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Reds returning to Florida next spring — for a single game

Cincinnati RedsThe Cincinnati Reds are returning to Florida next spring, but just for a single game against their Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League).

The exhibition game is scheduled for March 27, 2014.  The announcement will be made Wednesday at 2 p.m. from a ceremony at home plate in Pensacola’s Bayfront Stadium.

The contest, the first time since 1958 that a Major League Baseball team has played in Pensacola, is the result of months of behind-the-scenes work by Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Reds executives to bring the big league team to the Bayfront.

Quint Studer, owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, said the long-standing history of baseball in Pensacola was part of the inspiration to bring Cincinnati to the Sunshine State.

“I have loved hearing from people who remember a half-century ago when they had the chance to see Major League players play in Pensacola. Having a Double-A affiliate team in Pensacola, the highest level of professional baseball in the city’s history continues to open up opportunities and experiences that were previously not available to the community,” said Studer.

“To watch current Reds players like Joey Votto, Homer Baily, Jay Bruce, Arnoldis Chapman, Tony Cingrani and others is an experience that we are so pleased to provide. Great college games, a Major League team playing in downtown Pensacola, then onto another wonderful Wahoos season.  It looks like 2014 is going to be a very special year, and we’re grateful to Reds organization and the Blue Wahoos sponsors and fans for making this game possible,” Studer continued.

The Reds trained in Florida between 1923 and 2008, with stops at Orlando’s Tinker Field (1923-1930), Tampa’s Al Lopez Field (1931-1942, 1946-1987), Plant City Stadium (1988-1997) and Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium (1998-2008) before a move to Goodyear Ballpark.

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