Spring training baseball back in full swing on the Suncoast

Spring training baseball back in full swing on the Suncoast
Spring training baseball game at CoolToday Park in North Port. (Source: WWSB)

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s the sound baseball fans have been longing for.

“Hearing a wood bat hit a baseball and watching the fly ball, this is heaven,” said Wayne Coleman, an Atlanta Braves fan.

Spring training is back on the Suncoast, a year after it was cut short because of COVID-19.

“It’s so awesome to be inside the park and be able to watch baseball, and the weather is perfect too,” said Rich Groff, an Atlanta Braves fan.

“Everybody’s excited and we hope we can get more people in as the season keeps going,” said Jonathan Whiteside, a North Port resident.

Fans were thrilled as they took in Wednesday’s game at CoolToday Park in North Port between the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles. Capacity is limited to about 25 percent and there is social distancing happening and people are wearing face masks.

“It’s a positive trend, especially last year you couldn’t see any games at all,” said David Longenecker, a Baltimore Orioles fan. “Just the fact that we could be here at the game is very nice, we still have a little bit of a ways to go.”

Games have been shortened from nine innings to seven or even five innings this year during spring training. Good Morning Suncoast anchor Emily Kinzer is also excited about spring training. She is the in-game host for the Braves for their 14 home games.

“Oh my goodness, I’m having so much fun, this is only game two but I’m having a blast,” said Kinzer. “It makes for long days of course waking up in the morning and doing Good Morning Suncoast, but being down here getting to meet our fans who watch us every morning is so much fun.”

The Braves dropped their home opener to the Orioles, 8-1.

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