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Miracle announce 2009 schedule; Fort Myers to host All-Star Game

By Staff | Dec 3, 2008

The 18th season of professional baseball in Southwest Florida is only 126 days away!

Last week, the Fort Myers Miracle released their 2009 Florida State League schedule, which features a new opponent, new division rivals and Fort Myers hosting the 2009 FSL All-Star Game.

The Miracle begins their defense of the West Division Championship on Thursday, April 9 when they travel to Charlotte to harvest the Stone Crabs. The home opener is the following night, on Friday, April 10 against Charlotte at 7:05 p.m. with a fireworks display to follow the game.

“We are eagerly anticipating the upcoming season of baseball here in Southwest Florida,” said Miracle General Manager Steve Gliner. “Our schedule allows us to continue to create that buzz around the ballpark that is synonymous with Miracle Baseball.”

The highlight of the schedule will be the return of the Florida State League All-Star Game to Hammond Stadium. The leagues’ mid-season showcase last visited Southwest Florida in 2003. The festivities will begin with a Fan Fest on Friday, June 19 and the game on Saturday, June 20.

“Our fans will be in for a special treat. The weekend will be full of memories to last a lifetime,” said Gliner.

The Miracle will play 70 of their 140-game 2009 Florida State League schedule within the friendly confines of Hammond Stadium. In a shift from previous seasons, the 2009 campaign will not begin until the second week of April and, correspondingly, will not conclude until the first weekend of September.

Naples native Jeff Smith will return for his second season as manager. Smith led the Miracle to a first-half West Division title and helped the club advance to the Florida State League finals for the first time since 1995.

The Miracle will play nine home games in April, 14 in May, 15 in June, 16 in July and 16 in August.

The 2009 schedule features 12 Thursday games, 11 Friday dates and 10 action-packed Saturday night games. The regular season ends on Sunday, Sept. 6 at Jupiter.

Some highlights include:

• Post-game fireworks shows (April 10, May 23, June 20 (All-Star Game), July 3, July 25 and Aug. 29) — The skies explode above Hammond Stadium with the biggest and best display.

• Education Day (May 29) — The best field trip a school can take. The Miracle makes education fun with this special morning start.

• Big Splash- (June 23) — Hammond Stadium turns into the biggest water park in Southwest Florida.

• Mother Nature Special (April 13) — Under the glowing lights of Mother Nature, the Miracle entertains Charlotte in an afternoon delight.

• Miracle/FGCU Doubleheader (April 21) — Fans get two games for the price of one! The Miracle takes on Palm Beach at 4:05 p.m., followed by the Golden Eagles and Florida at 7:05 p.m. One ticket gets you in to both games.

The entire 2009 award winning promotional and giveaway schedule will be released at a later date. Many of the traditional promotions such as Two-For-One Tuesday, Thursty Thursday and Happy Hour Friday will return along with giveaways and live entertainment. Miracle fans can also plan on seeing new and exciting promotions throughout the upcoming season.

The Miracle will face their closest rival, Charlotte, 20 times and face the other five clubs in the South Division 18 times, and teams in the North Division eight times apiece.

The Florida State League is comprised of 12 teams divided into two divisions: the East and West. The Miracle, affiliated with the Minnesota Twins, compete in the West Division along with the Sarasota Reds (Cincinnati Reds), Jupiter Hammerheads (Florida Marlins), Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays), St. Lucie Mets (New York Mets) and Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals). The Miracle and Sarasota are the only holdovers from the 2008 division alignment.

The East Division consists of the Daytona Cubs (Chicago Cubs), Brevard County Manatees (Milwaukee Brewers), Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays), Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies), Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit Tigers), and Tampa Yankees (New York Yankees).

Start times for games at Hammond Stadium in 2009 are 7:05 p.m. for games Monday through Saturday, except for April 13 (1:05 p.m.), April 21 (4:05 p.m.), May 29 (10:35 a.m.) and June 23 (12:05 p.m.). Sunday games will begin at 1:05 p.m., with the exceptions being, June 7 and July 26 at (4:05 p.m.).

For more information on Fort Myers Miracle season tickets, group outings, ticket plans, merchandise, sponsorship opportunities or any other inquiries, individuals and companies are encouraged to contact the Fort Myers Miracle at 239-768-4210 or by visiting “http://www.miraclebaseball.com”>www.miraclebaseball.com for more information.

Holiday Sidewalk Sale

The holiday season is right around the corner and there is only one place you can get Twins Spring Training and Miracle merchandise at drastically reduced prices.

The Miracle Holiday Sidewalk Sale returns to Hammond Stadium this Saturday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 13 from 8 a.m. until noon.

There are items for any fan big or small, rookie or veteran. T-shirts and hats starting at $5, collared shirts beginning at $15 and many other. Game-used Miracle jerseys will also be available for purchase.

“This is an everything must go type of sale,” said general manager Steve Gliner. “Sales like this are great any time of the year, but during the holidays this couldn’t come at a better time for those people who want to give a Twins or Miracle gift for the holiday season.”

Just in time for the holiday season, the Miracle are now offering a great gift for the baseball fan on your list. A Miracle Holiday Gift Pack includes one ticket to six 2009 Miracle home games, a Miracle cap and a $10 gift card from Mad Take Out. In addition, the Miracle will also donate six tickets in your name — or the receipients name — to the local Southwest Florida charity of your choice. This package is only $45.

To find out more on the sidewalk sale or ticket packages for the 2009 season, call the Miracle office at 239-768-4210 or log onto www.miraclebaseball.com.