Are you ready for some baseball? No doubt you’ve heard about the construction underway for the Atlanta Braves Spring Training Facility, located off S. Tamiami Trail and West Villages Parkway in West Villages.

Since West Villages Parkway is closed by the stadium construction site, curious baseball fans and inquisitive residents should head over to the Braves Preview Center in North Port, for a complimentary tour complete with hot dogs and popcorn.

The Preview Center opened in April and has been a popular attraction, as you are able to sit in a stadium seat and experience a view-by-view tour of the under-construction ballpark. The virtual adventure utilizes architectural renderings from more than 40 vantage points, encompassing 360 degrees around the concourse of the facility. To make an appointment or for information, call 941-413-5000 or email

Next year, the team opens its state-of-the-art complex, boasting 6,200-fixed seats, year-round tiki bar and event facilities. For more information, see

To get you in the baseball spirit, here are 7 fun facts about the Atlanta Braves:

  1. The Braves are the oldest team in major league baseball. They began in 1871 in Massachusetts, known as the Boston Red Stockings.
  2. Braves great Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s home run record his first time at bat, during the 1974 season. Four days later, Ruth’s record was broken with Aaron’s home run #715.
  3. Ted Turner purchased the Braves in 1975, which lead to every game being televised on Turner’s TBS network.
  4. Part-time Atlanta resident Elton John showed up at the 1995 World Series at Wrigley Field in the batting cage to visit with and cheer on the Braves.
  5. The Braves delivered the first world championship for Atlanta in 1995 and entered the record books as the first franchise to win the World Series in three different cities.
  6. Braves manager Bobby Cox earned his 132nd game ejection on August 15, 2007, setting an MLB record.
  7. Although the Braves have won 17 divisional titles, they have only gone on to win the World Series 3 times, in 1914, 1957 and 1995.

Now if that doesn’t jazz you up for Braves Spring Training in your own backyard, I don’t know what will. All that’s left to say is, “play ball!”