The Winning Inning Story
Roy Silver and Randy Holland, the key people of The Winning Inning, bring more than three decades of professional baseball experience from the St. Louis Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays, respectively to the young people of Tampa Bay area.
During this effort, they realized their life-long dream of a baseball school, which teaches strong fundamental skills built on player motivation and attitudes. Participants of The Winning Inning leave satisfied with their new and improved baseball skills. However, the light in their eyes and the smiles on their sweaty faces told Roy and Randy that they are truly succeeding. Giving each of them something beyond physical prowess: the JOY of achievement and the FUN in doing now what will pay dividends for a lifetime.
Jack Russell Memorial Stadium
800 Phillies Drive, Clearwater, FL 33755
Driving directions: Take Hwy. 19 north of St. Petersburg to Drew Street head west until you get to Martin Luther King, head north (to the right); the stadium is four blocks north.
Jack Russell Memorial Stadium Facts and History
Year opened: 1955
Dimensions: 340L, 400C, 340R
Jack Russell Memorial Stadium is one of the last old-time Florida stadiums still in use. Built in 1955, it's ringed by palm trees and exudes a relaxed attitude. This isn't to say that Philadelphians wouldn’t feel completely out of place at Jack Russell: the concession stand once sold Philadelphia cheese-steak sandwiches. And no mention of Jack Russell would be complete without Wilbur Snapp, who played the organ at Phillies' spring training games for over 20 years.
For the 2004 Spring training season the team has moved to a new Spring-training complex, also in Clearwater. The complex is a state-of-the-art ballpark and community sports facility with a classic Floridian architectural style. The ballpark features wide concourses, sloping berm grass seating in the outfield and approximately 7,000 fixed seats. The new ballpark and training facility covers the space at the former Home Depot site on U.S. 19 near Drew Street. Over 1,800 parking spaces are available on that site and across Old Coachman Road at the Joe DiMaggio Field complex. As a result of the new complex, the Phillies signed a 20-year contract to continue training in Clearwater.
The Phillies have been training in Clearwater since 1947. Jack Russell Stadium was also home to the Clearwater Phillies (Class A; Florida State League).
What is there to do in Clearwater while attending a Winning Inning Event?
Clearwater is less than 20 miles outside of Tampa-St. Petersburg and less than five miles from Dunedin, so you're in the midst of spring-training nirvana: Spring-training venues that are within easy driving distance of Clearwater include Lakeland (Detroit Tigers), Tampa (New York Yankees), Dunedin (Toronto Blue Jays), Bradenton (Pittsburgh Pirates), and St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay Devil Rays). You can expect your trip to a Winning Inning event to be filled with lots of baseball in the Tampa area.
The thing to do in Clearwater is really nothing: head to one of the many beaches and soak up some sun. One popular local attraction is Pier 60 Park, located at Causeway and Gulf Blvd. Pier 60 Park is a crescent of fine, powdery white sand that runs from the pass north for 1.3 miles. Shops, restaurants, a bait shop, and beach concessions are located by the pier, which is open 24 hours. A four-hour festival is held nightly from two hours before to two hours after sundown. Jugglers, magicians, and a variety of entertainers perform for the crowd that gathers each evening.
Tampa/St. Pete, of course, has its own set of attractions. If you're bringing all the kids, a possible stop is Busch Gardens, a theme part built around a zoo, various rides, and a water park. Those more in a mood for the nightlife will want to head to Ybor City, Tampa's Latin Quarter. It's a gentrified area that was once home to cigar factories that's now a shopping and entertainment Mecca. Ybor City's larger buildings can be seen a ways away, and the district -- located on 7th Avenue East between 15th and 20th streets -- is well served with many road signs showing the way. Notable nightlife spots include brewpub Barley Hopper's International Alehouse, the Green Iguana bar, and the Centro Ybor, which houses several clubs and restaurants. At night Ybor City gets pretty rowdy, as the music clubs bring them in. Oh, and you can still find hand-rolled cigars in Ybor City as well.
Also worth a trip is the Pier, located on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, The Pier features a five-story inverted pyramid with giant tubes bubbling with fish and creatures from the sea, complete with a second-floor aquarium filled with native and tropical fish and sharks. You'll also find educational exhibits from the Great Explorations Museum and the historic H.M.S. Bounty docked pier side. A few blocks over from the Pier is BayWalk, developed by the same people who built Centro Ybor.
For the truly surreal, there's the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Pete.
If you're looking for more excitement, you can head into Orlando, which is 75 miles up I-4. Spring-training venues in Orlando include Cracker Jack Stadium (Atlanta Braves) and Kissimmee (Houston Astros).
Where to Stay?
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Tampa International Airport is obviously the closest airport to Clearwater and the most convenient. All the major airlines fly into Tampa. You may also want to consider flying into the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Not all airlines fly into this airport, but many cost effective flights may be found.