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Baseball Madness: Spring Training in Tampa Bay with the Yankees, Tigers and Rays

Program Number: 11961RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/8/2015 - 3/13/2015; 3/6/2016 - 3/11/2016; 3/13/2016 - 3/18/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Price starting at: $950.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Baseball Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

March madness in Florida is Baseball. Bats have swung and balls have flown for Spring Training in St. Petersburg for 100 years. Weather and schedule permitting, you will join the excitement in the ballpark watching the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays begin their prelude to summer. In the classroom, experts will enlighten you about the details behind America’s pastime to make the game experience even more enjoyable. You will hear colorful stories and anecdotes from those who live baseball — coaches, broadcasters, sports writers and historians. You will gain some insight about what agents look for when signing players and you will discuss controversies surrounding ethics in baseball. Whether new to the game or a diehard fan, everyone will learn to love the game even more than before.


• Soak up the atmosphere, hear the crack of the bat and see the world’s best players up close at three spring training games (weather and game schedule permitting).
• Enjoy an exclusive behind-the-scenes field trip to Tropicana Field, domed home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
• Take a historical look at baseball through an exhibit showcasing the world's largest private collection of autographed baseballs.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to a mile from parking to the stadium and climbing stadium steps.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Eckerd College.

St. Petersburg (Florida)

Known as the “Sunshine City” with an average of 361 sunny days per year, “St. Pete” has 234 miles of shoreline and boasts 125 city parks, as well as one of America’s top-ranked beaches and the largest municipal arena in the southeast.

All suites hotel with heated outdoor pool.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Jim Schnur

Jim Schnur has lived his entire life in Florida’s Pinellas County. At the University of South Florida, he earned a bachelor's in history and master’s in history and library science. He works at the USF St. Petersburg library as special collections librarian and archivist. Jim participates in local and state historical organizations, and has published articles on Florida history and is an avid fan of baseball.
Dick Crippen

Dick Crippen works in community development and as a senior advisor for the Tampa Bay Rays. A popular former sports anchor in the Tampa Bay television market, Dick hosts an hour-long weekly sports show. He is active with the Rays of Hope Foundation, which gives the Rays baseball team a community presence working with charitable causes, especially the education and welfare of children.
Bill Mathews

Bill Mathews came to Eckerd College as a player ('75-'77), was an assistant coach ('78-'81), then became head coach in 1990. Coach Mathews’ Eckerd baseball program is nationally renowned, and he won his 300th game at Eckerd in spring 2003. As official scorer of the Tampa Bay Rays for the past five years, he had the honor of scoring in the 2008 World Series — and has keen insight about the Rays, who are now annually rivaling the Red Sox and Yankees for AL East dominance.
Meals and Lodgings
   Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
  St. Petersburg, FL 5 nights
 Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
Type: Hotel
  Description: With two pools and private beach, this full service 18-acre waterfront hotel is located directly on Tampa Bay. Convenient to nearby Gulf beaches and area attractions and all there is to do in St. Pete and the Tampa Bay area.
  Contact info: 6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane
St. Petersburg, FL, FL 33711 USA
phone: 727-867-1151
  Room amenities: Clock radio; coffe maker; free local phone calls' hair dryer; microwave (on request); refrigerator; 2nd floor rooms have a balcony
  Facility amenities: Arcade and game room; ATM; bar and lounge; fitness center; gift shop; wireless internet access in public areas; laundry facilities; private beach; hot tub; 2 outdoor swimming pools; shiffleboard, tennis and volleyball courts.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: call for prices Call the hotel directly at 727-867-1151 for prices.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: call for prices Call the hotel directly at 727-867-1151 for prices.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Approximately 5pm. You will be staying at Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove that night.
  End of Program:
1:00pm You will be staying at Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
On-site parking is free and available in proximity to the accommodations.
To Start of Program
  Location:  St. Petersburg, FL
  Nearest city or town:  Tampa/Clearwater
  Nearest highway: I-275
  Nearest airport:  Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: St. Petersburg, FL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

To/From Magnuson Hotel


To Train Station




phone: 813-221-7600


Per Person/One Way:


Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


5251 110th Avenue North Pinellas Park Square, Suite 101 Clearwater, FL 33760


To/From Magnuson Hotel


To Bus Terminal




Greyhound Lines
phone: 727-898-1496


Per Person/One Way:


Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


To/From Magnuson Hotel 727-8981496 To/From Greyhound Lines-7 Miles (For Greyhound Only) Greyhound Lines 180 9th Street North St. Petersburg, Fl 33705 Taxi: Bat's Taxi: 727-367-3702 United:727-535-0000 Clearwater Yellow:727-799-2222


Magnuson Hotel/St. Petersburg


From Bus Terminal




See below
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 




5 miles


Bat's Taxi: 727-367-3702 United Cab: 727-799-2222 Clearwater Yellow: 727-799-2222


Tampa International Airport & St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 180-028-2681 x7
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes to 1/2 hour 




25 miles


Website: Reservations are recommended but not required. Travel from airport to the campus is very convenient - all interstate.

Driving Directions
  From North to Magnuson I-4 or I-75 south, merging onto I-275 (St. Petersburg). You will travel approximately 20 miles, all the way through Tampa, across Tampa Bay and past the downtown St. Petersburg exits. Take I-275 south to exit 16. Turn left at the stop. Turn right on Sunshine Skyway Lane. The Magnuson Hotel will be on your left.
  From South to Magnuson I-75 north to I-275. Cross the Sunshine Skyway Bridge ($1.25 toll). Take Exit 16 right onto Sunshine Skyway Lane. The Magnuson Hotel will be on your right.
  From St. Petersburg Clearwater Airport to Magnuson Turn left onto Roosevelt Blvd. (686) as you exit the airport. Follow to Ulmerton Road.Take I-275 south to exit 16. Turn left at the stop. Turn right on Sunshine Skyway Lane. The Magnuson Hotel will be on your left.
  From Tampa International Airport to Magnuson I-275 south toward St. Petersburg. You will travel approximately 20 miles, all the way through Tampa, across Tampa Bay and past the downtown St. Petersburg exits. Take I-275 south to exit 16. Turn left at the stop. Turn right on Sunshine Skyway Lane. The Magnuson Hotel will be on your left.
Elevation Note: sea level.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival/Welcome/Orientation
(Sunday, March 8)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register with the program staff, to get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have Scheduled free time is set aside for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own.
 Dinner: In our private dining room at the hotel, enjoy a seated dinner including salad, a hot entrée, side dishes, bread, dessert, plus iced tea, coffee/decaf, water; other beverages available for purchase
 Evening: Time on your own to enjoy the pools, views, and other amenities of the hotel continue to get to know your fellow participants, or rest from your travels
Accommodations: Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Lectures on pro vs. college ball Field trip Evening presentation
(Monday, March 9)
 Breakfast: In our private dining room, the breakfast buffet offers hot items such as eggs (boiled or scrambled), breakfast meat (bacon or sausage), oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, pastry or breakfast bread, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.
 Morning: Begin the morning with Eckerd College Asst. Athletic Director, Asst. Prof. Physical Education and former Coach Bill Mathews for a discussion about the differences and similarities between college and professional baseball. After a brief refreshment break between classes, Coach Mathews, will walk you through team strategy, roster lineups and how to use a scorecard. Coach Mathews is the Tampa Bay Rays official MLB game scorecard keeper and had the honor of scoring during the 2008 playoffs and World Series at Tropicana Field. Coach will explain what constitutes an "error" and how he makes on the spot decisions during a game.
 Lunch: Lunch is served at table in our private dining room
 Afternoon: Board our Eckerd College coach for a field trip to Tropicana Field and visit the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters' Hall of Fame
 Dinner: Dinner at the Eckerd College Continuing Education Café. The buffet at the café includes hot entrees, side dishes, salad bar, soup, deli meats, bread, fresh fruit, desserts and beverages. Self-service format with trays.
 Evening: Baseball related lecture or presentation
Accommodations: Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Spring Training game - Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Phillies Lecture about Babe Ruth
(Tuesday, March 10)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in our private dining room
 Morning: The Eckerd motorcoach takes you to Brighthouse Field in Clearwater attend a game - the Detroit Tigers at the Philadelphia Phillies.
 Lunch: Box lunches provided for eating on the bus or at the ball park
 Afternoon: Spring Training Game - Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Phillies. Return to the hotel after the game
 Dinner: Dinner at the CEC Café
 Evening: Eckerd Professor and author, Lee Irby captivates you with tales of Babe Ruth, American
Accommodations: Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lecture: Ethics of Baseball Spring Training Game: Red Sox at Yankees Experiences of a Sportscaster
(Wednesday, March 11)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in our private dining room
 Morning: Lecture: Coach Mathews delves into the ethics of baseball After a break, board the Eckerd College coach to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to watch the Boston Red Sox at the New York Yankees
 Lunch: Box lunches provided for eating on the bus or at the ball park
 Afternoon: Spring Training Game. Return to the hotel after the game.
 Dinner: Dinner at the CEC Dining Room
 Evening: Lecture: Rays broadcaster Dewayne Staats shares the Experiences of a Sports Broadcaster
Accommodations: Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Spring Training Game: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Monroe to Madden Lecture on the world's largest collection of signed baseballs
(Thursday, March 12)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in our private dining room
 Morning: We travel today to Charlotte Sports Park, spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays to watch them play the Toronto Blue Jays
 Lunch: For a full flavor of baseball fare, vouchers for a hot dog, chips and drink will be our lunch in the open-aired park.
 Afternoon: Spring Training Game. Return to the hotel after the game
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
 Evening: After a quick dinner, we board the bus to enjoy "Happy Hour with the Historian" at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The lecture is "From Monroe to Madden: Baseball in St. Petersburg" by Dennis Schrader. Dennis has recently given his Guinness Book of Records certified world's largest collection of baseballs on long term loan to the museum. It promises to be an evening of great stories about baseball. There will be opportunity to view the exhibit which uses the collection as part of an enlightening exhibit about the history of baseball.
Accommodations: Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lecture: The Law and Baseball
(Friday, March 13)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in our private dining room
 Morning: Stetson Law Professor Michael Allen offers his insight into the law and baseball
 Lunch: Lunch in our private dining room. Program concludes with lunch today. Thank you for choosing Eckerd College and the Magnuson Hotel for your Road Scholar experience. Have a safe journey and come see us again soon.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

7,000 Clams: A Novel

Author: Irby, Lee

Description: Frank Hearn is a down-on-his-luck bootlegger and bruiser, looking for the big score in the heart of the Roaring Twenties. When he loses a shipment of top-quality booze to a double-crossing government thief, Frank hunts him down, roughs him up, and finds something that catches his eye. What at first appears to be a scrap of paper is actually a handwritten and unmistakably authentic IOU for $7,000, signed by Babe Ruth. Seven-thousand clams is a lot of money--and when Frank gets a tip that the Yankees are about to begin spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida, he wastes no time leaving New Jersey to track down the Babe. Frank thinks he's covered his bases: Along for the ride is a dangerous and curvy blonde named Ginger DeMore. She’s smart, she packs a snub-nose pistol in her purse, and she’s the perfect accomplice to help convince the Babe to cough up the dough. It seems like the perfect plan, but Frank and Ginger aren’t the only ones seeking their fortunes in Florida. 1920’s St. Pete is a veritable nest of vipers. Hustlers, gamblers, Yankee fans, and even a sociopath are lurking in the booming burg—not to mention a team of gangsters sent by a prominent Chicago mobster named Al Capone (who’s instructed his boys to scour the town for a curvy dame by the name of Ginger DeMore). In this taut Roaring Twenties crime novel, filled with colorful characters both real and imagined, Lee Irby takes readers straight into the authentic heart of the era, bringing to life all the sizzling style—from the slang and the fashions to the smell of bathtub gin. Worthy of a place at Elmore Leonard’s table, 7,000 CLAMS is an enormously entertaining tale and a superb fiction debut.

Mangroves to Major League: A Timeline of St. Petersburg, Florida

Author: Baker, Rick

Description: MANGROVES TO MAJOR LEAGUE provides readers with insights on the ten eras of the country's newest major league city, and provides detailed timelines linking local events to important events in Florida, United States and world history. Includes hundreds of photographs, charts and maps, many never published before.

Summer of '49: The Yankees and the Red Sox in Postwar America

Author: Halberstam, David

Description: Halberstam’s classic #1 bestseller, about the magical summer when baseball’s fiercest rivalry captured the nation’s imagination, and changed the sport forever The summer of 1949: It was baseball’s Golden Age and the year Joe DiMaggio’s New York Yankees were locked in a soon-to-be classic battle with Ted Williams’s Boston Red Sox for the American League pennant. As postwar America looked for a unifying moment, the greatest players in baseball history brought their rivalry to the field, captivating the American public through the heart-pounding final moments of the season. This expansive story captures an era, incorporating profiles of the players and their families, fans, broadcasters, baseball executives, and sportswriters. Riveting in its blend of powerful detail and exhilarating narrative, The Summer of ’49 is Pulitzer Prize–winner David Halberstam’s engrossing look at not only a sports rivalry, but at a time when America’s very identity was wrapped up in its beloved national game.

The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime

Author: Turbow, Jason and Duca, Michael

Description: Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of (don’t cross between the catcher and the pitcher on the way to the batter’s box). In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed—and least known—traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining. At the heart of this book are incredible and often hilarious stories involving national heroes (like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays) and notorious headhunters (like Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale) in a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see for the first time the game as it’s actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field. With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, The Baseball Codes is a must for every fan.

The Big Bam, The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

Author: Montville, Leigh

Description: He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sports. Babe Ruth was more than baseball’s original superstar. For eighty-five years, he has remained the sport’s reigning titan. He has been named Athlete of the Century . . . more than once. But who was this large, loud, enigmatic man? Why is so little known about his childhood, his private life, and his inner thoughts? In The Big Bam, Leigh Montville brings his trademark touch to this groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the Babe. Based on newly discovered documents and interviews—including pages from Ruth’s personal scrapbooks —The Big Bam traces Ruth’s life from his bleak childhood in Baltimore to his brash entrance into professional baseball, from Boston to New York and into the record books as the world’s most explosive slugger and cultural luminary. Montville explores every aspect of the man, paying particular attention to the myths that have always surrounded him. Did he really hit the “called shot” homer in the 1932 World Series? Were his home runs really “the farthest balls ever hit” in countless ballparks around the country? Was he really part black—making him the first African American professional baseball superstar? And was Ruth the high-octane, womanizing, heavy-drinking “fatso” of legend . . . or just a boyish, rudderless quasi-orphan who did, in fact, take his training and personal conditioning quite seriously? At a time when modern baseball is grappling with hyper-inflated salaries, free agency, and assorted controversies, The Big Bam brings back the pure glory days of the game.

The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees

Author: Lyle, Sparky and Golenbock, Peter

Description: After winning the American League Cy Young Award in 1977, Lyle, a left-handed reliever, was rewarded with a place on the bench as the high-spending New York Yankees acquired Goose Gossage from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bad news for him, good luck for us, as the bullpen bench was the perfect perch from which to observe the wild 1978 season, in which the Yankees overcame a 14-game midsummer deficit and a midseason managerial change to win the pennant and their second consecutive World Series. Would Lyle have written the book if he’d had more playing time? It’s an intriguing question. The quality of the prose isn’t great, but it definitely has spark. As he recounts fights, firings, pranks, and even baseball games, offering forthright assessments of Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, and Billy Martin (the last fares best), Lyle seemingly can’t help but offer his honest opinion on all of it. And the following season? Strangely enough, Lyle finally got what he wanted most of all, a trade to another team. Frankly fascinating and forthrightly funny.

The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It

Author: Ritter, Lawrence

Description: The voices of the game's distant past continue to reverberate with a distinct freshness in Lawrence S. Ritter's The Glory of Their Times. An oral history of the game in the first two decades of the century, Glory sends out its impressive roster of players to tell their own stories, and what stories they tell--the story of their times as well as of their game; the scorecard includes Rube Marquard, Babe Herman, Stan Coveleski, Smoky Joe Wood, and Wahoo Sam Crawford. A delight from cover to cover, Glory is the next best thing to having been there in the days when the ball may have been dead, but the personalities were anything but.

The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams

Author: Bradlee, Jr., Ben

Description: At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves--and that his fans have been waiting for. Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him--and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.'s grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America--and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter's box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not. THE KID is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee's marvelous book clears the fences, too.

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