Governor's Baseball Dinner

February 16, 2020
February 16, 2020
CoolToday Park
18800 South West Villages Pwky
North Port, FL 34293

The Governor’s Baseball Dinner is an annual celebration of Major League Baseball Spring Training in the State of Florida.

The annual Governor’s Baseball Dinner has a long history dating back to the pre-World War II days, according to a column by the late Tom McEwen of the Tampa Tribune after its revival in 2008.

“This tribute affair has been on and off since it all started a couple of years before World War II with baseball people and sportswriters and radio casters in an organized drinking and jawing party at the old Tampa Terrace hotel in Downtown Tampa under the supervision of the bartenders at the Terrace Bar. The writers of the 40s, 50s and into the 60s, favored the Terrace for key reasons. One, they could be helped to their rooms, the bar was open until all had left, been thrown out or passed out, because Western Union was around the corner to press rate their stories north, east and west, because Howard Wright was an understanding bartender/manager, because early on there was a late afternoon flight to New York to carry film there.”

The dinner faded away in the mid-1980s but was revived in 2008 by Governor Charlie Crist. Since that time, the dinner was hosted at Tropicana Field from 2008-2013. Beginning in 2014, the Governor’s Baseball Dinner has been held in locations where new stadiums are being constructed or renovated to give the local communities a chance to show off their dedication to the Florida Grapefruit League.

In 2014, a reception was held at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. In 2015, West Palm Beach hosted the dinner, Fort Myers/Lee County was the host in 2016, 2017 the dinner was hosted at Joker Marchant Stadium, in 2018 the dinner was held at Tropicana Field and in 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis hosted his first dinner at the Kravitz Center, which is located on the site that was once home to Connie Mack Field.

The dinner is annually attended by the Governor, local elected officials, the Commissioner of Baseball, representatives of the 15 teams holding their spring training in Florida, and members of the local community.

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