Doug: Don’t cry for Tucson
There are so many waxing nostalgic about Tucson spring training since it’s over. The D-backs last game at Tucson Electric Park was Tuesday. Their last game in Tucson was Wednesday.
It’s amazing how many articles and news features I keep reading and hearing about the years of spring training in Tucson. There’s even an AP article on our Web site that says “D-backs take their balls and bats and leave.” This article actually suggests that the D-backs have stuck the fans of Tucson for paying for something that’s unfair.
The D-backs had a Tucson day against the Brewers this year to celebrate their years in Tucson. Everybody wants to reminisce about the years of Tucson spring training.
There’s one thing that no one seems to have the guts to say: SPRING TRAINING IN TUCSON SUCKS!
If the fans of Tucson wanted the D-backs, let me present a novel idea: GO TO THE GAMES! The D-backs are in second place almost every year of spring training in ROAD attendance but always near the bottom in home attendance. The Tucson Sidewinders rarely finished outside the bottom four in Triple-A baseball attendance.
The contracts were simple. If there are only two teams in Tucson the Rockies can leave. If the D-backs are alone in Tucson, they can leave. If Tucson didn’t want to lose the D-backs, why take the $5 million from Chicago to allow the White Sox out of their contract? Once they did that, they started the dominoes.
Holding your spring training in Tucson does two things: puts you at a competitive disadvantage and loses money. Most teams hold work-outs in the morning then go through batting practice. The benefit of the Cactus League is you then get on a bus for a 15-35 minute drive to your game if you’re on the road. Maricopa County spring training is the most efficient than anywhere in MLB.
The money loss comes from the lack of stars that come to Tucson. Veteran players can get their work done in Phoenix and play in a “B” game and save four hours on a bus by avoiding Tuscon all together. Diamondback players spend so much time on a bus while other teams are working to get better for the season.
It’s not just about the big league clubs. In Tucson, almost every morning the D-backs and Rockies have minor league games. How do you learn anything when you play the same guys every day? The Reds have seven teams within 20 minutes to play minor league games against.
The citizens of Tuscon owe nothing to the D-backs. They have every right to make the decision to do nothing to improve Hi-Corbett Field for the Rockies. They can do anything they want instead of going to D-backs spring games and Sidewinder games. Just don’t give me the whining and sob story about Tucson spring training coming to a close.
The era ended because fans and politicians sat around hoping it wouldn’t end but did nothing to stop it.