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Central Florida’s new MiLB team, Atlanta Braves Announce Affiliation

Area’s new team to be Braves Class-A Advanced affiliate through 2020 season

Joe Harrington - Osceola County StadiumKISSIMMEE, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2016) – Central Florida’s new Minor League Baseball team today announced it has signed a four-year affiliation agreement with the Atlanta Braves. The Player Development Contract will remain in effect through the 2020 season.

“We’re excited about this new partnership with the Braves, especially given the team’s long history here in Central Florida. We’re looking forward to enhancing that existing relationship with a reintroduction of Minor League Baseball in our community,” said Team President Joe Harrington. “The Florida State League has a reputation as a development leader for future major leaguers, so it was a natural fit as we look to build the new franchise here at Osceola County Stadium.” Continue Reading

The Farm System… on the Baseball Diamond?

The Farm System... on the Baseball Diamond - Osceola Stadium

As we mentioned in So… what is Minor League Baseball, anyway?, you may have heard that the Minor League Baseball system is often called the farm or even the farm system – but have you ever heard why it is called the farm?

The nickname “the farm” came from Branch Rickey, a general manager for the St. Louis Cardinals. When baseball began, minor league teams did not have a Player Development Contract (which makes them affiliated with a Major League ball club), but they would instead sign and develop their players, which, when ready, they would sell/draft to Major League Baseball teams. In 1921, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues allowed for Major League teams to own their own Minor League clubs. Continue Reading

So… what is Minor League Baseball, anyway?

So... what is Minor League Baseball, anyway? - Baseball in a Glove - Osceola StadiumBy now, we hope you have heard the buzz – Minor League Baseball will be returning to Osceola County Stadium! This news ushers in a new era of minor league baseball to the stadium, which has not been seen since 2000 when the previous Class A Advanced team, Kissimmee Cobras (also known previously as the Osceola Astros), left.

So as we welcome the new Class A Advanced team of the Milwaukee Brewers to Kissimmee, we decided we should introduce, for those not as versed in Minor League Baseball, to exactly what it is anyway…

You may have heard it called the Minors, or maybe even the Farm System or the Farm Teams, but to sum it up in one sentence – Minor League Baseball allows for player development as they climb the ranks to, hopefully one day, be part of a Major League team. Previously known as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Minor League Baseball was formed on September 5, 1901, during a meeting of Minor League executives at the Leland Hotel in Chicago.

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Osceola County Welcomes New Minor League Team to Kissimmee

Brewers’ Florida State League Affiliate Starts ‘Name the Team’ Campaign

Joe Harrington - Osceola County Welcomes New Minor League Team to Kissimmee - Osceola County StadiumOsceola County, Florida – A new Minor League Baseball team will call Osceola County Stadium home at the start of the 2017 season – and fans have a chance to name the Florida State League franchise.

“It’s exciting to be able to announce that we are keeping professional sports in Osceola County,” said Commissioner Brandon Arrington. “We have a proud pro baseball tradition. One of my best childhood memories is watching my Pittsburgh Pirates during Spring Training, seeing a home run and being able to go after the ball. Minor League baseball is a good value for families and folks are excited to have a team. It’s also a way to connect with our visitors, who will be able to enjoy games from April through September.”

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31 Years in the Making – Some History of Spring Training at Osceola Stadium

31 Years in the Making – Some History of Spring Training at Osceola StadiumAs we enter another year of Spring Training, we are taking a look back at some of the history of Spring Training that Osceola Stadium has to offer. Osceola Stadium was built in 1984 to welcome the Houston Astros to Osceola County, who relocated here from Cocoa Beach. The opening day teams were the Houston Astros, who were managed by Bob Lillis at the time, and the New York Yankees, led by Yogi Berra, on March 8, 1985. The Astros beat the Yankees 9 to 6. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Larry Whaley, an Osceola County commissioner.

Here are some other Osceola Stadium firsts:

  • First Pitch: Joe Niekro
  • First Batter: Omar Moreno
  • First Hit (Single): Omar Moreno
  • First RBI: Dale Berra
  • Winning Pitcher: Joe Sambito
  • Losing Pitcher: Mike Armstrong

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Seven Things to Check Out While at Osceola County Stadium

Osceola County Stadium - Panorama

Whether your next trip to Osceola County Stadium is your 50th visit to the ballpark or your first, we are sure there are still things you may not have discovered. So, while you take in an Astros game this final weekend of Spring Training, make sure not to miss any of these:

OCS - Kowtown Krusher1. Trying one of the numerous specialty food items

As tradition goes, there is nothing better than a hot dog and a beer while watching America’s pastime. But the Osceola County Stadium offers a few non-traditional items to the ballpark that is sure to tickle your taste buds. At Burger 192, located on the third base side, you can find two specialty burgers: the Kowtown Krusher and Biggo Burger. The Kowtown Krusher features a burger patty, cheese, pulled pork and coleslaw between a brioche bun and served with a side of fries. Think that sounds good? You could opt for the Biggio Burger, which is a burger stacked high with bacon, smoked ham, bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, french fries on a brioche bun. Can’t decide? Don’t worry, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Smoke BBQ Company on the first base side offers pulled pork sandwiches, brisket sandwiches, garlic fries and BBQ nachos. Your number of options expands upstairs on the first base side where you can visit Gators Dockside Pub. How does buffalo chicken tenders with fries, Tato Stix (which comes in eight flavors including cheesy cheddar, fire grilled bbq, garlic parmesan, ketchup, salt and garlic pepper, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion or buffalo), or a braided pretzel with beer cheese sound? If you still haven’t found what you would like to eat, how about the Texas Special, loaded fries with cheese, jalapenos and pulled pork? Or, you could choose the Grand Slam, a footlong hot dog with cheese, jalapenos and pork. Be sure to grab plenty of napkins to enjoy this deliciousness.

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Play Ball. Let it Snow. Play Snow Ball Fight?

A first-time event, SNOW Fest 2014 at the Osceola County Stadium pulled more than 4,000 people to the Home of Houston Astros Spring Training, among other tournaments in the area.

 

Osceola County Stadium - SNOW Fest 2014 - Frozen Princesses and Santa ClausAs guests entered, they were greeted by a blizzard of snow (bubbles), a rare sighting in Florida. Little boys and girls were able to enjoy unlimited free popcorn and hot chocolate and all they could sled down a real snow slope. Perhaps the highlight of the event was Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, who were available to take free photos with attendees, as well as handprinted backdrops of the ice castle and Sven, Kristoff’s loyal friend, sleigh-puller and conscience, were nearby too.

At 7 p.m., the high stadium lights went low so that guests could watch the actual movie Frozen on the Osceola County Stadium’s Jumbo-tron, just installed last year. The seats were filled with kids (and adults) belting out the words to “For the First time in Forever” and of course, “Let It Go.”

Click here to view our SNOW Fest 2014 photo gallery.

We hope to do a similar event again next year. Thank you to those who came!

 

Osceola County Stadium launches new website

By Erik Anderson
Facility Superintendent
Osceola County Stadium

We are happy to share our new website just in time for Spring Training Opening Day here in Kissimmee, Florida. We were overdue for an upgrade, but are excited to show off our new digs.

New Features:

  • Blog – We’ve finally launched a blog that will share behind the scenes information, videos, player spotlights and more!
  • Responsive design – You can view this website on any browser from any device and get the information you need on upcoming tournaments, spring training games and other community events too.
  • Interactive Calendar – Our new calendar allows you to see what is going on everyday at the Osceola Stadium and even add it to your iCal, Google Calendar, or Outlook and buy tickets right on the site.
  • Next Event feature – At the top of the home page, you’ll notice a gray box that features the very next game and time.
  • Real time scores – Can’t make it to the game? You can click on the gray box at the top of the page to see real time game scores as it’s happening! It’s all about access to the information you need when you need it!
  • Book a tournament, view player bios, statistics and pictures, download our printer-friendly schedule to hang in your office cubicle. It’s all here for you.

 

Stay tuned!

Erik