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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Stadium Journey's 2023 Grapefruit League Ballpark Ranking

In February 2023 Major League Baseball’s Spring Training returned to a full schedule of games for the first time since 2020. The intervening years were wiped out by the pandemic in 2021 and the labor lockout in 2022.

The Grapefruit League is the home for 15 MLB teams, playing games in 13 ballparks. Florida has hosted spring training in some fashion for more than 130 years.

All but six of the current MLB teams have held their spring training in Florida at some time in their history. Three cities in Florida have hosted spring training for more than 70 years. Fans welcomed the return of spring training, with a 2023 attendance of more than 1.4 million fans attending a Grapefruit League game.

The return of a full slate of games in 2023 has allowed us to do an updated ranking of the league’s home ballparks. To do this we employ our FANFARE rating system. This system evaluates each ballpark on its concessions programs, gameday atmosphere, neighborhood, fan support, accessibility, value, and other extras.

Special note: The Tampa Bay Rays ballpark in Port Charlotte was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ian. This left the ballpark unplayable for the 2023 Grapefruit League season. It forced the Rays to play their 2023 spring training games at Champions Stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. We are not including these two stadiums in our rankings, as they are only being used temporarily for the 2023 season.

Stadium Journey is proud to release our 2023 ranking of the ballparks of the Grapefruit League:

Lloyd Brown - LECOM Park has been a Pirate’s treasure, as the ballpark celebrated its 100th birthday in 2023. The park has hosted more than 6 MLB teams during its existence. The dedication to preserving the stadium and maintaining an excellent gameday experience is something to be admired. We were also impressed by the all-volunteer efforts of the Pittsburgh Pirates booster club in Bradenton to staff each Pirates home game. This earns the top spot in our Grapefruit League ratings for 2023. Congratulations… and Happy 100th Birthday to LECOM Park!

Lloyd Brown – Hammond Stadium delivers a strong Midwestern vibe to fans attending a Twins game. The concessions menu offers items like cheese curds, corn dogs, and brats. After that, you can wash it all down with a Killebrew root beer. The team also holds a Minnesota Day game, where fans are encouraged to wear something repping their hometown in Minnesota.

Lloyd Brown-The Mets took advantage of the two suspended years of spring training to transform its home in Port St. Lucie, FL. Clover Park’s changes have been a big hit with Mets fans. The ballpark made big improvements in its exterior, adding a lot of the blue and orange Mets team colors into its outward appearance. Accessibility was also improved, as the concourses were widened and extended to the outfield.

Lloyd Brown- If you close your eyes, you will swear you are at a game at Camden Yards when you attend a game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. You are sitting in a seat that came from there. The concession stands offer familiar foods from the Bay State, including crab cakes and Boog’s BBQ. We also love the beautiful grand lobby at the park, as it includes an impressive chandelier that features the pennants earned by the Orioles over the years.

Lloyd Brown- Fenway South has received rave reviews for its unique wing-like roof that helps to cool the fans on hot Florida afternoons. The park also replicates many of the quirky features of Fenway Park. This includes the Green Monster in left field, the Pesky Pole, and the singing of “Sweet Caroline” at each game.

Lloyd Brown- Oh Canada! TD Ballpark should earn the Comeback Ballpark of the Year in the Grapefruit League this year. The stadium is almost unrecognizable from its previous look. The exterior has had a major makeover, with the blue and white colors of the team becoming much more pronounced. The interior features new seating options, a much larger video board, an outfield boardwalk, and an improved concessions menu (don’t worry…. poutine is still on it!)

Lloyd Brown - BayCare Ballpark pioneered the use of several elements that are now found in nearly every

spring training ballpark. It was the first to offer a 360-degree concourse around the field, the

first to offer berm seating in the outfields and the first to offer an extended spring training

a menu that included regional favorites.

Lloyd Brown- The Tigers have called Joker Marchant their home stadium since 1996. However, Tigertown has undergone several renovations over time to keep the stadium up to date. Capacity has increased to 9,000 seats, making it one of the Grapefruit League’s largest stadiums. All new seats are in the shade, keeping fans cool on hot Florida afternoons. Best of all, Joker Marchant offers the unusual concession item of strawberry shortcake. This is because Lakeland Florida is considered the Strawberry Capitol of the World.

Lloyd Brown- The New York Yankees have been an iconic brand in baseball for many decades. Steinbrenner Field celebrates that status throughout the venue. Yankee legends are commemorated outside of the ballpark with the Monument Garden and a statue of “The Boss”. Inside the stadium, you will find concession items that you would expect to find in the Bronx. If you look toward the top of the stadium, you will notice the latticework that is suggestive of Yankee Stadium.

Lloyd Brown - CoolToday Park is the newest park in the Grapefruit League. It features a stunning graphics package on the outside, with murals featuring Braves greats including Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, and Phil Niekro. Inside the ballpark, the concourses are extremely wide and open to the field. There are drinking rails that go 360 degrees around the park. Fans can enjoy the Tiki bar in left field 365 days of the year. The concession package includes fried and grilled chicken, fried fish, and other food items with a Florida twist.

Mike Rusignuolo – Cardinal fans flock to Roger Dean Chevrolet in large numbers each spring, making this the toughest ticket on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Even though this stadium is shared with the Miami Marlins, the Cardinals are the main tenant in this ballpark. Cardinal fans fill the park for every game, and Roger Dean is rocking in red. When the games are over, fans have plenty of attractions in Jupiter, including several lighthouses along the Atlantic coast.

Sean MacDonald - The Miami Marlins are one of two teams to call Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium their spring training home. Their spring training HQ in Jupiter, FL makes them the closest team to their regular season home stadium. This makes it easier for their fans to travel a short distance to their spring training games. The ticket prices for Marlins games at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium for Marlins games are the lowest in the Grapefruit League.

Lloyd Brown - The Washington Nationals are one of two MLB teams to call The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches home. The park features unique sunshades at the top of each section of the stadium to provide a cooler environment for the fans. There are beach chairs atop the berm in right field to provide a unique spot to enjoy the game while sipping a cold drink. The park also features the iconic Presidential Race on the video board between the innings.

Lloyd Brown - The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches offers easy access from both I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. The complex also offers fans the easiest access to the training facilities and practice fields of any team in the Grapefruit League.

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