It’s the spring training home for the Red Sox in Ft. Myers. On the outside, it has a Florida feel. But inside, it’s pure Fenway Park.
Many characteristics of the stadium are taken from Fenway Park, including the Green Monster in left field. It not only features the Monster seats on top, but seats inside the wall too. The wall is six feet taller at jetBlue and features a restored version of the manual scoreboard that was used at Fenway for almost 30 years. The field dimensions at jetBlue Park are also identical to those at Fenway, along with the Pesky Pole in right field.
When the Sox played at City of Palms Park in downtown Ft. Myers, they had to travel more than two miles to get there from the team’s training facility. At Fenway South, the training fields and clubhouse are in one location.
On this night, the Yankees were in town to play the Sox. And so was former manager Terry Francona, who was covering the game for ESPN. He likes the look of Fenway South and says, “It’s actually gorgeous. I didn’t mind the other one, I thought the other one was fine, but this is gorgeous. I haven’t certainly taken the whole tour, but it’s beautiful. I know they’re proud of it and it looks like they ought to be.”
This was the first time Francona was able to meet with his former players since he resigned after last September’s team collapse. And it was also a chance for Francona to meet for the first time with Bobby Valentine, the man hired to replace him.
But back to the park. Outside, it’s just as festive as it is game day on Yawkey Way. You get a real taste of Fenway, from the food to the entertainment, and there’s also plenty to see.
The original Ted Williams statue was moved from City of Palms Park to JetBlue and the retired numbers of all the Red Sox legends are not only displayed inside the park, but outside as well.
What’s remarkable about jetBlue is that the $78 million park was built in exactly one year, and it will be the Red Sox Spring Training home for at least the next thirty years.