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7 Spring Training Teams Set Attendance Records

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We've apparently got a passion for America's Pasttime - seven spring training teams set attendance records this year, with several of those in the Tampa Bay area.

The teams setting attendance marks include the Baltimore Orioles, who train at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota; the Detroit Tigers, who have trained in Lakeland since the 1920s, at Joker Marchant Stadium; the Pittsburgh Pirates, who train at McKechnie Field in Bradenton; the Toronto Blue Jays, at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin; and our hometown Tampa Bay Rays, who spend Aprils at Charlotte Sports Complex in Port Charlotte.

The total attendance figure was compiled by the Florida Sports Foundation, a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc., from daily box scores and confirmed by each of the 15 teams in the Florida Grapefruit League.  Only games played in Florida between Major League teams were included in the total. Exhibition games against college teams and World Baseball Classic teams are not included in the final totals.

Eight teams topped the 100,000 mark in total attendance for the second consecutive year as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees led the way with over 164,000 fans at games in Fort Myers and Tampa, respectively.  The Red Sox edged the Yankees by 44 fans with a total attendance of 164,840 at Jet Blue Park while the Yankees drew 164,796 to Steinbrenner Field.

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McKechnie Field in Bradenton set an attendance record in April 2013

The 2013 season celebrated the 125th Anniversary of Spring Training Baseball in the Sunshine State. The tradition began in 1888 when the Washington Statesmen traveled to Jacksonville to work out in the “off season.”  Since that time, the “off season” workouts have become an economic benefit to the state as Florida Spring Training Baseball provides the State of Florida a $753 million economic impact each year.  The total was determined by an economic impact survey, compiled during the 2009 season, by Bonn Marketing Research Group of Tallahassee.

Here's the 2013 Team-by-Team Florida Spring Training Attendance:

Atlanta Braves - Disney's Wide World of Sports, Lake Buena Vista

18 Games: 134,811 total attendance; 7,490 average per game

Largest Crowd: 10,298 vs. New York Yankees, Saturday, March 16

Baltimore Orioles - Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

17 Games; 120,455 total attendance; 7,086 average per game

Largest Crowd: 8,797 vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Thursday, March 14

                                                                                                                     

Boston Red Sox - JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

17 Games; 164,840 total attendance; 9,696 average per game

Largest Crowd: 9,987, vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, February 23

                                                                                                                     

Detroit Tigers - Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland

17 Games; 136,858 total attendance; 8,050 average per game

Largest Crowd: 10,451 vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Friday, March 29

Houston Astros - Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee

16 Games; 53,602 total attendance; 3,350 average per game

Largest Crowd: 5,013, vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, March 10

                                                                                                               

Miami Marlins - Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

15 Games; 65,496 total attendance; 4,366 average per game

Largest Crowd: 6,934 vs. New York Yankees, Friday, March 8

Minnesota Twins - Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers

17 Games (one cancellation); 113,845 total attendance; 6,697 average per game

Largest Crowd: 8,366 vs. New York Yankees, Friday, March 22

New York Mets – Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie

17 Games; 83,412 total attendance; 4,907 average per game

Largest Crowd: 6,761 vs. Atlanta Braves, Sunday, March 17

New York Yankees - Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

16 Games; 164,796 total attendance; 10,300 average per game

Largest Crowd: 11,028, vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, Thursday, March 28

Philadelphia Phillies - Bright House Field, Clearwater

16 Games; 138,313 total attendance; 8,645 average per game

Largest Crowd: 11,100, vs. Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, March 17

                                                                                                                                          

Pittsburgh Pirates - McKechnie Field, Bradenton

15 Games (one cancellation); 93,433 total attendance; 6,229 average per game

Largest Crowd: 8,541, vs. New York Yankees, Sunday, March 17

St. Louis Cardinals - Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter

16 Games; 98,715 total attendance; 6,170 average per game

Largest Crowd: 7,629, vs. Detroit Tigers, Saturday, March 16

Tampa Bay Rays - Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte

17 Games at Charlotte Sports Park, 1 at Tropicana Field; 106,102 total attendance; 5,895 average per game

Largest Crowd: 15,167 vs. Detroit Tigers,,Saturday, March 30 at Tropicana Field

Toronto Blue Jays – Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin

16 Games; 78,509 total attendance; 4,907 per game average

Largest Crowd: 5,561, vs. Detroit Tigers, Saturday, March 9

Washington Nationals - Space Coast Stadium, Viera

16 Games; 85,270 total attendance; 5,329 per game average

Largest Crowd: 7,415 vs. Atlanta Braves, Wednesday, March 27

Florida Spring Training Total Attendance

247 Games (two cancellations); 1,638,457 total attendance; 6,6,33 per game

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