Osceola County Stadium

Kissimmee, FL

Review by Mike

Osceola County Stadium was the home of the Florida Fire Frogs of the Florida State League, but when I visited in 1997, they were the Kissimmee Cobras. Have you ever seen one of those movies or television programs where the main character witnesses a crime, but when he returns with the police all evidence of the event is gone and everyone thinks he's crazy? Surely, you have. Think about that and you'll know what it was like to try to attend a Kissimmee Cobras game.

Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, FL
Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, FL

We were staying at the Disney resort, which is right next to Kissimmee, and I tried asking for directions to the ballpark. No one knew what I was talking about. This was 1997, so no GPS navigation. I tried the concierge, the bellhop, the doorman. I tried calling information. Nothing. No one had ever heard of the Kissimmee Cobras. No one even knew there was a minor league team in the area. When I mentioned the AA Orlando Rays, which they surely MUST have heard of, I got the same blank expressions. I kept looking for Rod Serling lurking in the shadows smoking a cigarette.

We finally did find the stadium... and it was even more eerie. There were about 50 people in the park, if that many. The sky was dark with looming thunderstorms and the few stragglers at the game were spread out as though in quarantine. There was absolute silence in the ballpark except for the smack of the pitch into the glove and occasional other sounds from the field.

Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, FL
Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, FL

When the PA announcer called out the trivia question, "Who was the last triple crown winner in baseball?" the answer came not from a fan speaking into a microphone held by a bouncy fan relations guy. Instead, some guy down the left field line simply shouted, "CARL YASTRZEMSKI!" and everyone could hear him clearly. "That's correct!" the PA boomed, unnecessarily. I had to wake the woman at the souvenir stand. She was very friendly and told me that my hat and pin purchase constituted her first sales in three games.

Oh, right. The ballpark. It was okay. Mostly aluminum benches wrapped around from foul pole to foul pole with some regular seats down close. A partial roof gave it a little bit of character, but nothing could overcome the funereal atmosphere. When Kissimmee scored, I felt like a drunken rowdy by cheering. Bizarre.

Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, FL

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1997

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