Checking out Goodyear
This morning I made my second trek out to Goodyear to check out the new Reds Spring Training complex. The last time I was out there in September, the main stadium was a few months from completion, the finishing touches were being put on the Indians portion of the complex and the Reds portion was dirt and tumbleweeds. Hal McCoy from the Dayton Daily News came along with me and Kent Weaver from FSN Ohio brought the TV camera. He planned on posting some of his video on Reds.com at some point so you can see it.
Only for you, the loyal reader, would I ever don a bright pink safety helmet like I did today as I toured the construction site of the Reds complex. It’s is about 75 percent complete and should be ready by August. It will be able to host fall instructional league. It will be 43,000 sqaure feet over two floors and have everything the modern baseball player would ever need — spacious clubhouses for the Major and Minor League players, gigantic weight rooms, top-notch training and conditioning faciltities and a spacious “water room” for hot/cold tubs and for players to do injury rehabilitation in the pool.
They will have a cafeteria and full kitchen. Inside and outside, it will look a lot like the Indians site that I toured last fall, but the Reds have learned from the Indians and took notes to improve upon the original.
Now for the stuff you’re really concerned about. The stadium, simply called Goodyear Ballpark, is quite nice. It seats about 8,000 with 2,000 more that go on the grassy hill in the outfield. The seating bowl is built into the ground so you’ll walk in and be at the top of the seats. Concessions include the usual hot dogs, pizza, Mexican food and there is a very large team gift shop.
The stadium lacks some of the personality that other newer places have — like the the Phillies ballpark in Clearwater — but baseball should be fun to watch there. There are several “party spots” — one in the outfield and a couple in the suites area. The biggest problem will be shade — there’s hardly any. Although it won’t 100 degrees during the spring, people will need lots of sunscreen and hats. I’d worry about little kids baking in the sun. I’m told there have been discussions about trying to remedy the shade situation.
Another issue for the players and we writers — the Reds complex is well over a half-mile from the main stadium. For players, they will have shuttle buses to and from during games. I don’t know what the writers will do. The Indians place is between the Reds and the stadium. They didn’t put a team on either side of the stadium because the city wanted one side for development.
However, when it comes to baseball watching, and especially playing, this should be just about as good or better as anything you’ll find at Spring Training in Arizona or Florida.
Goodyear is about 20 minutes west of downtown Phoenix and honestly, it’s a big-time work in progress. Homes and condos are sprouting all around but the complex is basically alone in the desert. About two miles away is Interstate 10 and an assortment of chain restaurants, fast food, and shopping. A couple of exits away is a place I will covet — In N’ Out Burger. There are no “mom n’ pop” places like Gus’s to eat at and I have no idea, from a personal standpoint, what I will do after 6 p.m. when my work day is complete. Obviously, there is no beach roam or Siesta Key or St. Armand’s Circle or any kind of downtown that I have found, yet. I’m told nearby Glendale (where the NFL’s Cardinals and NHL’s Coyotes) is where it’s at in the western suburbs of Phoenix. It’s a short distance from Goodyear. The awesome city of Scottsdale, which is where I’m staying during this road trip, is 40 minutes away in the East Valley.
My Indians MLB.com counterpart, Anthony Castrovince, spoke highly of his experience in Goodyear this past spring so I will be optimistic and prepare myself for my first Spring Training in Arizona come February.
I will have a more complete story on MLB.com during Thursday’s off day.
Below are some pictures I took with the camera on my phone. They’re rudimentary but you’ll get the idea.
This is a sculpture and fountain that can be found at the main entrance of Goodyear Ballpark.
This is the main entrance of Goodyear Ballpark.
The seating area behind home plate, one of the few shaded areas. What you can’t see is beyond right field, a “graveyard” of jumbo jets at the Phoenix/Goodyear freight airport. There are dozens and dozens just sitting out there.
At the main entrance of the still under construction Reds facility. One big difference from the Indians place will be the lack of forboding fencing that the Tribe uses. Their place is surrounded by fencing. The Reds will have less so fans can be closer and more easily watch players on the practice fields.
I believe this was the Reds’ Major League clubhouse.
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