Finding Ed Smith Stadium on a Sunday afternoon in Sarasota, Florida, can be harder than it looks.
The narrow streets of a city with just over 50 thousand residents and 35 miles of coastline offer a sense of tranquility.
That’s at least true until baseball fans arrive at the corner of 12th Street and N Euclid Avenue near downtown Sarasota.
There, fans overflow the three arched gates outside the stadium and are greeted with a welcoming view of the field. Then, the atmosphere builds up. About 8,000 visitors pack the stands surrounding the diamond, creating the illusion that a World Series title is on the line.
In reality, it’s the opposite of that. It’s Spring Training.
Fans engage in friendly conversation and enjoy refreshments from one of the many concession stands. They can choose between typical ballpark items such as hot dogs and sodas to subs, salads and barbecues.
On the hallways, kids can spend time inside the Oriole-themed bounce house before running the bases at the end of the game. The parents, on the other hand, can bid on auction items, get souvenirs or enjoy a beer or Italian ice cream.
Die-hard fans also have a fair share of fun. They can ask for baseballs and autographs from either bullpen or hope for a home run on the left field concourse. To cap it off, older visitors can order drinks from the upper-deck bars located on either side of the stadium.
Regardless of age, there is an activity for everyone at the stadium. And only after the game is over, the peace is back at the corner of 12th Street and N Euclid Avenue.