Cape Coral and Southwest Florida Feature Stories

The Red Sox People of JetBlue Park in Fort Myers

The People of JetBlue Park - Red Sox

JetBlue Park, the new home of Spring Training for the Boston Red Sox, opened it’s doors on February 25, 2012 for an open house to welcome a carnivalesque public crowd for the first time ever.

Click on any of the images for a larger version!

The atmosphere was festive. Bounce houses packed with joyous children filled the perimeter of the stadium. Beer, hot dogs and pizza flowed in a steady stream from the vendors.

The Red Sox team shop was open for business....and security was relaxed within the park, affording all visitors no-holds-barred access to usually restricted areas -- from the dugout and field, all the way to the skyboxes overlooking the band new complex.

With most visitors approaching from the westbound lane of Daniels Parkway, traffic and parking were considerately tougher than what we’ve all become used to at City of Palms Park.

JetBlue park is definitely bigger - more seats - cleaner - more corporate. It feels like a polished destination, which is to say, it has little of the storied ghetto charm which made City of Palms park unique.

The end result is, likely, closer to what people from the outside imagine when they dream Spring Training dreams of traveling to steamy Southwest Florida to see the Red Sox play before Boston has thoroughly thawed for the year.

Solid. Modern. With artistic-angled awnings. This is the field our Red Sox deserve.

However, I will miss paying five bucks to a struggling homeowner for the honor of parking on their cramped front lawn.

I will miss the walk through a colorful urban area on my approach to the ball park.

I will miss the familiar layout of the stadium which has become such a reliable spring tradition for so many of us New England ex-pats who live in Southwest Florida.

Now there is a new baseball destination to learn the idiosyncrasies of...

...a fresh place to feel at home among our New England tribe which has ventured south and congregated at this location to witness the spring spectacle.

JetBlue park shouts success...

It is grandiose - a master-planned, top tier baseball landmark.

Fenway South - complete with a convincing Green Monster replica.

New and exciting seat configurations...

All the sweetness of Norman Love as an official concession vendor - and with their official headquarters just around the corner....

JetBlue Park is the new tradition... a place which will welcome the Red Sox faithful for years to come. It’s different. It’s comforting. We lost some things...and we’re making up for them with additional amenities. And now, with opening day just around the corner, the excitement of seeing an actual game take place on these freshly-hallowed grounds stokes the imagination and rouses that old Massachusetts spirit and excitement.

Go Sox!

-- writing and photography by Eric Taubert

Join Eric Taubert on Twitter: @erictaubert

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