Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

GCL Orioles at GCL Twins - Postponed

Heavy rains blanketed Southwest Florida Tuesday morning and into late afternoon causing the game between the GCL Orioles and the GCL Twins to be postponed.

It will be made up as part of a double header on July 20th at Twin Lakes Park, starting at 11:00 AM. Both games of the double header will be shortened to 7 innings.

The second game will start approximately 1/2 hour after the completion of the first game.

The Twins are on the road Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday they will visit Sarasota to take on the Reds at the City of Sarasota Complex, and on Thursday they will take on the Red Sox in Fort Myers at the City of Palms Complex. Both games are to start at Noon, weather permitting.

Lee County Sports Complex

Hammond Stadium The GCL Twins play at the Lee County Sportsplex and those that do not live in Florida and are unfamiliar with the so called "complex" leagues, have wondered about the facilities available for the team. The GCL Twins, like all GCL Teams train and play in the facilities that their big league affiliate use for Spring Training. In the South Division, the Lee County Sportsplex and the City of Palms Complex rate as the two nicest and well kept of the facilities.

A $14 million undertaking, the Lee County Sports Complex was completed in February 1991. The 80 acre facility includes the 7,900 seat Hammond Stadium, four additional full size fields, two half fields, 10 covered batting cages, two observation towers and clubhouses.

The complex also features two soccer fields, a softball complex and other athletic facilities for use by Lee County organizations, plus an eight-acre water-management lake for public fishing.

The main stadium was renamed Bill Hammond Stadium, affectionately known as "The Bill", late in the 1994 spring season in honor of the County Commissioner who was instrumental in getting the complex built for the Twins.

The Stadium was renovated in 2007 to include additional "club" seating as well as a berm area, drink rail and party deck. New seating was added in 2008 to replace the old chairs and the fountain in the mall area as well as the clubhouse, was given a facelift.

Lescher and Mahoney, an architectural and engineering firm based in Tampa, Fla., were the lead architects for the project, with design assistance from Ellerbe-Becket of Kansas City, Mo. Case Contracting Company of Plant City, Fla., was the contractor. The Twins and Lee County had a 20-year agreement for use of the complex, which was recently extended to run through 2020. The Twins and Lee County then have two five-year options in the agreement, which would allow them to extended the deal through 2030.

The Twins pay an annual rental fee of $300,000 in exchange for all ticket, concessions and advertising revenues for the use of the complex.

The vast majority of the GCL Twins game are played on Field One of the training facility, although they have occasionally played in the main stadium bowl. The Stadium is used during the course of the season the by Twins High-A affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle.

The fans attending GCL games can look forward to shaded bleacher seating, but they should pack there own refreshments as none are available at the facility itself.

Visitor's grandstand and dugout
The visitors grandstand seating area and dugout. The bullpens are located on the far side of the dugout.

Lee County Sportsplex
The seating area on the home side. There is also a small grassy "berm" although it is actually a lawn, located on the visitors side between the bleachers and the charting table, which is located behind home plate.

Lee County Sportsplex
The rest rooms and storage facilty. There used to be vending machines, but they were regularly being vandalized and were finally removed. The closes source of refreshments at this time is the Walgreens around the corner on Daniel's Parkway. There is also a Jason's Deli and a number of sub-shops in the general area.

Lee County Sportsplex
One of the observation towers. It is also used for scoring during the games. Please note that the public is not allowed to visit the top of the tower.

Lee County Sportsplex
The large white building is the new strength and conditioning facility, which also includes meeting rooms and a cafeteria/kitchen for the team. The building directly behind it houses five of the batting cages. Additional batting cages are located at the main stadium.

The field to the left in this shot (which is looking south) is one of the half-fields, the field to the right is field one where the games are played. On the other side of these buildings is a smaller building that houses the administrative offices for the team.

Rain Delay
One of the fields used by the Fort Myers Miracle for training during the summer and by the Twins during spring training. Note the extended bleacher seating, as the spring training works outs are generally more heavily attended then the GCL games, which generally attract fewer then 35 spectators.

GCL Pirates
The stadium lights and scoreboard pictured in the background of this shot belong to the South Fort Myers High School stadium, which is located on the the other side of Plantation Drive. The school was constructed recently using revenues generated by MLB spring training in Fort Myers.

New batters eyes were installed following Hurricane Charley in 2004. The green canvas covers on the dugouts at the training facility were removed this year to increase airflow.

Merchandise is available at the Grand Stand Gift Shop located in Hammond Stadium. It is open during Miracle games. If you wish to visit at other time, pay a visit to the Fort Myers Miracle offices on the 3rd floor of Hammond Stadium and ask for Justin, he'll be happy to open it for you.

Thanks for visiting and remember...

This is Twins Territory

'Nough said!

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