Pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium and Tradition - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium and Tradition Field Wednesday

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's a day many baseball fans have been waiting for.

On Wednesday, pitchers and catchers for the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals reported for Spring Training at Tradition Field and Roger Dean Stadium.

Jeurys Familia is a relief pitcher for the Mets.

During a press conference with media from New York, Familia said he's excited to be in south Florida.

"Oh I love it here! I love the weather. I love it here to get myself ready for the season and enjoy my teammates," Jeurys said.

Stu Natof is a self-proclaimed "snowbird" who comes down every year from New York to see the Spring Training games.

"It's a nice feeling to be part of the first day that they show up," he said.

He said Spring Training games are much more personal than regular season games.

"A real game in New York, there's a distance between the fans and the players. Here, you're one big happy family," Stu said.

The Mets are fresh off a trip to the World Series as National League champions. Stu hopes the success doesn't go to their heads.

"I hope the players will be as gracious as they were when they weren't National League champs. The  signs indicate that they will be."

According to a recently released report, Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie is in need of nearly three million dollars worth of repairs, including repaving the parking lot an the addition of hundreds of new seats.

County officials say some of the seats have been cracked and damaged due to sun exposure.

Staff at Tradition Field say the necessary improvements are underway and will be done by the first Spring Training game.

At Roger Dean Stadium, new additions are being put in the outfield.

Where there was once a grassy berm is now an area with new seats and tables.

"It's an all inclusive area that will allow fans a little more of an upscale experience including an all you can eat grab and go menu, nice mesh chairs and a new experience," said Roger Dean Stadium general manager Mike Bauer.

He said the stadium will see even more improvements now that the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are moving to Palm Beach County next year.

"We've been kind of sitting on our hands for a little while, waiting to see what was going to happen and now that we know that they're coming we're going to move forward with some projects that we had and this is the first of them," Mike said.

The first Spring Training game at Roger Dean Stadium is March 1. The first Mets Spring Training game is on March 3.

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