Since I am here in SW Florida for a couple of weeks I thought I would stop by the Minnesota Twins spring training complex which has been renamed as the CenturyLink Sports Complex and see how thing are progressing on Phase II of the $48.5 million (Twins kicked in $6 million) remodeling effort.
The old Lee County Sports Complex sign at the entrance is gone and as of yet there is no new sign. The complex and a number of its fields are currently being used to host the Roy Hobbs World Series so there were a lot of cars in the parking lot with players and fans milling about. The stadium itself is a beehive of activity as you can see in some of the pictures I took while I was there. There is dust, dirt, and construction equipment everywhere.
When I looked around the fields I could see some players off in the distance with some Twins gear on running around on that new agility field that was built last year that has what looks like a little hill on it. There were about two dozen players running around throwing a basketball back and forth as they ran from one end to the other in groups of three. I didn’t recognize anyone off-hand so I asked one of the guys that seemed to be running the exercise who the players were he grunted that they were some Twins minor league players going through rehab and he did not seem interested in chatting.
I then wandered over to the new minor league player dormitory and that is really a very cool building. Right now the building is also home to the Ft. Myers Miracle offices while work at the stadium continues. When you first walk in the door you are greeted by a security guard that is sitting at a desk that has a huge TC logo behind him that must be 10-12 feet tall. The area has a very high ceiling and the entire ceiling is a huge Twins logo, the pictures I took do not do it justice because it is just too big and I could not get far enough away to get a good picture.
The security guard was very nice and seemed very proud of the complex and he spent some time with me telling me all about it. He mentioned that the dormitory has 58 rooms and 54 of them are doubles for the minor league or rehab players. The other four are used to house management and one of the units is strictly for display to other organizations or teams that may be interested in seeing what the Twins have. I asked if I could get a quick tour of the main floor to take some pictures and he was very nice about it and took me around and explained things.
Our first stop on one end of the complex was the huge theatre type room that sits I think about 260-280 people and I believe it is called the Hall of Champions. It was dark in the room and difficult to get a good picture but it was pretty luxurious with some soft leather looking chairs. Some of the recent Twins meetings after the 2014 season ended used this room. It has several big screen TV’s as well as a huge pull-down display screen. As we wandered over to the other side of the complex we passed a very nice looking large cafeteria that supposedly has some pretty good food. We then went on to the huge players recreation area that had TV’s, foosball tables, tennis tables, pool tables and a few other odds and ends. There are also various class rooms that are used for English classes and things like that. The walls are nicely decorated with uniforms of the various Twins teams ranging from rookie leagues to the major leagues and huge baseball cards of former Twins players similar to what you see at Target field. There is also a display of Twins bobble-heads and another display has the caps from all the Twins organizational teams. I did not go upstairs to see any of the dorm rooms but all in all it is a very impressive building and will serve the Twins and their players very nicely.
While I was in the complex pitcher Randy Rosario wandered in and was kind enough to spend some time chatting with me. I sure wish I would have brought my little recorder but I did not bring it on this trip. Randy is one of the Twins players that is currently rehabbing from TJ surgery. When I asked Randy how he was doing he said he was doing great and will continue with his rehab for a couple more weeks before heading home for the holidays to the Dominican and then returning for spring training. I asked him if he would be throwing in spring training and he said that probably would not happen until April which is about 11 months out from his TJ surgery in May of this year. A nice chat, thank you Randy.
Twins pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to camp on February 22 and the rest of the team is scheduled to report on February 27. The Twins say that everything is on schedule with the remodeling and that it will be ready to go when they play the Boston Red Sox in their first official home exhibition game of the season on March 5. The actual first game at Hammond Stadium is the day before on March 4th when the Twins take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I added a link to the Twins 2015 Spring Training schedule on the right hand side of the home page. The pictures I took the other day can be seen on the 2014 CenturyLink Sports Complex remodel link.