Donning armor of red, purple, and gold, Orlando City has established itself as one of the USL Pro’s most dominant teams, winning USL Pro championships in 2011—its inaugural season—and 2012. After their second championship, the squad’s success attracted the attention of the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, who will serve as Orlando City’s parent squad for two years, beginning with the 2013 season.
If there’s one team to emulate in professional sports, it’s the New York Yankees and their 27 championships. Since becoming the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the big league Yankees in 1994, the Tampa Yankees have grown into a minor league clone of their MLB brethren—they’ve won five Florida State League titles, including back-to-back years in 2009-10.
Further strengthening the Yankee bond, the T-Yanks play all their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Spring Training facility of the Bronx Bombers. A scaled-down replica of Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner Field is an 11,000-seat facility brimming with Yankee lore. The 31-acre complex even has a Monument Park, which honors the organization’s greatest players and beer vendors.
While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
The history of today's Atlanta Braves traces back to 1876 in Boston, where the team played as the Red Stockings. In the more than 100 years since, the club lived like a nomadic tribe, claiming two World Series titles in separate cities before finally landing in Atlanta in 1966. There, they found reason to settle down, winning an unprecedented 14 consecutive division titles, as well as another World Series in 1995. Throughout the years, many of baseball's all-time greats have donned the Braves uniform, including Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cy Young. Opened in 1997, Turner Field serves as the club's home turf, relaying the action on a 29'x38' BravesVision video board as a 27' neon tomahawk menaces visiting players and vegetables alike.
Offered Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m., Minute Maid Park tours provide an insider’s guide to a great American ballpark in a fact-filled approximately one-hour stroll. Reflecting Houston’s historical relationship with railroads, the park’s most distinct feature is a full-sized locomotive that runs along 800 feet of track in left field and is regularly held up by a tatterdemalion gang of thieving cowboys. Incorporating red brick masonry, a lush natural grass surface, and a retractable roof, “The Juice Box” boasts a 40,976-person capacity for baseball games and is a also a prime locale for recreating Braveheart battle scenes. Visitors will be led by a pleasantly colloquial tour guide that usually provides illuminating access to areas such as the broadcasting booth, press boxes, the dugouts, luxury suites, and lightsaber training areas–all of which are much more interesting than the Alamo’s basement.
A fleet of ATVs, Jeep 4x4s, and dune buggies carries passengers on wild, pavement-free rides through more than 240 acres of Floridian tropics at Revolution, The Off-Road Experience. Behind the wheel of a Jeep, or the 8-wheeled amphibious vehicle called the Mucky Duck, drivers can wheel up man made steps instead of looking for a nearby escalator. Alternately, the company?s local body of water, Revolution Lake, lets adventurers take advantage of 60 acres of sport fishing, where they can catch, photograph, and release specimens such as largemouth bass, croppies, snook, and bowfin.