ROGER DEAN STADIUM
|Dimensions||325L, 400C, 325R|
|Local Airport||Palm Beach|
|Ticket Prices||Field Box, $33.75; Loge Box, $31.75; Reserved Bleachers (Third Base Side), $19.50; SRO, $12.25|
|Season Ticket Prices||Field Box, $345; Loge Box, $315|
|Tickets on Sale||Now|
|Ticket Web Site||marlins.com|
|Address||4751 Main St., Jupiter, FL 33458|
|Directions||From I-95, exit at Donald Ross Road (exit 83) and travel east one mile to Central Boulevard. At the light, make a left and follow Central to Frederick Small. Make a left onto Frederick Small and the ballpark will be on your left.|
St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training: Lots of Red in Southern Florida
The Miami Marlins share Roger Dean Stadium with the St. Louis Cardinals during the Grapefruit League spring-training season. Roger Dean Stadium is now one of the older ballparks in the Grapefruit League – the $28-million facility opened in February 1998 – and the total capacity is 7,000: 6,400 in box seats, bleachers and skyboxes, up to 300 on a party deck, and 300 in berm seating. There are six luxury suites as well.
It is one of the busiest ballparks in professional baseball: besides hosting the Marlins and Cardinals in spring training the ballpark also hosts two Florida State League teams and a slew of other events. The emphasis, understandably, isn’t on luxury: it’s on running a smooth operation that can be sustained year-round. (Yes, year-round: in off months you’ll see things like World Baseball Classic games, beer festivals, and the Wiffle Ball World Series on the schedule.) Some might call it a little bland, even, and built before the great explosion in spring-training facilities featuring wraparound concourses, Tiki bars, and lots of party areas. At Roger Dean Stadium, there’s no concourse ringing the inside of the ballpark: the limited concourse and concession area are located behind the grandstand. And there’s really no theme associated with the ballpark: it’s not done up in Spanish style like many other Florida stadiums, for instance. Instead, Roger Dean Stadium is ringed with native oaks and palmetto trees in a very understated manner. Baseball is serious business at Roger Dean Stadium, and you don’t need to be distracted by things like concession stands and concourses.
Originally Roger Dean Stadium was also the spring-training home of the Montreal Expos. However, when Jeffrey Loria sold the Expos and bought the Marlins, he retained the Florida rights and property that had belonged to the Expos, and he decided to move the Marlins’ spring training to Jupiter while still paying on a spring-training lease at Space Coast Stadium in Viera. The word was that Loria wanted the team to train closer to his home in Palm Beach, but team officials insist that the swap was made in order to market the Marlins to Palm Beach County.
It is a spacious facility: The entire complex includes 12 major-league practice fields (six for each team), two half-sized infields and three clubhouses (one for the Marlins, one for the Cardinals, one for the visiting team). If you go, be prepared for some walking, as practice fields used by both teams are not particularly close to the main parking ramp serving the ballpark.
Roger Dean Stadium was designed as part of a larger residential/retail development in eastern Florida. It was named for West Palm Beach car dealer Roger Dean, whose family bought the naming rights; the Roger Dean name still lives on at three local car dealerships. During the regular season Roger Dean Stadium is home to the Jupiter Hammerheads (Class A; Florida State League) and the Palm Beach Cardinals (rookie; Gulf Coast League).
Some say a game at Roger Dean Stadium is one of the greatest experiences in spring training. It is a throwback to the days when the emphasis was on the game and not on the amenities. Of course, many say that’s a false choice – in a place like Steinbrenner Field or Hammond Stadium baseball comes first and foremost, despite what’s going on at the party deck – but a game at Roger Dean Stadium is a relaxing event, to be sure.
Spring Training History
The St. Louis Cardinals have held spring training in the following locations: St. Louis (1901-1902); Dallas (1903); Houston (1904); Marlin Springs, Texas (1905); Houston (1906-1908); Little Rock (1909-1910); West Baden, Ind. (1911); Jackson, Miss. (1912); Columbus, Ga. (1913); St. Augustine, Fla. (1914); Hot Wells, Texas (1915-1917); San Antonio (1918); St. Louis (1919); Brownsville, Texas (1920); Orange, Texas (1921-1922); Bradenton (1923-1924); Stockton, Cal. (1925); San Antonio (1926); Avon Park, Fla. (1927-1929); Bradenton (1930-1936); Daytona Beach (1937); St. Petersburg (1938-1942); Cairo, Ill. (1943-1945); St. Petersburg (1946-1997); Jupiter (1998-present).
The St. Louis Cardinals have trained at Roger Dean Stadium since it opened in 1998. The Montreal Expos trained here from 1998 through 2002, and in 2003 the then-Florida Marlins began training there.
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