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Walt Disney World hosts the Tampa Bay Rays for spring training after their hurricane training facility

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earlier this month, Tampa Bay Rays They announced that they needed to move their spring base for 2023 due to severe damage to the team’s training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian. At the time, they said they were exploring “several options.” Now, Disney and the Tampa Bay Rays have announced that Major League Baseball will return to Walt Disney World Resort in 2023, with the team set to conduct part of its spring training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

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Following damage to the Tampa Bay Rays’ facilities in Port Charlotte, Florida due to Hurricane Ian in September, Walt Disney World Resort is thrilled to be able to offer the team professional-grade facilities and popular hospitality as they own a portion of spring training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. .

“We are grateful for Disney’s willingness and ability to meet unexpected spring training needs,” said Matt Silverman, Rays president. “The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will provide our players and coaches with first-class facilities to ramp up their annual up-season action.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Tampa Bay Rays senior and junior players will hold their spring training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this year. Major league spring training runs February 6 through March 1, with early arrivals reported on February 6 and pitchers and catchers reporting on February 14.

“We are thrilled to bring Major League Baseball back to Walt Disney World Resort,” said Varon Kelly, Vice President of Disney Sports. “We’re always looking for top notch events, like the Rays’ Spring Training for our guests to enjoy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.”

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has a long history of hosting professional baseball, having served as the spring training home for the Atlanta Braves for 20 years (1998-2019) and as the host site for the 2006 inaugural World Baseball Classic, which features major league players.

The Tampa Bay Rays also previously used the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as their home base. In 2007, they played three regular season games at the stadium and won all three games against the Texas Rangers. The following year, they swept a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, bringing their all-time Walt Disney World Resort record to 6-0.

As the team enters 2023 with high expectations after making the playoffs the past four seasons, they will be led by notable players like starting pitcher Shane McClanahan, who was named the starting quarterback for the MLS All-Star team in 2022, and shortstop wonder Franco, who is expected to be a contributor. A key player in the offense as Tampa Bay aims for its third division title in four years.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been conducting their spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida, located about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, since 2009.

According to the Associated Press, on December 1, when the team made the decision, the Tampa Bay Rays and Charlotte County issued a joint statement declaring that the damage to Port Charlotte’s Charlotte Sports Park could not be repaired in time to host games this winter. .

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans out there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support their recovery efforts.” “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”

Will you watch the Tampa Bay Rays when they practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex? Let us know in the comments below.

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