Results tagged ‘ JetBlue Park ’

JetBlue Park Retired Numbers Courtyard

Just because I’m back in Rhode Island doesn’t mean I can’t still write about my time in Ft. Myers. One of my favorite features of the the new ballpark is the Retired Numbers Courtyard outside “Gate E.” I took some photos of the display before I left and wanted to make sure you had a chance to see them.

Joe Cronin

Carl Yastrzemski

Johnny Pesky

Jackie Robinson

Ted Williams

Bobby Doerr

Carlton Fisk

Jim Rice

Flower Bed Next to the Numbers

Outside “Gate E”

My broadcast partner Steve Hyder is now in Ft. Myers for the entire week. You can check out Steve’s updates by reading his blog.



PHOTOS: Red Sox vs. Yankees at JetBlue Park

Well before Bobby Valentine created a stir by saying he was upset by Joe Giradi’s decision to end Thursday night’s game in a 4-4 tie, it was a circus at JetBlue Park for one reason: Terry Francona.

The former Red Sox manager was part of the ESPN broadcast team covering the game and the media went crazy over Tito’s return to Red Sox Spring Training.  Below are some pics I took throughout the day.

Every reporter in the house wanted to talk with Tito before the game.

Francona looked like he enjoyed seeing some familiar faces from the Boson media. 

Bobby Valentine talking with David Ortiz during batting practice.

PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler throwing BP before the game.

The view of batting practice from the dugout.

A single Rawlings MLB baseball on the Shop costs $16.99. Maybe this is why parking at Fenway costs so much?

Red Sox super-shortstop-prospect Jose Iglesias taking some infield during batting practice.

Bobby Valentine chatting with Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser of ESPN. Buster Olney is sitting to the left.

This was taken about two hours before first pitch. Gates open at JetBlue Park 90 minutes prior to the start of the game. One security guard told me that there were people who camped out overnight!

This was a real thrill for me to be able to see these three great broadcasters: Joe Castiglione, the “Voice of the Red Sox,” Don Orsillo, the TV voice of the Red Sox on NESN, and all the way at the end is Dan Schulman of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

The Monstah.

There is seating on top of the Monster and in the Monster.  You can’t see it well in this picture, but there is netting in front of the seats in the Monster to protect the fans.

Pesky’s Pole in right field already getting some signatures.

The view from on top of the Green Monster. 

Today I’m off to the Twins’ complex for a 1:00 first pitch between Pawtucket and Rochester with my good friend and “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs,” Mike Antonellis. More on today’s game coming later tonight.



From the Backfields to the Broadcast Booth

Yesterday was as much fun as I thought it would be. Not only did I get to watch the PawSox game in Port Charlotte followed by the Red Sox game at JetBlue Park, I had the great privilege of watching the majority of the Red Sox game from the WEEI broadcast booth above home plate.

Joe Castiglione is entering his 30th year as the “Voice of the Red Sox” and it was a real thrill to be in the booth next to him while he was calling the game.  Joe and his broadcast partner Jon Rish are terrific guys and they were even kind enough to answer some of my questions between innings.  What I maybe found most interesting is that Joe carries with him a small blue three-ring binder that contains a hand-written notecard with information on every Red Sox player and every opposing player as well.

Joe writes down things he reads in the media guide, online, or that he gets directly from a player.  He told me that when he physically writes it down, he retains the information much better than when he types it (I’m the same way).  Throughout the game he would write new information on certain players’ cards for use later in the season.

Here’s a look inside the Red Sox broadcast booth at JetBlue Park.  To the left is Jon Rish, on the right is Joe Castiglione. Through the glass to the right you can see former PawSox broadcaster and current Red Sox TV broadcaster on NESN, Don Orsillo.  Next to him in the navy shirt is the one-and-only Jerry Remy.

Today the Red Sox are on the road playing the Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, but I’ll be in attendance for the PawSox 1:00 game this afternoon at home against Rochester.  But before I leave for the ballpark I wanted to share with you some more pictures I took from yesterday’s game in Port Charlotte.

Not many hot dogs were served from this concession stand behind the minor league field where the PawSox and Durham Bulls played yesterday.  It did, however, provide some shade which was in short supply.

So much for the shade! This was my view for most of the game (throwing a Gatorade towel over my head never seemed like such a good idea).  Although it got a little warm at times, I was at least grateful that they had bleachers set up for spectators to sit on.

PawSox outfielder Daniel Nava getting loose before the start of the sixth inning.

Only in Spring Training can you find a dugout as charming as this one.

Eammon Portice pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning including two strikeouts, but before he took the mound he was busy charting pitches behind home plate.

The Texas Rangers called Port Charlotte their Spring Training home for 15 years before leaving in 2002 for a newer ballpark in Surprise, Arizona.  In 2009 the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement with the county to invest over $27 million in renovation costs in order to bring Charlotte Sports Park up to state-of-the-art standards. The renovation costs were more than five times the ballpark’s original cost of $5 million.

I’ll talk with you again late this afternoon/early evening to update the blog on today’s PawSox game.  For live updates during the game you can follow me on Twitter.  Have a great day!



Live From Ft. Myers: Day 2

David Ortiz is at the plate as the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays play in front of a sellout crowd tonight at JetBlue Park.  I’ll watch the game soon enough but right now, from my seat in the press box, I want to get you up to speed with what happened earlier today in Port Charlotte between the PawSox and Durham Bulls.

Chris Balcom-Miller (left) started for Pawtucket and went four innings, allowing two runs.  The PawSox scored their first run thanks to a 2nd-inning solo shot off the bat of catcher Matt Spring (below). Unfortunately, that was half of the club’s run production on the afternoon.   In the 6th inning first baseman Mauro Gomez singled and scored on an RBI double by right fielder J.C. Linares.

Caleb Clay (0-1) came on and worked a scoreless 5th inning but then allowed the go-ahead run in the 6th inning to suffer the loss.  Lefty Hunter Jones could not keep things close and was charged with five runs over  two innings. Eammon Portice tossed the bottom of the ninth inning (even though the Bulls were up by six) and retired the side in order, including a pair of strikeouts.

Today’s loss marks the first of the Spring for the PawSox who are now 5-1 in Grapefruit League play.

PawSox Notebook

  • Daniel Nava’s solid hitting continued today with a double to center field (the wind helped it some).
  • Will Middlebrooks did not play in today’s game; Gomez played only as the DH.
  • Parking at JetBlue Park is $9.00.  That’s $9.00 more than you’ll pay for parking at McCoy Stadium.
  • Tomorrow I’ll be in attendance for the PawSox 1:00 p.m. first pitch against Rochester.
  • I’m on the hunt for the best local fish taco.  If you happen to know where that might be, please let me know!
Time for me to go be a fly on the wall in the Red Sox radio booth with Joe Castiglione and Jon Rish.  Tomorrow morning I’ll post some more photos from today’s game.

Talk with you then.


AUDIO: Interview with’s Jonathan Mayo

It was a nice surprise to find Jonathan Mayo, the top minor league writer for, at JetBlue Park yesterday afternoon.  He was kind enough to give me about 10 minutes of his time to talk all things Red Sox minor leagues.

Jonathan had some interesting insights on Bryce Brentz, Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, and Ryan Lavarnway.  We also talked about how stacked the Sox system is offensively and how the club’s pitching prospects aren’t quite as deep.  You can listen to the interview in its entirety by using the embedded audio player above.

Today should be a busy day for me.  I’m leaving my hotel in Ft. Myers around 11:45 a.m. and will travel about 40 minutes north to Port Charlotte to watch the 1:00 first pitch between the PawSox and the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay).  Like yesterday, I’ll be tweeting live updates and the occasional photo (where the players look like they’re about a mile away).

After the game, it’s back to Ft. Myers to watch the Red Sox 7:05 p.m. start against Toronto. It promises to be a long – but fun – day.  My hope is to update the blog once I’m back at JetBlue following the PawSox game.

I’ll chat with you then.



Gomez Goes Deep as PawSox top Durham, 6-5

Forget Opening Day, my first PawSox game of 2012 is in the books.  So maybe a Spring Training minor league game isn’t quite the same as a regular season affair, but it was still a blast to see live baseball again and get my first taste of Fenway South.

The most obvious storyline about today’s PawSox game was that Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves got the start for Pawtucket.  Having an established big leaguer who can really pitch start a minor league game played on a nondescript backfield is definitely a contrast, but one that’s fun to watch. Aceves picked up the win despite getting knocked around: seven hits including four doubles.  Overall he gave up three runs and left some pitches up, but he was still a pleasure to see live.

(Above) Aceves warming up prior to the fifth inning.  He worked with catcher Matt Spring who appeared in three games with the PawSox last year. While in the dugout following the sixth inning, Spring complimented Aceves on his communication.

Kevin Bloes, the manager of the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, is doing the managing for the PawSox games while Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler is assisting the Red Sox coaching staff in big league camp.  I talked with Boles after the game this afternoon and when I asked about Aceves he described him as a pitcher with “plus commanded who has life to his fastball and who can change speeds well.”

Offensively, the biggest eye-opener for me was the bat of Mauro Gomez.  The former Gwinnett Brave connected on the first pitch see saw today and blasted a no-doubter over the left field fence.  Now the new PawSox’ first baseman, Gomez was a force last year with Gwinnett, finishing the year batting for average and power (.304/24 HR/90 RBI).

While it was Gomez’ bat that initially opened eyes today, he made an outstanding play at first in the early innings.  The Durham batter hit the ball sharply to Will Middlebrooks at third base and, as a result, Middlebrooks’ throw to Gomez at first was high and slightly down the line.  Gomez – wh0 has a thick, stocky build – sprung into the air, stretched his arm above his head to make the catch, and then slapped the tag on the runner a split-step before his foot hit the bag.  I asked Boles about the play and, as impressed as he was with it, he said he hasn’t seen enough of Gomez to know if that type of play was out of the ordinary for him.  Nevertheless, in the nine innings I’ve seen him play, he’s better defensively than I initially thought.

(Above) Will Middlebrooks at bat in the first inning.  The Red Sox No. 1 Prospect (Baseball America) finished the day 1-for-3 with a single.


  • Che-Hsuan Lin, the track star from Taiwan and current Red Sox outfield prospect, is pretty impressive up close.  I had never seen him in person and was surprised to see that he’s well built and doesn’t have the slim build we imagine most speedsters having.
  • I had a chance to speak with newly acquired right-hander John Maine during today’s game (he was in the stands).  He’s very well-spoken and describes himself as an “East Coast guy.”  John and his wife make their off-season him in Charlotte and one month ago they welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Reese.
  • Harper has proven to be an asset for the Red Sox and spends Spring Training scouting, among other things, the pick off-moves of opposing minor league pitchers. (AP)

    One of the highlights for me today was speaking with Red Sox base-stelaing legend, Tommy Harper.  Now in his 10th season as a player development consultant with the Sox, Harper held the Red Sox’ single-season record for stolen bases in a season (54 in 1973) until 2009 when former PawSox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury set the new club mark with 70.  Mr. Harper gave me a 20 minute crash course in the art of base stealing which was a really fun moment for me.  He left me with this piece of knowledge: “a good base stealer reads [the pitcher] – he doesn’t guess.”

  • While I was writing my first blog around noon today from the press box at JetBlue Park, I looked to my left and spotted Jonathan Mayo, the (great) minor league writer for  He was kind enough to let me interview him for about 10 minutes after the PawSox game and I plan on posting that audio interview here later this evening/early tomorrow.  He was very kind and humble to talk with and had some terrific insights on the Red Sox minor league system.

Time to grab some dinner and prepare for my “road trip” to Port Charlotte tomorrow where I’ll watch the PawSox play Durham at their place.  We’ll chat again soon.



PawSox Fans Interview Manager Arnie Beyeler

A short while ago, PawSox fans on Facebook and Twitter submitted questions to our very own Pete Sachs in an off-season edition of “Ask Arnie.”  Because of his question, Gregory Levinsky won four tickets to the double-header on April 7 thanks to our 125 Tickets in 125 Days promotion. We’ll make sure to keep the Ask Arnie feature going throughout the season.  Thank you to all of the fans who submitted questions.

PawSox Fans: Do you evaluate yourself as a manager by the success of your teams? Or by the success of individual players making it to the major leagues?

Arnie Beyeler: I like to measure success with both. The priority is getting players to the next level – no matter which level that may be. That’s what it’s all about in the big picture, but I think winning is also a big part of a player’s development.  Players learn how to win by playing the game the right way.

PSF:    How much notice does a Triple-A team get when a player is called up?

AB:     If the player is a starting pitcher or a young position player, sometimes they get a few days notice.  However, the majority of the time they get told after a game and immediately leave to meet their new team whether in Boston or on the road the next day.

PSF:    Which PawSox player(s) have the best chance to make the leap this season from good to great? Who is a dark horse this season to shine in Pawtucket that fans may not know about?

AB:     That’s not a fair question for me to answer because we think all our guys have the opportunity to play in Boston in the future.  With their help, it’s our job as development guys to make them better.  Sure, some are closer than others, or may fill a need at the next level better, but we have a very talented group that we feel are just waiting their turn to get the opportunity to succeed up there.

Beyler returns to Pawtucket in 2012 for his second season as the PawSox manager. (Kelly O'Connor)

PSF:    How much different is the process of strength and conditioning for your players now compared to 10 or 15 years ago?

AB:     Keeping fit has turned into a year round job due to all the money available at the major league level.  Players can’t sit home and expect to keep their jobs anymore without getting stronger and better in the off-season. It’s very competitive at every level and as a result we ask a lot out of these guys. 

For example, players lift weights throughout the season on a consistent basis depending on our travel schedule and their roles on the team.  Pitchers lift the day after they throw and starters have a strict four-day workout routine between starts. It’s a little tougher with relievers since they could pitch any night.  Position players do the organizational shoulder strengthening program at least twice a week and are expected to do an upper and lower body workout at least once per week. With our travel schedule that can be tough to accomplish. Keep in mind, all of this is on top of their daily work on the field (fielding, batting practice, etc.).

PSF:    What are your impressions of the brand new JetBlue Park?

AB:     The sight of the complex is very impressive.  One of the differences between JetBlue and Fenway are the seats in the middle of the green monster with a net in front of them. The dimensions are the same: Pesky’s pole and how the wall jets straight back behind it, the deep triangle in center field, the bullpen nook in right-center and the angles down third base line. 

PSF:    Were you very familiar with Bobby Valentine before he took the Red Sox managerial job? How much are you looking forward to working with him this spring?

AB:     Bobby Valentine has been a much respected figure in baseball for quite a while so I am familiar with that aspect of him.  Prior to Spring Training, I had never met him or worked with him.  His enthusiasm is contagious and he’s proving to be a great teacher of the game.  He’s been extremely energetic and detailed oriented in his first couple of weeks down here and is very hands on in everything we do on each field with all the players.

So there you have it, the first “Ask Arnie” of 2012.  Feel free to email or tweet me anytime with a question you’d like us to ask him while I’m in Ft. Myers March 18-25.  Thank you again to Pete Sachs with the PawSox for coordinating all of the questions.  

I’m off to record PawSox Insider with Steve Hyder.  On this week’s show we’ll have International League President Randy Mobley, New York Yankees’ Beat Writer for the Wall Street Journal, Dan Barbarisi, and Chris Mellen of  You can listen to the show on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on 920 WHJJ.




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