Florida

From BR Bullpen

Flag of Florida.png
This article is about the United States state. For other articles with similar names, see Florida (disambiguation).

Florida is located in the southeastern corner of the United States, and largely consists of a peninsula that juts out southward, with its east cost facing the Atlantic Ocean and its west coast on the Gulf of Mexico. There is also a large panhandle extending westward along the Gulf coast.

Because of its temperate climate, Florida has been a hotbed of baseball since the 1920s, when teams first began to establish permanent spring training bases in some of its cities. The Florida State League is an established circuit that has been the considered to strongest Class A league for decades. The Gulf Coast League is also entirely located in Florida, and teams from the state have also played in the Southern League and International League, and in various now defunct minor leagues such as the Florida International League or the Georgia-Florida League. For all that, Major League Baseball only came to the state with the expansion of 1993 which created the Florida Marlins (now the Miami Marlins). They were joined in 1998 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now the Tampa Bay Rays), but both teams have suffered from attendance problems in spite of on-field success.

Florida's main cities by size of metropolitan area are Miami, FL and Tampa, FL/St. Petersburg, FL, with Orlando, FL coming third, even if Jacksonville, FL has a higher population in the city proper, in large part because of unusually extensive municipal borders. The state has a very strong Latin flavor, as it was originally a Spanish colony before being annexed by the United States, and has been the country's door to Latin America, and especially to Cuba, with a huge Cuban community taking root in the Miami area after the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

College baseball is also very prominent in Florida, with the University of Miami, the University of Florida and Florida State University all boasting top-notch baseball programs, in addition to numerous community colleges also sponsoring baseball. It is also the second most important state in terms of producing high school players and players taken in the amateur draft, after California.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Wes Singletary: Florida's First Big League Baseball Players: A Narrative History, The History Press, Charleston, SC, 2006.