XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup: Meet Sarasota and Bradenton

XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup: Meet Sarasota and Bradenton
07/09/2022
Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and LECOM Park in Bradenton will host the U-18 World Cup. The cities have much to offer.

The XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, which will feature the best high-school aged baseball players and teams on the planet, is coming to Florida this Friday, 9 September.

Hosts Sarasota and Bradenton are located south of Tampa, on the southwestern coast of the State of Florida, USA.

In 1763, Spanish colonists named Zarazote the area we know today as Sarasota and Bradenton.

Sarasota has a population of 54,842 as per the 2020 census. The area is well known for its beaches, including several keys, resorts and the Sarasota School of Architecture.

Since 1998, Sarasota has hosted its Film Festival, attracting independent films from around the world.

Payne Park was the spring home of baseball teams such as the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. The city erected the ballpark in 1924 and demolished it after the opening of Ed Smith Stadium.

Ed Smith Stadium has been the spring home of the Chicago White Sox (1989-1997) and the Cincinnati Reds (1998-2008). It spent a year without Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training before the Baltimore Orioles became the tenant and operator in 2010. It also hosted minor league teams, high school and college tournaments and a record 10,000 spectators for a Barack Obama speech during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Sarasota is also a popular destination for golf and sports fishing. The Sarasota Marathon started in 2005 and became a half marathon in 2010.

Bradenton is located on the Manatee river 13.3 miles (or 21 kilometres) north of Sarasota. It has a population of 57,346 (2020 census).

Bradenton is named after Joseph Braden, who owned a large sugar plantation and built a fort-like house that served as a shelter for settlers during the Seminole Wars (1817-1858).

Bradenton is served by Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and is connected to Tampa by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

The Village of the Arts is a renovated neighbourhood south of downtown, where once dilapidated houses have been converted into studios, galleries, and small restaurants. Residents live and work in their homes.

Legendary slugger Hammering Hank Aaron lived in Bradenton during his career in the Milwaukee Braves farm teams in the early 1950s.

LECOM Park is the Spring Training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of MLB and hosts the home games of the Bradenton Marauders, the Class A Advanced affiliates of the Pirates.

The stadium was built in 1923 and is the oldest stadium still in use during Spring Training. It is the third oldest venue used by an MLB organization after Boston's Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago's Wrigley Field (1914).

Before the naming rights went to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), the ballpark was named after Hall of Famer Bill McKechnie.

Bradenton is the home of the State College of Florida.