21.06.2013 - 30.06.2013
Waaay back in June we visited our first Jacksonville Suns Minor League Baseball game at Bragan Field. The field is near the centre of town, and only about 40 mins from us. For as low as $7.50 you can sit on the grass and enjoy all of the action of a favourite American pastime. Although now highly controversial, one of the greatest baseball players of all times, Alex Rodriguez or ARod, was once a Jacksonville Sun!
For our first game, we had tickets next to the dugouts and we had a great view of all the action (and the fireworks!) and we were even able to meet the Suns' mascot, Southpaw (southpaw means a left hander in baseball speak). Carys loooooves Southpaw! Every Friday night there are fireworks at the ground, there are always giveaways, jumping castles and games for kids and some nights, there are even concerts. The Suns are always a great family night out and this year we watched a few great games, including the 2013 All Star game. Might fit a few more games in before we come home too!
A week after our Suns game, we travelled south to St Petersburg, an outer suburb of Tampa and home of the Tampa Bay Rays Major League baseball team (amongst other things). We stayed in a beautiful old hotel right on the waterfront but close to the ballground. Tropicana Field is the only Major League park to feature an artificial surface and all-dirt base paths. Being a fully enclosed stadium, 'The Trop' is never washed out and when the Rays win, the roof is lit orange in honour of the major sponsor Tropicana Dole Beverages (a soft drink company who sub specialises in orange juice). The Trop also has a touch tank full of cow nosed rays that can be fed and touched prior to game time!
The view from our seats. The touch tank is located under the Hess sign to the right of the scoreboard. It is closed and covered just before play but if a Rays player hits a ball into the tank, the Rays will donate $5,000 to charity with $2,500 going to the Florida Aquarium and $2,500 going to that player's charity of choice. The ray tank is maintained by the Florida Aquarium which is not for profit.
Sometimes after a game, concerts are held on the outfield and it was getting pretty noisy, hence Carys is covering her ears.
Yay, Rays win!!