Fans attending baseball games in Fort Myers at the 8,100-seat Bill Hammond Stadium are often impressed by how professional ballplayers make great plays look easy. Whether it’s the American League Minnesota Twins spring training or the Fort Myers Miracle regular season, there is no shortage of spectacular athleticism. But what goes on behind the scenes is no less spectacular.
Take the Miracle. As with the big club, the Twins’ Florida State (Minor) League Class A Advanced affiliate Miracle needs a great deal of care and feeding. And, while the Twins stand to reap the benefit of the playing talent maturing in the Miracle ranks, it’s the Miracle team owners who bear the responsibility of ensuring the team has the wherewithal to get the job done. And that responsibility comes with a price tag.
“As team owners,” Gary Sharp – Miracle Professional Baseball Director of Media Relations and Promotions – states, “we pay the cost of all team travel, including food and lodging per diem and operation and maintenance of the team bus.” Whatever income the owners derive from food, beverage, and gift concession sales is offset not only by the cost of those items, but also by the cost of the team’s operation.
And the effort and risk the owners undertake has direct benefit to the Fort Myers area. In the first 18 years of its operation, Miracle Baseball drew close to 2 million fans, with attendance the last two seasons averaging 120,000, generating income for local area concession suppliers and fan carryover spending at area businesses. That’s winning, on the field and off.
The Fort Myers Miracle open its 19th season of baseball at home against Bradenton on Friday, April 9 at 7:05 p.m. Hammond Stadium is located at 14400 6 Mile Cypress Parkway.