A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wild Pitches

So, I recently got back from a spring training road trip to Florida! I had a lot of fun. I actually got to see several games, stopped at a few parks, and took in the sights around Florida.

See my other blog about some of the other roadside attractions we were able to see. I am still thinking about the trip.

This was my first time doing spring training in Florida, and the obvious comparison to Arizona comes up. We visited probably the same number of parks in each state.

For now, I have to say the edge goes to Arizona. it is close though. We felt that staff at the parks in Arizona were a bit more fan friendly than in Florida.

Sure, you are in minor league parks, but they still have a major league vibe going on. We felt that, in the Cactus League, the feel was just more relaxed.

Let me give a quick comparison. We stopped at the Peoria Sports Complex one morning in Arizona. No games were scheduled at that time, but we thought we would stop by for the heck of it.

There were some great, talkative old timers running the gift shop who just seemed happy to be there. They encouraged us to go check out the minor leaguers training that day. We had a great time talking to the guys around the park and in the gift shop. One of the Padres minor league coaches came over and asked us how we were doing! We had a similarly nice experience at Tempe Diablo Stadium before an Angels game.

We had some great experiences in Florida too, and I will write about those as I review the parks we visited, but the mood was more "big league" than in Arizona.

In Florida, we stopped at Space Coast Stadium on a non-game day. The staff there almost seemed confused that people showed up on an off day. Sure, I know that a lot is going on and all, but I think the Nationals of all people should be happy anyone shows up anytime.

As I was in Florida, some things felt off too. I saw a lot of Ohio plates! I know when the Indians and the Reds moved to Arizona I felt it was a great fit, but I am not so sure now. Especially after reading about attendance to their games this season.

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