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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/10/24 : Spring Training

Just thought I’d drop a note for those folks who are coming down to visit for spring training which begins in earnest this coming Wednesday with pitchers and catchers workouts.  I have lived in the Clearwater area for the past seven years full time so can provide a “local” perspective.

Here are questions I’m frequently asked :

What time are workouts ?

Training schedules vary each day as do the focus of practices and what fields they will be held.  General information - the complex doesn’t open till 9 AM - the gates at the practice facility are closed till then.  Outdoor practice sessions occur anywhere from that point till early afternoon (say around 1 PM) albeit mostly in the mornings.  You can see players train on the complex fields (there are four fields and multiple bullpen areas), the half field in front of the stadium (infield practice and side bullpens) and in the stadium.  When the big leaguers practice inside the stadium it’s sometimes opened to the public to watch from selected areas.

Autographs :

When the players are practicing do not yell out to them to come sign autographs - it’s rude and not appreciated.  In general most will sign once they’ve concluded their training for the day or if in between sessions if seekers are cordial and polite.  Don’t run like a crazy person to pursue an autograph or crowd someone else in  - when the area is crowded that can be an injury waiting to happen.  If disruptive you will be asked to leave - so don’t be.

Where to Park :

There is construction ongoing on the North Old Coachman Road bridge adjacent to the Complex.  That not only cuts off one outlet and entrance but also hinders parking because the work is being done next to an open field that has previously been used for Phillies employee parking - if that lot is not available then the complex parking lot will have minimal or no parking spots for visitors.  Instead you will need to either park in the stadium lots, across the street from the stadium in the Joe DiMaggio complex lot or perhaps at some of the local parks (if available).  Long story short is expect to walk a bit if interested in coming inside the complex to watch practice.

Where to Eat :

The old Phillies legend of Lenny’s still lives on - it’s only a mile from the BayCare Ballpark stadium.   There’s also a very similar dining experience available at Sunset Grille (2328 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater) very close to the stadium.  If ya want a taste of Philly cheesesteaks you should get to Delco’s Original Steaks (1701 Main St, Dunedin) - just be aware that it’s cash only, they also sell steaks at the stadium at the food stand behind the plate (can use credit card there - in fact the stands won’t take cash in most lines).  Some of our local favorite places are Ozuna Pig (barbecue, pulled pork and beef brisket) located at 311 Orange St North, Palm Harbor, Fl, Casa Tina (Mexican food) located at 365 Main Street, Dunedin, FL, Grillsmith (2539 Countryside Blvd, Clearwater, FL) for both weekend brunch (outstanding tater tots) and seafood and steak dinners - really good food and BJs (27001 US Highway 19 - Countryside Mall, Clearwater, FL) for a large selection - great burgers, pizza, signature beer and a desert called Pizookies (yum).   If you're looking for an outstanding pie for desert get to Zukie's Pies and Cakes - 1527 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater, FL - award winning stuff there! There are also two Wawa’s close to the complex and multiple fast food places.

Those places are all relatively close to the complex.  There are a bunch of places on Clearwater Beach - can’t go wrong there so I’m told - as a local we rarely go out to that area - as Yogi used to say “No one goes there anymore as it’s always too crowded” 🤓.

Places to visit if not watching baseball :

Since I watch baseball everyday I’m not a good reference for this topic however there are plenty of beaches in the area to choose from and family places to go - the Clearwater Aquarium, Busch Gardens, Legoland and even Disney is within driving range.   There are some neat towns to visit also - Safety Harbor, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs are each fun experiences for shops, food, waterfront walks, tours and just places to see.

Hopefully that helps a bit if coming to visit - I’ll be around every day at the complex - I’m the funny looking fella in the floppy hat with binoculars around my neck who’s always watching the baseball action.  Say hello if ya like.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Note : I've partnered  with Fanatics on Phillies Merchandise - if you would like to help support my website and articles here's a link to order merchandise - I get a small commission on any sales - thanks for the support.

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