Review by Gary
BayCare Ballpark is the Philadelphia Phillies third spring training facility since the team moved their pre-season home to Clearwater in 1947, the second-longest affiliation between a major league club and its spring training home. Built in 2004, BayCare Ballpark is also home to the Florida State League Clearwater Threshers. The Phillies departed venerable Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in 2003 after a 48-year residency.
A classic Floridian cream-colored stucco design makes up the exterior grandstand and is smartly decorated with the history of Phillies logos throughout the teams’ existence. Thanks to the grounds crew tending to the field on the April 2021 morning I visited, I was able to stand on the warning track to take in the majesty of this very attractive stadium.
The Phillies spring training fields at the Carpenter Complex are visible from the outfield concourse and an infield-only practice field next to BayCare Ballpark can be seen from the terraced home plate entrance to the stadium.
With an overall capacity of 8,500 (7,000 fixed seats with additional grass berm seating for 1,500), fans enjoy complete 360-degree access around the entire park. Berm grass seating can be had beyond three quarters of the outfield fence with the remaining section for both bullpens and a Tiki Pavilion area in the left field corner. Suites and Club sections on the second level offer both indoor and outdoor seating while most of the seating options are at field level from foul pole to foul pole. Yellow plaques at the end of each row featuring a palm tree and the Phillies logo add a very nice touch.
One of BayCare Ballpark’s unique qualities is the varying heights of the outfield fence. The wall’s height is lower by the left field bullpen and rises in front of the entire seating berm before making one final leap in height at the Wawa sign, making it more than twice as tall at the right field pole than it is at the left. A banner in right field also celebrates Phillies’ world titles. BayCare Ballpark feels like an enjoyable venue to catch a ballgame under the Florida skies.