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  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

Tampa Bay Rays check into Walt Disney World for Spring Training

The Tampa Bay Rays have checked into Walt Disney World Resort, where the team will spend its first two weeks of Spring Training at the resorts ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.


Pitchers and catchers’ first official workout is slated for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15, with the first full squad workout set for Monday.


Tampa Bay Rays arriving for spring training at Walt Disney World
Tampa Bay Rays shared this picture on Facebook of the first day of Spring Training at Disney World

It was back in December, 2022 that Walt Disney World announced that it had come to an agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays to host a portion of the team’s spring training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, following damage to the Tampa Bay Rays’ facilities in Port Charlotte, Florida caused by Hurricane Ian last September.


The agreement with Walt Disney World allows the team's major and minor league players to begin workouts at the ESPN complex. They will then move their major league operations to St. Petersburg, while minor league workouts and games will continue at the stadium on Disney's property.


Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023

The Rays consider themselves lucky to have ended up at a location with the facility quality and field space to suit their needs during this important period.


At Disney, they have access to five full fields and an extra infield, as well as plentiful pitching mounds and batting cages not dissimilar to their setup in Port Charlotte.


The Rays did need to build their own weight room in a large parking tent; otherwise, Disney installed new lockers, carpeting and other amenities with an eye toward welcoming its first big league spring guests in three years.


"We're so appreciative of Disney for accommodating us,” manager Kevin Cash said. “They've worked hard, and we had a lot of people within our organization work hard. It's been a very joint effort on both ends. I'm excited about it. I think we hit a wall every Spring Training, when you're competing, and the games don't mean anything, it's tough to keep the energy going. But having a transition after two weeks being here, and then the addition of being in our beds for an extra month, I think the players are gonna welcome that.”


"We are thrilled to be bringing Major League Baseball back to Walt Disney World Resort," Disney Sports vice president Faron Kelley said in a news release. "We're always looking for top tier events, like the Rays' Spring Training for our guests to enjoy at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex."


Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has a long history of hosting professional baseball, having served as the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves for 20 years (1998-2019) and as a host site for the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, featuring major league players.


The Tampa Bay Rays have also previously used ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as their home base. In 2007, they played three regular season games at The Stadium and won all three against the Texas Rangers. The following year, they swept a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, bringing their all-time record at Walt Disney World Resort to 6-0.


Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023

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