Here is you guide to the Town of Dunedin Florida which has been the Toronto Blue Jays home since 1977.
Sunny Florida has been the home of the Grapefruit league since the late 1800’s. Baseball in Florida has been a Spring tradition for over 125 years. Every year 15 teams flock to the state in hopes of great fortune in the upcoming year. The Toronto Blue Jays have been making this migration since they were founded in 1977. Since the team came into existence they have called the lovely town of Dunedin their home away from home. Nestled just outside of Tampa and on the way to Clearwater Beach, Dunedin is a wonderfully homey town.
First things first let us talk about the ballpark. Florida Auto Exchange park has had many names over the years but has always been the same nest for the Blue Jays. The ballpark seats about 5,500 and gets fans right on top of the action. The ballpark has an intimate feel and fun environment. Many of the players sign autographs before the game typically and give you an experience that would be hard to find else where.
The small town feel bleeds into the ballpark and will invite you into plenty of discussions with fellow fans as you enjoy the game. There all the comforts you would expect in a typical ballpark but it has the feeling of stepping back in time. The ballpark has not changed much over the years but has a wonderful feel. This is brought on by the environment created by the hosts. They have everything it seems as they have Canadian beer at the vendors booths along with having the “Canadian Grill” as pictured below. While you are in the stand the vendors are wandering around as well. You can tell they love being their as the wander around the stadium acting as Jays Cheerleaders. I recall hearing some solid one liners like “if you can’t catch a ball, catch a buzz!”
This extreme close up to the beloved game is a welcome sight for many sports fans. Seeing your favorite players at an arms reach is incredible. I got to have a quick conversion with Casey Jansen during one of my trips as no one noticed him walking into the ballpark out of uniform. You will also see the Jays scouts and office officials roaming the ballpark. These are the things you do not get at the Rogers Centre without some kind of added cost.
The beautiful town that hosts the Jays during the spring was founded in 1852. The Main Street area has a great historic feel to it. Plenty of brick building and tons to walk around to. They have something for everyone whether your looking to do some local shopping, eating, laying on the beach whatever can come to your mind.
In my travels there I have found plenty of places that one may not stumble on to during a day trip to the ballpark. If you are looking for a few pints before or after dinner there are bars up and down the entire walk of the town. It is a great way to beat the Florida heat and enjoy the great people around town. If you need to get to the beach you do not even need to leave town. Honeymoon Beach is just a quick drive from the ballpark.
Toronto Blue Jays
If you are hungry The Smoke House is a BBQ joint known for their chicken wings and Lip Smackin BBQ meats. Looking for some seafood instead head down toward the water and try the grouper fish. The local fish tastes great at the Olde Bay Cafe and Sea Sea Riders. If you are looking for something more every day and typcial check out the Living Room. I will highly recommend the brunch/ breakfast at Kelly’s. Their food goes great with one of the best Bloody Mary’s I have ever had.
Maybe you have had a long day from hanging at the ballpark and are looking to unwind. The Dunedin House of Beer has plenty off great games like adult sized Connect 4 and Jenga to play while you enjoy their mass selection of drinks. Looking to continue you craft brewery tour? Well you are in luck as Dunedin has 2 breweries in the 7venth Son Brewing and Dunedin Brewery.
Around the area
If you have some how had enough time to explore the town of Dunedin and are looking to branch out there is plenty in the Tampa area. First stop away from Dunedin should be Clearwater beach. The beautiful white sand beaches are a great sight to see after leaving the cold northern winters. You will be instantly whisked away on vacation as your body melts away in the sun. The water is typically to cold this time of year but is still a great spot to relax, eat, shot, and just hangout. I would recommend the Bait shop and the Palm Pavilion for some excellent local fish dishes. Do not be steered away by the name of the Bait shop and the fact that you walk through the actual shop into the eating area. I promise your bravery will be rewarded!
If the beach is not your thing and you are looking for more baseball you can stay in Clearwater to see the homes of the Yankees or the Phillies. If you head back toward Tampa why not catch a hockey game. The Tampa Bay Lightning have been having a rough season but it is still hockey and a great arena to seen.
If you have not had the opportunity to come down to Florida for Spring Training you are missing out. There is so much more then just baseball so their is fun for the entire family. For the baseball fanatics like me there is plenty to see as you get a unique look at Major League talent. This is even more prevalent in the Blue Jays small town home in Dunedin. This is close up baseball and fun for all ages. Plus it is a great way to beat the winter blues.