The quality of local sports parks is peerless in the Tampa Bay area.
We may not have that Sports Village on Park Road just yet, but I think we’re much closer to the original mission statement of making Plant City a “sports destination” then we were a few years ago — even without any work having started on that huge complex.
It’s not my first time writing about how cool it is that tournament organizers pick us over Tampa and Orlando, but that was almost five years ago. Quietly, but surely, this has become a much different place than it was in 2014.
I’m not saying our fields and facilities were looking rough when I first got here, but there’s so much more to offer now and the quality is mostly great. Why wouldn’t someone want to show all this off?
The biggest thing for me might be Ellis-Methvin Park now that it’s been completed and gets its fair share of action. I was there over the weekend for the baseball and soccer tournaments going on there and with the perfect weather we had, I caught myself wishing I had nothing else to do so I could just stick around and enjoy the day. It’s the perfect place to watch (or play) a game in Plant City as far as I’m concerned, with the fields being in such great shape. That’s the kind of sports-friendly park any city would want to have as its crown jewel.
Really, though, you’re getting something good out of just about any sports park you visit for a tournament. The Otis M. Andrews complex is great for catching games with enough space to make sure a ton of people can be there at once and not get claustrophobic. Mike Sansone Park is a great place to watch baseball and softball and, in my opinion, the view you can get with our signature strawberry water tower in the background is Americana at its best. The Randy L. Larson complex always looks good and, as an added bonus, has the best parking setup of the bunch. The MLK ball fields get no complaints from me now and I can’t wait to see how that area comes together as a whole when the community center is completed.
I’ve traveled around for assignments enough to see what other cities have going on and I’ve got to say, we’ve really got it made here. I hope we keep up the good work.
I don’t think we can call Plant City a “best-kept secret” of the Tampa Bay area sports world for much longer. Maybe the realization of the sports village would be the icing on the cake, but in my opinion, that cake’s just about finished baking.