Make us your home page

Phillies, Blue Jays open seasons with new flavors, players

As spring training opens in Clearwater and Dunedin, it looks like a beautiful weekend for baseball.

The players will be getting their bats and gloves ready. The fans will be packing sunscreen. And in the stadium kitchens, the cooks will be slaving over their veggie wraps and their chicken cheesesteaks and their vanilla-glazed sweet potato fries.

That's right, stadium fare goes far beyond peanuts and hot dogs these days. Whatever your taste, it's worth bringing an appetite when spring ball kicks off today at Bright House Field in Clearwater and Sunday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin.

The Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays expect to draw good crowds over the next month — their usual mix of locals, vacationers and serious fans from up North who travel to see their teams train.

Both franchises are in the middle of stable, long-term contracts with their respective host cities.

Blue Jays

The Blue Jays aren't just debuting six new players for spring training. They're also debuting a new logo and a health food station on their Dunedin stadium's first-base side. It will serve fruit and veggie platters, veggie burgers and fish sandwiches.

"It's something a more health-conscious person can get," said general manager Shelby Nelson.

But don't worry! The usual hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, popcorn, pretzels and other favorites are still available, along with plenty of that Canadian favorite, Labatt Blue beer.

Fans will also feel a Canadian presence as the Blue Jays unveil a new red maple leaf on their batting practice caps.

All Major League Baseball teams received new caps this year. But Toronto's caps are singular because they feature the primary Blue Jays logo on the back, making it the only team with a double image, said team spokesman Patrick Kurish.

The change generated so much excitement, officials said, that they opened the stadium gift shop early — on Feb. 5 — so fans could stock up on merchandise bearing the new graphic and the names or images of pitchers R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, outfielders Emilio Bonifacio and Melky Cabrera, and infielder Jose Reyes.

For the first time, the Blue Jays' mascot, Ace, will accompany players at all their spring home games.


In Clearwater, the Phillies have stamped their logo on a new 21,000-square-foot training building at the Carpenter Complex, where the Phillies train next door to Bright House Field.

The recently finished $2.9 million building alongside U.S. 19 has six air-conditioned batting tunnels so stars like Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins won't have their batting practices rained out. There's a large gym for players, a video room, and offices for trainers and coaches.

"For us, this building is the last piece that completes the whole Carpenter Complex," said John Timberlake, the Phillies' director of Florida operations.

On Friday, the team unveiled its new menu for Bright House Field, expanding on the ballpark's mix of Philly favorites and Florida flavors.

New this year: the arrival of Tony Luke's, a South Philly cheesesteak chain that's the top seller at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies' home stadium up North.

Their fare joins other new arrivals such as chicken cheesesteaks, bratwurst, Italian paninis and strawberry shortcake. There are also knishes, Cuban sandwiches and chocolate bananas.

Make no mistake, though: the Phillies' biggest sellers are still cheesesteaks and beer.

"We have 120 kinds of beer," said Bruce Leith, the Phillies' concessions manager, "everything from a nutty pecan to your favorite domestic."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to

If you go

Phillies tickets

Prices: Premium box, $30; field box, $28; tiki terrace, $25; outfield berm/standing, $14

To order:

Phillies home games

(All games at 1:05 p.m. at Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater)

Today: Houston Astros

Monday: Detroit Tigers

Tuesday: New York Yankees

Thursday: Atlanta Braves

March 3: Toronto Blue Jays

March 5: Dominican Republic

March 6: Washington Nationals

March 7: Minnesota Twins

March 9: Tampa Bay Rays

March 12: Tigers

March 14: Pittsburgh Pirates

March 17: Baltimore Orioles

March 19: Yankees

March 22: Braves

March 24: Boston Red Sox

March 26: Rays

March 28: Blue Jays

Blue Jays tickets

Prices: Box seats, $27; reserved section, $23; baseline, $15 (All tickets are $5 to $7 higher for five premium games against the Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees.)

To order: or call (727) 733-0429.

Blue Jays home games

(All games at 1:05 p.m. at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin)

Sunday: Baltimore Orioles

Monday: Boston Red Sox

Tuesday: Minnesota Twins

Wednesday: Houston Astros

Friday: Tampa Bay Rays

March 2: Philadelphia Phillies

March 5: Orioles

March 9: Detroit Tigers

March 10 and 14: New York Yankees

March 16: Orioles

March 19: Astros

March 22: Red Sox

March 23: Atlanta Braves

March 25: Phillies

March 26: Pittsburgh Pirates

Phillies, Blue Jays open seasons with new flavors, players 02/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 7:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  2. Channing Tatum drops out of Weinstein Co. movie about sex abuse


    LOS ANGELES — Channing Tatum is no longer developing a film with the Weinstein Co. that dealt with a boy dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse.

    Channing Tatum at the premiere of "Comrade Detective" in Los Angeles. Tatum is no longer developing a film with the Weinstein Company about a boy dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse. (Associated Press)
  3. Plan your weekend: Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, MarineQuest, Florida Orchestra pops in the park, rodeo


    Plan your weekend


    Music weekend: Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and Bruno Mars all in one weekend? We have a playlist of a weekend coming up. Thursday brings Bruno's sold-out 24K Magic World Tour to Amalie Arena. The next day brings the country power …

    Bill Clark and Danelle Dasouqi admire the chalk art on the side walk during the final day of the three day Chalk Art Festival in Clearwater Beach. JIM REED/STAFF
  4. Ticket window: Harry Potter movie concert, Andrea Bocelli, Ed Sheeran, Iliza Shlesinger, Alan Parsons Project on sale this week

    Music & Concerts

    Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:

    British singer Ed Sheeran performs during the Italian State RAI TV program "Che Tempo che Fa", in Milan, Italy on March 12, 2017, 
AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
  5. 13 things to do in Tampa Bay on Oct. 19


    Bruno Mars: Get your Uptown Funk on at the Grammy-winning pop star's 24K Magic World Tour. 8 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $41.25-$131.25. (813) 301-2500.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25:  Bruno Mars performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)