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During Major League Baseball season, Baltimore may claim the Orioles — but during spring training season, Sarasota adopts the bat-swinging snowbirds who claim Ed Smith Stadium as their training base. In neighboring Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates take over McKechnie Field, stirring up a not-quite-hometown rivalry. With tickets to spring training games selling as low as $8 apiece, baseball fans flock to Ed Smith Stadium and McKechnie Field (less than 30 minutes away) to catch their favorite major league teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays and true hometown rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays, go toe to toe with the O’s and the Pirates in the beautiful Florida weather.
Those who seek a bar stool to settle into for the big televised games need look no further than Evie’s Tavern, a local sports bar with three locations throughout Sarasota. Folks flock to Evie’s Tavern to enjoy the fully stocked bars, wings, burgers and other classic bar bites while catching all the big games on high-definition flat-screen televisions. At Evie’s Tavern on the Range, which doubles as a restaurant/bar and golf center, enjoy a drink and a hand-tossed pizza while you catch the game inside, or move to the outdoor patio overlooking the golf range — sports don’t get much more live than that.
Championship greyhound racing is a popular spectator sport in Sarasota, where the Sarasota Kennel Club has resided since 1929. Outdoor seating and race-side standing is available, as well as air-conditioned indoor seating in the upscale Miss Whirl Club above the track. Off-season, the track is used for betting and is a popular gathering spot for fans of horse racing to watch televised events on the flat-screen TVs in the Miss Whirl Club.