Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Washington Needs A Better Spring Training Schedule

(Click On Picture To Enlarge)

Thanks to the fact that few Major League Teams call the east coast of Florida their spring training homes these days, no wonder Our Washington Nationals are considering other cities to train before the start of every baseball season. The 2011 Spring Training Schedule was released this afternoon and Washington plays 15 of their 30 pre-season games against The New York Mets, The Florida Marlins and The Atlanta Braves. The very same three teams that see each other 54 times during the 162-Game Regular Season.

Additionally, only four other Big League Teams will take on D.C.'s Team in spring training ball in 2011.

That's just unappealing if you want to see Washington take on opponents normally not on the regular schedule. Sure, you can drive across Florida and take in other team's sites, but if you are a Nats Fan that's not always appealing. Since The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out of Vero Beach for Camelback Ranch in Arizona and The Baltimore Orioles headed to Sarasota, Florida--only the Mets, Marlins, Cardinals, Braves, Astros and Tigers truly remain within reasonable driving distances from Viera, Florida for Washington to play on a daily basis in late February and March.

In fact, can you imagine if Jeffrey Loria, the owner of The Fish didn't INSIST Major League Baseball give his Marlins' The Montreal Expos Jupiter, Florida training complex when he abandoned his Expos Ownership for The Marlins in 2002? Our Washington Nationals would today be isolated from most every remaining team in Florida at Jupiter--except for The St. Louis Cardinals (who share the same Jupiter complex), The Mets (in Port St. Lucie) and the Space Coast Stadium Complex (Viera/Melbourne).

15 teams currently train in Florida, the other 15 in Arizona. That means one team in the Grapefruit League and one team in the Cactus League must play a split squad game every single day of Spring Training in order to have competition. It also means in Florida that many teams don't take all of their star players on the road. The distances between training sites are longer. Compare that to Arizona where 13 of the 15 Cactus League Teams are closely grouped together surrounding Phoenix, Surprise, Scottsdale, Goodyear and Peoria.

Far more convenient, probably a lot more fun too to attend.

Personally, Sohna and I like Florida and want Our Washington Nationals to remain in Florida for Spring Training. They are an East Coast Team and the east coast of Florida is convenient for fans heading down from the greater Washington, D.C. area to see Spring Training. What we would love to see is Major League Baseball convince a few more teams to return to the Atlantic Coast of Florida. We are just not sure that is going to happen.

But one thing is clear, Major League Baseball has a problem with the five teams that call east coast cities of Florida their spring training homes. And today's release of the 2011 Spring Training Schedule for Our Washington Nationals drove that point home more than ever.

Yeah, they play The New York Yankees home and away, but no Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins, Rays & Pirates. And that's really sad. Our Washington Nationals need a better Spring Training Schedule.

What's the chances of getting a few teams in Arizona to return to Florida?

PS: Also, what would have happened to The Cleveland Indians if Hurricane Andrew had not destroyed their brand new ballpark and training complex at Homestead Florida in 1992? At that time, The Dodgers still trained in Vero Beach and The Orioles in Ft. Lauderdale--but no longer. Today, the Tribe would have become the most isolated team in the game for Florida Spring Training. No wonder they ran to Arizona without ever holding one day of Spring Training in Homestead.


paul said...

The Nats do need to move. Viera is so remote that whenever I have flown South for spring training, it has been easier to catch them at the one of their road locations.

Still, it is nice to be even thinking about spring training! Four more months!

Tom said...

I was reading a blog called Spring Training and it all but said the teams on the West Coast have not plans to travel any farther east than Kissimee to play the Astro's. The trips are just too long to go to the East Coast. And there are plenty of teams to play on the West Coast.