February 17, 2017 – Home-Tech was “in the house” today for a special Spring Training luncheon at the Minnesota Twins Player Academy at CenturyLink Sport Complex. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce members attended. Everyone ate lunch in the Twins cafeteria just like the Twins players do. A very, very healthy line up of fresh foods was provided. There was plenty of time to mix and mingle and meet new friends.
Since we figure that most Twins and Red Sox fans don’t get this kind of inside access during Spring Training we thought we’d share highlights. The goals for this year’s season were discussed in a panel forum by Dave St. Peter, President and Chief Executive Office of the Minnesota Twins, Thad Levine, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Minnesota Twins and Sam Kennedy, President of the Boston Red Sox.
There was a lot of good natured ribbing and joking between the Presidents of the two teams and some talk about the Chicago Cubs taking it ALL finally last year. Dave St. Peter of the Twins started out by admitting they had a slow start to last season that basically grounded any hopes for a good 2016 season. They are determined to have a much better Spring Training and season in 2017. They are banking on their new shared player academy (with the Phillies) in Boca Chica to educate and develop prospects for new team talent.
Sam Kennedy admitted to being a little hesitant about all of the high expectations and predictions for the Red Sox team this year. You could tell that high expectations and the loss to the Indians in the 2016 run for the World Series were still upsetting him. He said it is much better to have lower expectations for 2017 and sneak up on the competition.
There was a lengthy discussion by both teams about the younger generation and how they are affecting the game. The Presidents realize that younger fans do not watch a baseball game as folks did in days gone by. Everyone is watching on mobile devices and they admitted to the importance of digital mediums and being able to live stream entire games or highlights of games. They mentioned that the Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred continues to take steps to unlock live streaming. He is committed to international broadcasting as well as teams playing more international games. If baseball becomes loved by the entire world more revenue will be generated for the teams.
Both teams admitted that training a millennial player is very different. It has to be customized and specialized to each player with a basic bond and trust level being established as the first step. The younger generation learns a different way – very visually. They gave the example of a hitter using his I-Pad on a flight before a game, studying the last 35 times he went up against a certain pitcher. They stressed new technologies available to the coaches like sleep studies and being able to create custom diets for each player. As a player moves up through the leagues from coach to coach the coaches are trying to pass the “bonding information” along with the player.
How Safe Is it at a Baseball Game?
Both Presidents admitted it was their number one concern and also a concern that kept them up at night. Sam Kennedy mentioned that he has daily discussions with Homeland Security because Fenway Park is a high target. Security at ball parks becomes increasingly tighter and tighter. For 2017 every guest will be wanded, no bags are allowed. Everyone goes through a metal detector and he mentioned that there are “eyes on” every inch of the ball park. Security will be tighter for Spring Training games as well. But both Presidents admitted it is safe to attend a ball game and they know how valuable the balance of trust is with the public over this issue. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of canine units at Spring Training at the ball parks in 2017.
Both team Presidents admitted their true genuine love for Lee County. This is the Twins 27th Spring Training in Lee County and the Red Sox have a 50 year lease at Jet Blue Park. They love our airport and the beautiful weather and opportunities to get involved with and benefit the community. They consider it a great privilege to be here with us.
25 Million Dollar Injection
Yes, according to the Florida Sports Foundation, hosting a spring training team brings in roughly $25 million per season. Yes, that’s roughly what Spring Training is worth to our Lee county economy and we are happy about that! When the Twins fans and Red Sox fans roll into town it’s a win/win for everyone. Both Presidents mentioned the contribution of fans buying second homes in the area and enjoying vacations here and falling in love with Southwest Florida.
Home-Tech Welcomes All Fans!
If you are new to the area and do end up buying a second home here we would love to be your service company. Home-Tech is nestled right between both ball parks, right off of Daniels so we are neutral and don’t choose sides. (Although if you polled our employee owners you would find plenty of baseball fans and also Twins and Red Sox fans.) We wish both teams great seasons and hope that all of the visiting fans have a wonderful stay in sunny Southwest Florida.