March 2011 Issue
This month, Goodyear,
Arizona, is where the action is for Reds and Indians fans.
After a long, hard winter, nothing beats putting on the shades, kicking back and watching a ballgame under blue skies. And the best way to do it is with a trip to spring training. Not only does the experience provide an early dose of warm weather, but it also gives fans the opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal look at the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds prior to Opening Day. You’ll be forgiven if you get a little chuckle out of hearing about a big snowfall at home. (Word of caution: bring plenty of sunscreen.)
Before the teams start a new season of major-league action, the players get ready at the spring-training home that they share — the Goodyear Ballpark and Recreational Complex in Goodyear, Arizona, located 20 miles southwest of Phoenix. Bob DiBiasio, the Indians’ vice president of public relations, understands why baseball enthusiasts of all ages eagerly anticipate this time of year.
“There is no more special time than March in Arizona at the beginning of a baseball season,” says DiBiasio, now in his 33rd year of watching Indians preseason play. “The climate is wonderful and the ambiance is very casual. Fans get a chance to see the big-leaguers they follow throughout the year, as well as the youngsters they’ve only heard about.”
While the team is getting in shape, the atmosphere is much more relaxed than it is once the games become official. Fans have much better access to meeting and greeting players during spring training than they do during the regular season. Before home games, the players usually work out at one of the fields located in the complex. (It’s about a five- to 10-minute walk from the ballpark where the games are played to the area where the teams work out.) Players are available for autographs following the morning workout and after they finish playing for the day.
This month, there are 15 Indians and 14 Reds home games at the 10,000-seat ballpark. The Ohio rivals play on March 17 and March 29. The Goodyear Ballpark is located at 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear, AZ 85338; for more information, call 623/882-3120.
If you can’t make it to spring training, mark your calendar for March 31 in Cincinnati and April 1 in Cleveland, when a new baseball season begins in the Buckeye State.
For spring-training and regular-season schedules, visit the teams’ websites: