Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A vote for baseball museum at Al Lang Field

A museum of baseball at Al Lang Field is the perfect solution to what to do with this venerable St. Petersburg landmark.

Spring training is almost as old as the sport itself and our fair city has been intimately linked with the preseason games almost since the beginning. While spring training first came to Florida with pre-season games in Jacksonville in 1888, St. Petersburg made the "Grapefruit League" a reality. Our first baseball game was played on Feb. 27, 1914, after Mayor Al Lang persuaded the St. Louis Browns to train in St. Petersburg. On that day, the Browns lost to the Chicago Cubs, who were training in Tampa and made the trip across the bay by steamboat. Lang then lured the Philadelphia Phillies to St. Petersburg in 1915. No wonder civic leaders later named their first baseball stadium after the city's most famous baseball fan.

Since the history of baseball is so intertwined with spring training and St. Petersburg, this is the perfect place to create a museum to that beloved aspect of the sport. With the building of the new Salvador DalĂ­ Museum, St. Petersburg's (heck, why not call it Florida's?) Museum of Spring Training could be the center of what would quickly be dubbed "The Museum Mile," further reinforcing St. Petersburg's blossoming cultural reputation.

The museum could quickly become a must-do stop for all the baseball fans who flock to Florida. Each team that practiced here could be invited to create its own display. Kids could enjoy practicing their batting in the same cage the big guys do. Families could walk the same paths that Babe Ruth once strolled.

The Preservation Society can create a whole new tour, "The History of Spring Training in St. Petersburg," which would start right at the museum.

No comments:

Post a Comment