The impossible became possible. Last year, even I had doubts about the Red Sox new spring training facility being done in time for the 2012 season. Thankfully, I was proved wrong.
On February 17, I got the privilege of visiting the new Red Sox spring training stadium, JetBlue Park. I was one of two kids who were allowed in the stadium before February 25. It was incredible! I have been to many baseball stadiums, and next to Fenway Park, this may be one of the coolest. There is something for everyone!
This project did not come easily, however. Construction began on March 4, 2011 and the project team claimed that it would be ready in 2012. From dust to an MLB spring training facility in one year! The project took 900 workers and 20 subcontractors. After all was said and done, the project cost about $78 million. The new Red Sox spring training and player development complex, Fenway South, includes six practice fields, the 11,000-seat JetBlue Park stadium, a clubhouse, and a 2,400-square foot team store.
JetBlue Park includes a small replica of the Green Monster. For all us Red Sox fans, we know that the Green Monster is the large green wall in left field at Fenway. JetBlue Park’s slightly smaller Green Monster seats 378 fans up above the rest of the field for a high in the sky view. Inside the Green Monster, a person inside will run back and forth putting up scores. Why you ask? Because JetBlue Park’s Green Monster uses one of the old manual scoreboards from Fenway!
Not only is JetBlue Park brand new, but there is also a twist that no other stadium has. A modern roof especially designed for southwest Florida. The architects who designed the stadium created this roof. They were challenged by Red Sox owner John Henry to make something cool and contemporary, but also something that still created shade. Mr. Henry has traveled to many of the Olympic and World Cup Stadiums around the world and wanted something different for JetBlue Park. They took up Mr. Henry’s challenge and came up with a white wave-like roof. The roof’s shape was inspired by the native Cypress trees that surround the site.
What is there for kids? Well, before every game there will be fun games that kids can play. This includes games on Fenway South Drive, inspired by Yawkey Way, where they will have face painting, magicians, stilt walkers, and other games for kids. There will also be great food including Fenway South Pizza and everyone’s favorite ballpark franks.
Some old Fenway traditions will also be incorporated. Players may sign the inside of the Green Monster just like they do in Boston. The mini Green Monster is also painted in a color called Fenway Green, the same color as the Green Monster in Fenway.
So in the end, what I thought would be impossible did become possible (and amazing!) within the last year. Everything came together for the good, and the Red Sox are now in a new stadium at the beginning of a new season. Go Red Sox!!!!!!!
Fun Fact: Did you know that 6’ 1”, 185-pound Jacoby Ellsbury wears size 12.5 shoes? I saw his new shoeboxes in front of his locker in the clubhouse during my stadium tour!