Minor league baseball is an integral part of the local sports scene in Southwest Florida. Playing at Hammond Stadium, the Fort Myers Miracle have given the region a strong foothold in the popular Florida State League for the past 20 years. Based just to the north in Port Charlotte, 2011 also marked the third season of play in that “Advanced A” level minor league for the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Posting losing second half records, both teams uncharacteristically failed to qualify for the FSL playoffs. Even though the year was ultimately not successful in the standings, 2011 again succeeded in confirming the passion for minor league baseball in area residents.
At a time of economic turbulence, the Miracle and Stone Crabs continue to provide fun entertainment at reasonable prices. Additionally, attending these games offers fans the unique charm of the minor leagues. This is a tradition that resonates with nearly everyone, from diehard baseball loyalists to young families witnessing a game for the first time.
Not surprisingly, both teams have chosen to thank loyal fans by putting on a big show for the final home game of the 2011 season.
On Friday, September 2, the Miracle will face the Jupiter Hammerheads at 7:05pm. The finale at Hammond Stadium will fittingly pay tribute to the heroes of September 11, 2001, as that tragedy’s 10th anniversary approaches. A pre-game ceremony will honor law enforcement and emergency responders, while a post-game fireworks show will emphatically conclude the 20th season of Miracle baseball.
Similarly, the Stone Crabs will be hosting Fan Appreciation Night for their final outing of the year at Charlotte Sports Park. On Saturday, September 3, Charlotte will oppose the rival Bradenton Marauders at 6:30pm. The team is offering a special ticket package for this game, where $13 buys a reserved seat, Stone Crabs cap, and a hot dog and soda. A fireworks display over the stadium will follow the contest, before the lights are turned off on the 2011 season.
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