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View Full Version : Good and Bad Spring Training Stadiums



LawFive
02-08-2006, 12:16 PM
Hey, folks. I'm planning on being down in FL the 2nd week of March, and am currently planning which games I want to see. I'll certainly catch a couple of the Sarasota games, hoping that the "A" squad will be playing at home.

Was wondering what other sites RedZoners have been to, and if anyone has recommendations for places to either see or avoid? I was thinking about seeing the Reds @ Pirates in Bradenton, but I thought I read somewhere else that McKechnie (sp?) is an absolute dump. Any thoughts?

BEETTLEBUG
02-08-2006, 01:16 PM
I think it is one of the nice OLD ball parks. I went last year and the game I picked to go was Chuck Tanner figurene day and him signed themiy was great.

Team Clark
02-08-2006, 01:22 PM
Definitely got to Tampa!! Sarasota complex is nice. Winterhaven is nice. Lakeland is really cool!! Good chance you can hang down by the bullpen and get A LOT of autographs. Stadium is really nice.

Bradenton leaves a lot to be desired. Cardinals camp is no good. Port St. Lucie has a nice feel to it and a great breeze. Stadium is average. If you're up for the drive Dodgertown is a can't miss.

Clearwater is tucked away in a Residential area but not a bad stadium. Players clubhouse is pretty darn close to the fence. Good shot at some Autogrpahs there too.

Orlando is beautiful but pretty bad for access. Stadium is gorgeous though.

I took my Dad to ST with me a few years ago and got him a set of credentials so he could be on the field with me. The whole thing was just more special because it was Spring Training.

Gainesville Red
02-08-2006, 01:53 PM
I had a pretty good time in Dunedin last year (blue jays, or should I say green jays when I was there. St. Pat's day I guess). TC's right, Dodgertown is great.

Blimpie
02-08-2006, 01:54 PM
I dunno if Municipal Stadium (West Palm Beach) is still around, or if the crystal meth-heads have finally taken over and formed their own civilization on the property.

When I lived there years ago, it was the ST home for both the Braves and for the Expos. Back then, it was a little frightening to attend night games without packing heat.

Shaknb8k
02-08-2006, 02:17 PM
Ive been to 4 stadiums- Reds- Ed Smith Stadium (Sarasota); Blue Jays- Knology Park (Dunedin); Devil Rays- Al Lang Field (St. Petersburg); Phillies- Bright House Networks Field (Clearwater).

Reds: Well im a little bias to this park. Was a nice field but nothing special. As for Sarasota I loved it. Im from West Virginia so the big cities arent for me. But Sarasota was enough removed that it wasnt awful (Except driving over that HUGE bridge from Tampa to get there). But I will say it was one of the nicest complex that I went to. Easy to get around the minor league fields and watch games there. My Stadium Rating: A+ (with complex and bias included) B- (with stadium only)

Blue Jays: This was an ok to below avg. stadium. Nothing special at all. Didnt like the fact that the complex was seperate from the stadium and in a different part of Dunedin. As for Dunedin. It was my favorite spring training city. Easy to get around and not real crowded at all. My Stadium Rating: B (with help from the nice city)

Devil Rays: Nothing special here. It was in St. Pete so parking wasnt a real issue for me. The seats were very steep to the extent that ushers had to help the elderly people up the steps. But I would go back. My Stadium Rating: C-

Phillies: This was the best park that I went to. Very nice complex that is beside the stadium. Was just as easy to watch the minor league games or major league work outs as the Reds Complex. Wonderful stadium as well. Very new. Great place to watch spring training games. My Stadium Rating: A (no strings attatched)

max venable
02-08-2006, 03:05 PM
For access to players, nothing was better than the Rangers camp in Port Charlotte...but they don't train there anymore.

Others I've been to (and some tips for getting autographs)

Yankees (Tampa) Great complex...tough to get autographs. Best chance is to hang out by the players' parking lot and beg through the fence as players go to their cars.

Reds (Sarasota) decent. Best place for autographs, IMO, is at the practice fields on the other side of the staduim. Players are pretty accessible there. Also, I've had success waiting outside the parking lot (players will often stop their cars and sign if the crowd's not crazy). I've also snagged a lot of guys as they leave the field (in the outfield on their way to the clubhouse).

Phillies (Clearwater) a lot like Sarasota. But I didn't have much success getting stuff signed.

Tampa Bay (St. Pete) Players were very accessable. Got Wade Boggs to sign a ball there.

Pittsburgh (Bradenton) I liked it a lot. Very much like Sarasota in terms of accessibility to players (practice fields are the best place--it's not at the same location as the staduim). Players were friendly and fairly easy to get to at the practice fields.

Red Sox (Ft. Myers) Kinda like what I experienced at Yankees camp. Players were not real accessible.

Tigers (Lakeland). Awesome place for autographs. The best way to get them is to wait outside the clubhouse after games. Players have to walk through you to get to their cars. The ONLY Tiger who wouldn't sign for me was Cecil Fielder. Even Al Kaline was there signing on the day I was there.

When it comes to getting ST autographs, there are three keys, IMO:

1. Be prepared. Know the players, what they look like in street clothes, where the practice fields are, where the players' parking is, etc. And have good stuff ready for them to sign.

2. Be persistent. You have to be willing to wait and not give up.

3. Be polite. I always try to say something interesting to them to get their attention (that goes back to preparedness). Again, know the guys, if you don't know a guy, don't ask for his autograph. Yelling, "Hey number 20...will you sign?", is pitiful (and people do it all the time). Don't insult them. And lastly, always thank them for signing.

deltachi8
02-08-2006, 04:52 PM
I like the Pirates field as well, but havent been there since 2001.

dougflynn23
02-08-2006, 05:45 PM
For access to players, nothing was better than the Rangers camp in Port Charlotte...but they don't train there anymore.

Others I've been to (and some tips for getting autographs)

Yankees (Tampa) Great complex...tough to get autographs. Best chance is to hang out by the players' parking lot and beg through the fence as players go to their cars.

Reds (Sarasota) decent. Best place for autographs, IMO, is at the practice fields on the other side of the staduim. Players are pretty accessible there. Also, I've had success waiting outside the parking lot (players will often stop their cars and sign if the crowd's not crazy). I've also snagged a lot of guys as they leave the field (in the outfield on their way to the clubhouse).

Phillies (Clearwater) a lot like Sarasota. But I didn't have much success getting stuff signed.

Tampa Bay (St. Pete) Players were very accessable. Got Wade Boggs to sign a ball there.

Pittsburgh (Bradenton) I liked it a lot. Very much like Sarasota in terms of accessibility to players (practice fields are the best place--it's not at the same location as the staduim). Players were friendly and fairly easy to get to at the practice fields.

Red Sox (Ft. Myers) Kinda like what I experienced at Yankees camp. Players were not real accessible.

Tigers (Lakeland). Awesome place for autographs. The best way to get them is to wait outside the clubhouse after games. Players have to walk through you to get to their cars. The ONLY Tiger who wouldn't sign for me was Cecil Fielder. Even Al Kaline was there signing on the day I was there.

When it comes to getting ST autographs, there are three keys, IMO:

1. Be prepared. Know the players, what they look like in street clothes, where the practice fields are, where the players' parking is, etc. And have good stuff ready for them to sign.

2. Be persistent. You have to be willing to wait and not give up.

3. Be polite. I always try to say something interesting to them to get their attention (that goes back to preparedness). Again, know the guys, if you don't know a guy, don't ask for his autograph. Yelling, "Hey number 20...will you sign?", is pitiful (and people do it all the time). Don't insult them. And lastly, always thank them for signing.

:confused: Of course, some players simply laugh at grown men who carry around a stack of baseball cards in their hand and ask for autographs from individuals that are often younger than they are. But that's just my opinion.

Willy
02-08-2006, 08:04 PM
Red Sox have a nice place in Ft. Meyers.

Cooper
02-08-2006, 08:05 PM
Small quabble about Bradenton ---the seats aren't angled toward the field so if you are sitting past first or third base then know that your neck is gonna get sore.

nyjwagner
02-08-2006, 09:13 PM
When it comes to getting ST autographs, there are three keys, IMO:

1. Be prepared. Know the players, what they look like in street clothes, where the practice fields are, where the players' parking is, etc. And have good stuff ready for them to sign.

2. Be persistent. You have to be willing to wait and not give up.

3. Be polite. I always try to say something interesting to them to get their attention (that goes back to preparedness). Again, know the guys, if you don't know a guy, don't ask for his autograph. Yelling, "Hey number 20...will you sign?", is pitiful (and people do it all the time). Don't insult them. And lastly, always thank them for signing.


Well said, Max!

I work with these guys ( not the Reds but players) to teach them more about the Fans and give them some skills for dealing with them. As you might imagine it can be overwhelming.

The things that they say back include many of the things mentioned. Know there names ( for the price of a program you can get a list with their numbers). Say Please and Thank you. If you can mention something about them, a play or soemthing that you read, that is going to give you a very memorable experience. Imagine how it feels to have many peopel approaching you for something all day every day....try to give them something back!

Oh, also know that being rude is not going to change their minds, not for you and not for anyone else.

max venable
02-08-2006, 09:29 PM
:confused: Of course, some players simply laugh at grown men who carry around a stack of baseball cards in their hand and ask for autographs from individuals that are often younger than they are. But that's just my opinion.
So what? Should I not try to get autographs because some player who I don't even know and will never even see me again may laugh at me? Whatever.

vic715
02-09-2006, 02:23 PM
:confused: Of course, some players simply laugh at grown men who carry around a stack of baseball cards in their hand and ask for autographs from individuals that are often younger than they are. But that's just my opinion.
You're right I have seen these guys almost knock kids down to get autagraphs.
As for Spring Training parks I only go to Lakeland to see the Reds since they left Plant City.I think its definitly one of the best all around parks in Fla.But I've only seen Five others so thats just my opinion.

redsfanfalcon
02-10-2006, 07:57 AM
I've heard the Indians, (I think Winterhaven?) is a hole in the wall. The only two I've been two are Sarasota and Bradenton. I'd have to agree, in Bradenton, get seats between home and first/third base due to the neck cramping. Also, if you go to Bradenton and want to sit in the sun, they have a canopy over most of the seats behind home plate...also a bummer if you want to catch a foul ball. I'll be missing Spring Training for the first time in 3 years, so I am ready for Opneing Day now!

creek14
02-10-2006, 10:06 AM
They are all okay. Heck, it's spring. It's Florida. It's baseball. And you are closer to the action than you'll ever get at a real MLB park (unless you can afford Diamond seats).

max venable
02-10-2006, 11:36 AM
They are all okay. Heck, it's spring. It's Florida. It's baseball. And you are closer to the action than you'll ever get at a real MLB park (unless you can afford Diamond seats).
Good point. That's why I love ST so much...Sunshine and the crack of the bat, and standing around talking to other fans and/or MLB players about baseball. BTW, I've found many Major Leaguers who are more than happy to just chat with you as long as you're knowledgable about the game (and not a kook). Man, it hardly gets any better than ST.

deltachi8
02-10-2006, 02:41 PM
You're right I have seen these guys almost knock kids down to get autagraphs.


Ugh, ya I have seen that.

I have to admit in 2001 at ST in Sarasota/Bradenton I felt guilty to a degree asking for a couple autographs. I was getting them for my then 4 year old son, but still felt like a tool. I am sure the players hear that all the time.."Its for my kid."

Ken Girffey Sr was very nice to the kids, signing for them. He ignored the adults for the most part, which is fine by me.

For the record, my son Has a nice ball autographed by Austin Kearns and Tom Hume.

deltachi8
02-10-2006, 02:45 PM
Also on Bradenton, the visiting BP is just past the 3rd base bleechers. If you wander down there you can watch the visiting pitchers get work in. Your so close its amazing to see. I stood and watched Scott Williamson throw for about 20 minutes and was wowed. Also wondered to myself two things:

1) How does anyone ever hit major league pitching?
2) How long before his arm is toast (watching his delivery up close)?