A longtime reader of the Nation, Rich Thompson, recently traveled to Arizona. He has kindly written up his report of the trip. Take it away, Rich:
Rich sporting his Reds 1940’s replica jersey.
Being a baseball and a Cincinnati Reds fan, one of my bucket lists to do’s was to go to Spring Training and this year, I made it happen.
Probably as with many fans, the challenges to make such a trip happen often relate to scheduling (personal & professional) and finances. This year, with a little planning, I made such a pilgrimage to Arizona to take in three games over a four day period.
To share the experience, I was able to persuade my good friend Mike Rankin from Chicago, IL (who is a big White Sox fan) to meet me in Arizona to take in some of the games. Naturally, we both had to see the Reds take on the White Sox in Glendale and see his Sox take on the Tribe in Goodyear.
Ok, enough of the preliminaries and pleasantries; now let’s get into the reviews of the parks and players.
Overall Thoughts & Reflections on Goodyear
All in all, Goodyear is a very nice and intimate facility. Sight lines are very good throughout the park but if you’re expecting a place to sit in the shade, there are only two locations; one is off of the 3rd
base line and the other is in right field, which acts as a club dining area too! In both locations, be prepared to pay a bit extra. However, spring ticket prices are extremely reasonable; most tickets are $30.00 and under. Another thing which was great about the Goodyear experience is that the ushers will pretty much let you sit anywhere except the club area once you are admitted into the park and if other seats are available. This is nice, for this also allows you to sit in various locations to get a different perspective of the park and the game.
If you wish to go and see the players warm up and work out, you will have to walk, bike (Yes, fans actually bike to the games! I found this to be very cool since I am a cyclist myself), or drive to the practice fields, which are about a mile away from the park. It should also be noted before the games start they have buses bring the players over from the practice facilities to the main field. Parking is $5.00 dollars per car to park next to the stadium and it is free if you park in one of the auxiliary lots which is a nice walk and not too far away in my opinion.
Overall Thoughts & Reflections Glendale/Camel Back Ranch, Spring Training home of Chicago (AL) and Los Angeles (NL)
Glendale/Camel Back Ranch
Unlike Goodyear, which had an intimate feel to it, taking in a game at Glendale/Camel Back Ranch felt much more like attending a regular season MLB facility. In my estimation it is almost twice as big and Goodyear and it offered many more amenities. Even with that said, ticket prices were still incredibly reasonable, I believe my buddy, the White Sox fan, paid less than $20.00 dollars per ticket and we were on the 3rd
row back from the Reds dugout. It also worth mentioning parking is free at Glendale/Camelback Ranch.
Visually, Glendale/Camel Back Ranch is a stunning facility and the practice fields are literally connected to the main park, which you can access once you enter it. To make the practice fields even more inviting, the planners literally create a town park atmosphere with shade trees, lush grass, and running water features to sit around as you enjoy the practices of the players and coaches. Yes, I think that this facility is just another example of two bigger market organizations (White Sox & Dodgers) with deeper pockets showing off what they can do. However, I still applaud the Dodgers, White Sox, and the town of Glendale for building such an outstanding fan friendly venue.
Impressions of the Players
Please keep in mind that my sample size was small since I only took in three games, but I did notice some things that Reds fans might find interesting. I will start with the pitchers and then cover/highlight the position players, and then the prospects that I saw.
Continue reading The Nation Reports: From Virginia to Arizona