The Tampa Bay Rays will be seeking a temporary spring training site after determining Charlotte Sports Park damage caused by Hurricane Ian was too extensive for camp in 2023.
The decision affects both the major league and minor league camps. There is an obvious solution as to where the major league training can take place–Tropicana Field and additional sites in Tampa-St. Pete–while Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex is also being discussed as home to a minor league camp, we’re told, but that complex has not been totally opened after a COVID-19 shutdown and won’t be hosting baseball events until mid-March, but as of now no decision has been reached. And there are other contenders: the city of Fort Myers has offered the team the use of City of Palms Park for spring training games, but that’s only a partial solution. From the team:
“Following a joint assessment of the damage to Charlotte Sports Park caused by Hurricane Ian, Charlotte County and the Tampa Bay Rays have determined there is not adequate time before the Rays 2023 spring training is scheduled to begin to get the park in suitable condition to host games. Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training.
We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts. The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”
No other team has announced changes to spring training as a result of Hurricane Ian damage, though the spring training homes of the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox did suffer damage caused by Hurricane Ian, but both have been cleared for play by Lee County.
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