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Daytona Tortugas Set to Begin New Season that Includes Major Enhancements

Thu, Mar 07, 2024 at 9:11AM

Daytona Tortugas Set to Begin New Season that Includes Major Enhancements

The Daytona Tortugas are gearing up for their 2024 season with important upgrades and agreements in place or on the horizon. The Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds is set to begin play on April 5 on the road against the St. Lucie Mets. Fans can look forward to the home opener at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach on April 9 against the Palm Beach Cardinals. The season promises exciting matchups, including 66 home games, and a full schedule against Florida State League opponents, but it also promises long-term expansions, upgrades, and the start of fulfilling recent agreements. In November, The Tortugas announced a new lease deal with the City of Daytona Beach and in January they announced an agreement with AdventHealth.

A printable version of the game schedule can be found HERE.

The Tortugas will continue to call Jackie Robinson Ballpark home for the next 20 years, with options to extend the lease for an additional 10 years. The partnership between the Tortugas and Daytona Beach will continue a long and successful history of professional baseball in Daytona. Affiliated professional baseball has been played at the ballpark for more than a century, following Daytona’s Florida State League debut in 1920.

“The Tortugas are ecstatic this proud tradition will continue for many years to come in Daytona Beach and I am excited for the future of the ballpark and the City of Daytona Beach,” said Tortugas General Manager Jim Jaworski.

As part of the agreement, improvements are currently underway focusing on meeting standards set by Major League Baseball (MLB) across all minor league teams. The ballpark upgrades fans should see in the 2024 season include new LED field lights, a new batter’s eye in center, and the replacement of the foul poles.

The Tortugas also signed a long-term agreement making AdventHealth the team’s official and exclusive health care provider.

“My heart swells with pride as we celebrate today,” said Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., RN, executive vice president and CEO for the AdventHealth East Florida Division. “For 110 years, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark has graced downtown Daytona Beach, and it is a historic national landmark. It is an extraordinary privilege for AdventHealth to contribute to the ongoing legacy rooted in this very field where Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1946.”

As part of this seven-year partnership, two AdventHealth Medical Group physicians, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Campbell and sports medicine physician Dr. Ron Rosenberg, will jointly serve as dedicated team physicians.

“Our dedicated team physicians and their skilled expertise are the backbone of our commitment to help keep our Tortugas athletes at the top of their game,” said Ilene Gilbert-Droge, president and CEO of AdventHealth Medical Group. “Dr. Campbell previously served as an assistant team physician to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Phillies, and both physicians support local student athletes through our partnerships with the school systems in Volusia and Flagler counties.”

Additionally, the City of Daytona Beach anticipates beginning construction this year on a new AdventHealth Training Center for the Tortugas.

“Expected to open in 2025, the state-of-the-art 20,000-square-foot facility has been thoughtfully designed to complement the historic essence of the Jackie Robinson Ballpark and will be equipped to provide comprehensive sports medicine services to the players,” said David Weis, president and CEO of AdventHealth Daytona Beach and the East Volusia market.

As the oldest stadium in Minor League Baseball, Jackie Robinson Ballpark opened in 1914 on the riverfront in historic downtown Daytona Beach. Located in an area that has undergone intense revitalization efforts in recent years, the new AdventHealth Training Center at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark will be located on the northeast corner of Orange Avenue and Jackie Robinson Parkway.

“This partnership goes beyond baseball and caring for the Tortugas; it's about the positive impact we can collectively make on our community. Like in baseball and health care, teamwork is crucial for achieving our goals, and we've assembled a fantastic team for this collaboration,” said Jim Jaworski, Daytona Tortugas general manager, as he presented commemorative jerseys to AdventHealth leaders, each with a number carrying special significance:

  • 42: Robinson's jersey number which has been retired across all major league teams.

  • 9: Robinson’s jersey number during the 1946 Spring Training in Daytona Beach, when Daytona became the first city to permit Robinson to play alongside white players.

  • 15: Symbolizes both April 15, 1947, when Robinson became the first Black player to appear in a Major League Baseball game. and the year 2015, which is the first year of the Daytona Tortugas.

  • 24: Recognizes the current year and the new partnership between AdventHealth and the Daytona Tortugas.

“We could not be happier with our partnership with AdventHealth as it will enhance our ability to showcase the Major League Baseball stars of tomorrow at a first-class facility with a first-class health care partner,” said Bob Fregolle, Daytona Tortugas co-owner and operating partner. “We are excited to be a part of their history of excellence of supporting athletes in Florida.”

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