Jackie Robinson Ballpark – Daytona Tortugas
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Jackie Robinson Ballpark
103 E Orange Ave
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Year Opened: 1914 Capacity: 4,200
Baseball on the Beach
Jackie Robinson Ballpark is unique in MiLB. First, it sits literally on the edge of the intercostal waterway in Daytona Beach, FL. Second, it has historical significance – this is the site where Jackie Robinson played his first professional baseball game after signing with the Dodgers, after other cities like Jacksonville refused to let him play because of the color of his skin. Finally, after years as a Cubs affiliate, the baseball team in Daytona is now a Reds affiliate as of 2015, and with that came a whole new color scheme and team identity in the form of the Tortugas (Spanish for turtle).
Food & Beverage 3
There aren’t a lot of food stands at the Tortugas home, as the stadium is very old school in its construction. That said the variety you find here is solid enough with plenty of affordability; you can find the usual ballpark fare in the form of peanuts ($3.50), Cracker Jack ($3), popcorn ($4), hot dogs ($3), and more. A fan favorite is the grande chicken nachos ($10) which live up to the name, as well as the buffalo chicken tenders ($6) and the funnel cake fries ($5). Drink options range from coffee to soda to tea and energy drinks, as well as Gatorade and bottled water with prices ranging from $2 to $5.
There is something to be said about a stadium with a classic look – that old time construction with the covered seating behind home plate and the blockhouse dugouts is very much prevalent in Daytona Beach. However, while many find the old aesthetic charming, it has its drawbacks. The old-style construction means that anyone sitting above the fifth row has an obstructed view thanks to the support beams for the roof. And, while all the seats under the overhang have individual chairs, the seating along left field for general admission is metal benches with no backs. However, the Budweiser Bullpen and right field patio offer seating options for fans and groups with a field-level view and various seating options.
The team has done a good job with the field itself and the stadium, maintaining the color scheme of the team throughout the facility rather well. Additionally, the stadium’s location on the water is a big plus as the view is pretty good from your seat.
Immediately across the street from the stadium is a small downtown area full of local shops, while immediately across the water from the stadium is Daytona Beach proper, featuring the world-famous beach, pier, and the expected shopping and dining options. In addition, closer down the road towards I-4 along International Speedway Blvd are countless restaurants and shops, as well as Daytona International Speedway. The city has also done a good job trying to revitalize itself to make Daytona Beach more visitor friendly, meaning there is plenty to do. For lodging, you can’t go wrong with the Extended Stay America or WoodSpring Suites Daytona.
As with nearly every Florida State League team, the attendance on game day is sparse most of the time, Games are rarely sold out, and even on nights that include the yearly appearance from Vince Carter you still won’t find the stadium even half full. With that in mind, the overall experience is still solid; the Tortugas are very family-friendly and the fans are a big part of that. Additionally, the fans who visit are a wide variety of baseball diehards, locals, and Reds fans traveling through the area hoping to see some of tomorrow’s stars.
To get to the stadium, it is as easy as taking the I-95 exit onto International Speedway Blvd and then heading east. Signage for directions to the stadium is well placed, so it is easy to find your way to the field. Right off the main road is the ballpark rising from the water’s edge on the corner of Orange Ave and Beach St, and parking is plentiful on site and only $2.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices start as low as $7 and go up to $15 for VIP seating – this means you won’t break the bank for tickets for a family of four, even when you add in concessions prices. Add that to the low cost of parking, and you have a great place to go watch a baseball game in Florida.
A statue of Jackie Robinson is a popular photo spot at the stadium for fans. Additionally, there is a big wall that features names of all the players from Daytona MiLB teams that have made it to the big leagues over the years.
Finally, all throughout the property are signs and infographics about the history of the stadium and its ties to Jackie Robinson’s story.
The idea of a baseball team playing in a beach city in Florida seems about as idyllic as one can imagine, and the stadium surely lives up to the image. With great views from the seats, fans in Daytona are treated to a great experience on game day. The affordability of Tortugas games is on par with the best the FSL has to offer, and it is easy to see why families and young baseball enthusiasts flock to Jackie Robinson Ballpark to watch a game, even through the heat of summer in Florida.