Florida League season opener: Sanford River Rats vs. the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs




Thursday, June 7 – Florida League season opener

7 p.m.

Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium

1201 Mellonville Ave., Sanford




It’s all about drawing first blood, as defending champs the Sanford River Rats host the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs tonight in a championship rematch bout. Serving as the season opener for the 2012 Florida Collegiate Summer League, Central Florida’s own wood bat baseball league, tonight’s game touts returning league MVP (and native of Altamonte Springs), Dawgs outfielder Ted Blackman along with a stacked lineup of college players from around the country. In play for eight years now, the Florida League continues to offer a “family friendly, affordable and minor league atmosphere,” as described by league Vice President Stefano Foggi. Of the nearly 1,000 players who apply each year, Foggi says, only 162 athletes are chosen for the invite-only league. Beyond tonight’s opening night hype, each Florida League game sees on-field competitions for the little ones and festive grown-up fanfare in the stands including Thirsty Thursday beer specials and Margarita Friday. And no worries if you can’t make it out to the ballpark tonight, you’ll be able to catch another game – a total of 45 evening games will be played this season on diamonds all around Central Florida. – Aimee Vitek