In case you hadn’t heard, this year is the Reds last year Spring Training in Sarasota, Florida. Cincinnati has been in Sarasota for more than a decade, and in Florida for even longer than that, so you know this change will bring out the maudlin, melodramatic articles decrying the change.
Yup, here’s one now.
[T]here was a tinge of sadness as I walked out through the gates of what Marty Brennaman likes to call “tired old Ed Smith Stadium.” I knew, as did many of the others there that day, that it would be my last Reds spring training game in Florida.
I don’t know why, but this doesn’t strike emotional chord with me that the writer, Howard Wilkinson, probably intended. My response is, “Good. Ed Smith is a terrible place to watch baseball games.” It would be terrible for the Reds to have a *nice* place to play games at.
To be fair, Wilkinson isn’t entirely against the move. He mentions how it was necessary. The complex is old and hasn’t been being maintained in recent years. And when the Reds asked the local government for help giving them a better facility, the answer was no. There’s nothing to do but leave then, and the deal from Arizona is awesome.
However, Wilkinson finishes his article describing a family of 5 who had driven from Indiana to watch a few games. Goodyear, Arizona is almost twice as far away from Cincinnati as Sarasota. And Sarasota is in close proximity to Disney World and beautiful beaches.
Can you picture that family buying five plane tickets and hauling three kids and a week’s worth of luggage to an Arizona suburb where there’s no trace of Mickey, much less Minnie, and the nearest beach is in California?
Don’t count on it.
And that, Reds fans, is reason enough to be sad.
The opportunity to watch major league baseball in a much more intimate setting in a world-class ballpark is reason to be sad? I don’t see it. I’m excited about the new facility next year and plan on catching some games there, if for no other reason than the terrible specter of Dusty Baker’s contract will be that much closer to being killed.