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The Red Sox travel to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL this week for two games: Wednesday against the Cardinals and Thursday against the Marlins. That’s right — the stadium is the only one in the Grapefruit League to host two teams, though sometimes it’s difficult to tell. “We went to a game between the Marlins and Cards and didn’t see a Marlins fan until the bar after the game,” my friend, Will reports.
Each of the clubs has its own practice complex beyond the outfield wall. The Cardinals are on the right field side; you can tell from the litany of World Series pennants. The Marlins’ side in left field features a large Jiffy Lube sign.
Located in a college town near the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University, the stadium is close to 95 and an easy drive from West Palm Beach. It’s a part of the Abacoa neighborhood which features several good places to get food and drinks before or after the game. In other words, this is a far nicer area than Fort Myers.
If you go to Spring Training, you’re probably hoping for player access and an intimate setting to watch the game. Roger Dean Stadium offers both, though the Marlins are probably a little easier to reach out and touch than the Cards. All the Marlins’ practice fields are open, while the Cardinals restrict fans to two of their fields. Both clubs allow autograph seekers to wander up to the bullpen before and during the game.
No matter who’s playing, Roger Dean Stadium features a great berm. What’s Spring Training without a berm? Sit out there, soak up the rays, enjoy the cushion of the green grass. Just remember: obey the BERM RULES.
You’ll probably want something to eat or drink while you’re enjoying the action. Of course, the Spring Training home of the St. Louis Cardinals features Budweiser products, but if you’re not in the mood for mass-produced swill, try a Monk in the Trunk, an organic amber ale made by local Inlet Brewing Company. I checked my Untappd app and it’s rated 3.3 stars (out of five). There’s also the “Chicago Hater Dog,” featuring diced onions, tomatoes, relish, celery salt, peppers and a pickle, and I observed a bacon-wrapped dog with pulled pork and coleslaw on Yelp. Both work for me. Maybe not for my cardiologist.
Who is Roger Dean? A deceased car salesman whose his company website features country music superstar Trace Adkins. “You just can’t do better than Dean,” says Adkins, grinning beneath his 10-gallon hat.
Mr. Dean’s facility also serves as home to the rookie league and Single-A teams for the Cards and Marlins.
Resources: Spring Training Connection