Roy Hobbs World Series is a grand slam for Lee County economy
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Oct. 27, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct. 28, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Let's play ball!
The first pitch was thrown out Sunday morning in the 25th annual Roy Hobbs World Series.
"This is like a big family, this is like a family reunion for most people," Tournament President Tom Giffen said.
Over the course of the next four weeks, about 4,000 adult amateur baseball players will take the field at all of Lee County's five baseball complexes.
Players come from all over the world, like Germany, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to get their hands on the trophy.
"We practice a lot and play in the Dominican for preparation and we come here to win," Dominican player Eddie Garabito said.
The tournament was moved to Lee County in 1993 and will stay here until at least 2019. And everyone seems to agree that Fort Myers is the perfect place to play ball.
"Out of all the major adult tournaments, this is the best spot in the country because all the files are in one spot," Giffen said.
It's also a grand slam for the local economy. Last year's tournament brought in more than $12 million in just 28 days.
"These guys love coming down here, they come down here and they spend money. It's a tourism based economy and we're hitting in late October, November which is off season so lots of folks like to see us coming," Giffen said.
Anita Messner's husband plays for the HPK Oilers from Minnesota. They've stayed at the same condo on Fort Myers Beach for seven years.
"We love the beach, the sun, the restaurants," Messner said.
Not to mention the nice break from the winter weather.
"We're from Minnesota, it's cold there already!" Messner said.
For a list of all the teams and the tournament schedule, visit royhobbs.com/world-series.