suit almost any taste. The concession stands are grouped by section within the stadium, with sites behind home plate, along the first and third baselines, next to the Budweiser Terrace, and atop the berm in right field. They tend to replicate between these areas, so you should not have to venture far from your seat to find the stand item you want.
Stands carry the traditional ballpark favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken strips, fries, and popcorn. Many other stands offer regional foods that New Yorkers have come to expect. This includes knishes, bagels, and deli sandwiches. Still other stands feature only one item…. Funnel cakes, cotton candy, or Italian ice.
There are several places to purchase adult drinks at the ballpark. One of the most popular places in the park is the Corona Beach House in the outfield. It carries brands including Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, and Funky Buddha. There are more brands available along the Budweiser Terrace also in the outfield.
Branding has become very important in the world of professional sports, and the previous incarnations of the park had fallen behind the times in this area. The exterior of the park now leaves no doubt as to what team plays there. It features the blue and orange colors of the club, with branding messages and graphics featuring some of the Mets’ top players on display. The seating bowl is in the midst of a multi-season phasing in of 7,160 seats in the Mets shade of blue.
In the midst of all the renovations, it is nice to know that some things at Clover Park have remained the same. The capacity is still the same at 7,160, a comfortable amount considering the stadium’s footprint. The stadium design maintains the same two level seating bowl, with the clamshell canopy designed to keep as many fans as possible in the shade and out of the hot Florida sun. Most importantly, the field dimensions are still 338L, 410C, and 338R.
There are two Mets team stores at the complex. The outside store is open on non-game days and prior to home games. The second store is located inside the stadium along the concourse and is accessible only during the game.
The bond between the city/county of Port St. Lucie and the Mets has been a strong one over the nearly 40 years of their partnership. The longtime link between the two has actually led to a population increase in the area, as many longtime Mets fans have chosen to have their winter homes near the Mets Spring Training facility.
The Port St. Lucie location just off of I-95 allows the Mets to get to the Jupiter, Florida spring training home of the St Louis Cardinals/Miami Marlins, which is only 30 miles south of Clover Park. Port St. Lucie is also close to Vero Beach, the former historic home of the Dodgers. Many New Yorkers still remember that team from their days in Brooklyn. Ironically, the Dodgers move west to California led to the creation of the Mets.
Baseball is not the only game in town in Port St. Lucie. Golf is extremely popular in the area, and the PGA Village also calls the city home. There are dozens of private and public courses in the city. There are a wide variety of accommodations available in the city, with the Holiday Inn Express and Suites being the closest to the ballpark.
Folks looking for a bite to eat either before or after a game can’t go wrong with Duffy’s Sports Grill. In addition to great food and drinks, Duffy’s has a bank of TV’s tuned in to every sport imaginable.
New Yorkers are some of the most loyal fans in baseball…. If you are for “their” home team. If you are fans of the “other” New York team… you are their greatest enemy. That is unless you are a Red Sox fan… and then both sets of New York fans consider you their greatest enemy. All kidding aside, Mets fans had to endure the horrible teams of the early 1960s until the Miracle Mets breakthrough occurred in 1969. Since then, the Mets have fielded several World Series teams, and always seem to be in the hunt for a playoff spot in most seasons.
Over the years the Mets fans have been treated to many Hall of Fame players, as well as many colorful personalities. They have treasured great memories of both types of players. Many of the practice fields in the spring training complex bear the names of these Mets immortals.
Many Mets fans have made Port St. Lucie their winter home. They tend to make up a large percentage of the season ticket base for Spring Training. There is even a contingent of the 7th Line Army present at this southern outpost of the Mets world.
Getting to Clover Field is relatively easy from I-95. Take exit 121 (St. Lucie West Blvd) and go east on St. Lucie West Boulevard. Follow signs and make a left on Peacock Boulevard. Although there's no public transportation, rideshare pick-up and delivery is right in front of the stadium. Some hotels will shuttle fans staying at their hotels.
A major portion of the renovation budget at Clover Park was devoted to improving accessibility at the ballpark. This starts outside of the stadium, where a new left turn lane was added to Peacock Boulevard, making it easier for fans to enter the stadium parking lot. Once people exit their cars, the main entrance to the ballpark has been reconfigured with a new staircase, and additional security lines were added to make the entry process easier. The ballpark also went to electronic ticketing only, as this makes that process go much quicker.
The next area that has been improved through the renovations is the widening of the concourses inside the stadium. In the past, this area was very congested, especially between innings and prior to the games starting. The flow is much smoother now. The concourses are three times wider than before. Concession stands are set back into walls so they do not protrude into the concourse. The area where fans access the seating area from the concourses was also enlarged, enabling fans to get to their seats quicker, and also providing more air circulation into the interior corridors. One last structural deficit was addressed with the extension of the walkway on the third base side of the field out to the outfield concessions area.
Sets of elevators are available to the left and right of the main staircase. Ramps are located in other areas of the stadium. More restrooms have been added, each with stalls and sinks that are accessible. And, private areas for nursing mothers are on the concourse.
The gates at Clover Field open 90 minutes before the first pitch, allowing you plenty of time to check out the concession stands and find your seat.
Return on Investment 4
You might think all these renovations have led to an increase in the cost of attending a game. However, the Mets have one of the most reasonable prices to attend a game in the Grapefruit League.
Tickets are priced based on the level of the field and the location in relation to the field. First off, we need to share that all seats between the bases are for season ticket holders. You might be able to get tickets on the secondary market, but they will likely be pricey. The standard single game prices are $35 for lower level seats beyond the infield, $30 for upper reserved seats beyond the infield, and $25 for berm (known as “The Hill”) seating in right field.
Parking at Clover Park lots is $15. Please remember that all features at Clover Park are credit card only. You can prepay for your parking on the team website. Concession prices vary widely between stands, but the rule of thumb is that the specialized stands selling a limited menu tend to be pricier.
Clover Park’s street address was changed in 2020 to 31 Piazza Drive to honor its longtime All Star catcher Mike Piazza with both his name on the street and his uniform number as the location on the street.
There is a display of more than 850 baseball bobbleheads on the concourse at Clover Field. These figurines feature the Mets players, broadcasters, and managers who’ve worn the blue and orange, as well as many other Major League stars.
The Mets hosted two exhibition games at Clover Park with teams from Nicaragua and Venezuela prior to the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The Mets and the Yankees Spring Training homes each feature a memorial to the lives lost on 9/11. They both were constructed of steel recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center Towers.
Clover Park also serves as the home stadium for the Class A affiliate of the Mets, the St. Lucie Mets.
The renovations at the longtime spring training home of the Mets have been a big hit with the fans. It functions at a much higher level, with greater accessibility, and new concession areas. The lack of branding in the ballpark has also been addressed with a name change in the street address, as well as new graphics featuring the blue and orange colors of the team throughout the park.