Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – A Perfect Summer Baseball Treat

[UPDATE: Jacksonville Suns were renamed "Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp".] There is nothing more American than catching a baseball game on a warm summer evening.  The smell of hot dogs, a yummy bag of peanuts and a cold beer all while watching a great Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp game – what could be better?

And no one makes it more enjoyable than the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.  With tons of different fun events and awesome promotions, a game at the 'ole baseball field is something not be missed!

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp History

As early as the 1900s there had been many minor league teams to call Jacksonville home but the first ever Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp first made their debut here in 1962.  This team had been relocated from Havana, Cuba, and originally known as the “Havana Sugar Kings!” when they were first moved to Jersey City, New Jersey during the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

From there it was the Cleveland Indians who moved this team to Jacksonville and renamed the team the Jacksonville Suns where they played in the Triple-A International League.  During this time many well-known names of baseball history played for the Suns, such as Tommy John, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.

But after their win at the International League Championship in 1968 the team was relocated again to Virginia changing their name to the Norfolk Tides.  For two years, Jacksonville was without a baseball team until they reappeared later playing in the Double-A Southern League as the Suns.

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp have played in this Southern League longer than any other team in the division!

Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp originally played at Wolfson Park from 1962 to 2002.  This baseball field was demolished and was replaced in 2003 by the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville that was built to be their new home.  The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville was part of the Better Jacksonville Plan which was an implemented projected headed by Mayor John Delaney.

The goal of this project was to improve road and info structures, focus on environmental preservations while helping economic development and improving public facilities.  The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville was actually the first completed project out of this plan.  This stadium has the highest capacity for double-A baseball league.

Bragan Field at Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville is truly a sight to see.  The old-fashioned design and high bleacher seating is a great tribute to baseball’s past.  This stadium has 12 luxury sky boxes, 4 sky decks, HD video boards located in left field and along the outfield walls.

It is perfectly nestled between Alltel Stadium (home of the NFL Jaguars) and Jacksonville Arena right downtown – perfect for this active atmosphere.  This ball park is one of the few that you can walk all the way around and has perfect lawn seating where you can picnic and lounge while watching the game.

You don’t even need to buy a ticket to enjoy the game! This ball park was built so that you can watch all the action right outside the iron fence on left field on the sidewalk too.

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Entertainment!

There is always something going on at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  Every summer they hold a two-day summer camp for children.  This is a great event for children as they get the opportunity to learn from not only the players from the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp but also from the Miami Marlins (who the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp recently became affiliated with).  The Suns manager, Andy Barkett and his staff are there every year helping children perfect their baseball skills.

Along with a camp for kids, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp host other kid friendly events such as Hi-Chew Kids Night where children can play catch right on the field and every Friday night the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville put on spectacular fireworks for Friday Family nights.  The have Family Faith Day every Sunday.  Catch a game after church!  On this day there is a special post-game concert from churches around the area and kids can run bases between the game and the concert.

Another one of their most popular promotions is Thirsty Thursdays were you can get a beer for only $1 and 50 cent feast night where you can get hot dogs, peanuts and ice cream treats all for the just fifty cents.  Men, if you are looking for a great girl who has as much love for baseball as you do, make sure you come on ladies night.  With a dollar admission for the ladies, the bleachers will sure to be packed with lovely women!

A unique event that not many other minor leagues participate in and is another example of how dog friendly Jacksonville is Dog Days.  You can bring your favorite pooch to Bragan Field!  They have a pre-game dog parade and give away “doggy bags” filled with great treats for your furry best friend.  On this day you can see many types of dogs, big breeds and small breeds, all enjoying the game.

Before you leave, make sure you get a picture with South Paw Mascot!  South Paw is Jacksonville’s favorite furry pooch.   This dog mascot was inspired by a puppy Mr. Bragan (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp president) found hanging out at the old Wolfson Park.  He then adopted the canine and made him part of the team.  You can find South Paw every game night entertaining the fans and cheering on his team.

So if you want a fun filled night, at a great price, that everyone in the family will enjoy, you can’t go wrong bringing them to watch the Jacksonville Suns play at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville!

Question of the Day: Are you a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp fan…or do you prefer to cheer on the Sharks with indoor football?? (Did you see our video about that?? It was really good…) Share with us in the comments below!