Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Rays to move workout between Disney, Tropicana

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays will split their spring training between the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Lake Buena Vista and Tropicana Field after their own facility on Florida’s Gulf Coast was damaged by Hurricane Ian, the team said Tuesday.

The Rays announced earlier this month that they would not be able to hold spring training at their Port Charlotte facility because renovations to their complex could not be completed in time for spring training. The Rays have trained in Port Charlotte, which is approximately 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, since 2009.

Ian, a powerful Category 4 hurricane, hit Florida’s southwestern Gulf Coast in late September.

The Atlanta Braves held spring training at the Disney resort for 21 years before moving in 2019 to Cooltoday Park in North Port, Florida, which is also on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“We are grateful for Disney’s willingness and ability to accommodate our unexpected spring training needs,” Rays team president Matt Silverman said in a statement. “The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will provide world-class facilities for our players and coaches to prepare for their annual season.”

The agreement allows the team’s major and minor leaguers to begin training at the complex as early as February. They would then move their major league operations to St. Petersburg, while minor league practices and games would continue at the ballpark on the Disney property.

“We are thrilled to bring Major League Baseball back to Walt Disney World Resort,” said Pharaoh Kelly, vice president of Disney Sports, in a press release. “We are always looking for top-notch events like Ray Spring Training for our guests to enjoy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.”

The Rays have played three regular-season games at the Disney facility, winning all three in 2007 against the Texas Rangers. The following year, the Rays took on the Toronto Blue Jays, improving to 6–0 at Walt Disney Stadium. World Resort.< /पी>

The Rays said earlier this month that the team and Port Charlotte officials intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park.

The team said in a statement at the time, “We are all disappointed with the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the Rays’ thoughts and hearts, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts.”

Nation World News Desk
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