ed smith stadium baseball

Celebrating a Century of Spring Training Baseball in Sarasota

Sarasota County celebrates its 100th anniversary as a spring training season destination! 

Another year of being one of the Sunshine State's ultimate diamond destinations for spring training. And this 2024 season, we're gearing up for a monumental occasion: the 100th anniversary of spring training baseball in our beloved city. As the palm trees sway and the sun beams down, baseball enthusiasts can listen for the crack of the bat and the cheer of the crowd from February through March. Batter up!

100 Years, 5 MLB Teams, 2 Stadiums

payne park tourist camp

For a century now, Sarasota has been the spring training home for five different Major League Baseball teams, hosting players and fans alike in a celebration of America's favorite pastime. From legends of the game to rising stars, our city has witnessed unforgettable moments on the field and created lasting memories for generations of visitors and locals alike.

100 years logo

As we embark on this historic milestone, we reminisce on Sarasota's longtime baseball legacy – with 10 generations worth of coaches, athletes and fans making their way down south to witness players hone their skills under the warm Florida sun.  From humble beginnings at Payne Park to two state-of-the-art facilities today, Sarasota County has been a beacon for baseball excellence. 

The first spring training grounds in Sarasota were originally at Payne Park (1925-1989) and ran as a tourist camp and spring training site for the Boston Red Sox until Ed Smith Stadium was built in 1989. The stadium became a Minor League Baseball site as well as the home of the Chicago White Sox (1989–1997). The following winter, the Cincinnati Reds arrived at Ed Smith for spring training in 1998 and would remain in Sarasota for nearly a decade. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles have called Ed Smith their spring training home since 2010 to today. Further south, CoolToday Park was built in the growing sector of North Port and opened in 2019 to become the official spring training facility for the Atlanta Braves. 

Catch Us at the Ballpark

cooltoday park

A centennial celebration isn't just about looking back – it's about embracing the present of the sport and the vibrant community that surrounds it. Whether you're a seasoned baseball buff or a casual observer looking for a sporty outing (no pun intended), there's something for everyone to enjoy during this special season at either of our county's baseball stadiums. 

Catch a game at Ed Smith Stadium, home of the Baltimore Orioles spring training, or at CoolToday Park, home of the Atlanta Braves during the 2024 season (February 24th–March 25th). Each of the clubs' spring schedules features 16 home games (including eight weekend games).

So grab a ballcap and a foam finger to join us in celebrating 100 years of spring training baseball in Sarasota. From the crack of the bat to the roar of the crowd, the spirit of the game is alive and well in our sunny paradise. We'll see you at the ballpark!