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View Full Version : History Lesson Needed: Why is ST in AZ and FL?


WhiteSoxFan84
03-13-2011, 01:42 PM
I'm interested in knowing why Spring Training is in Arizona and Florida? The weather is an obvious answer. And keeping teams close to each other (hence only 2 locations) to avoid traveling so much is another reason. But why not California? Why not Neveda? Texas? Where ever else. I'm just curious why AZ and FL are the chosen destinations. Is it just a MLB decision? Also, how is it determined which team plays in which state? I know there were talks of the Cubs threatening to move to FL a few years ago, so I'm aware that the team has some control over where it plays. And (unless the previous questions gets this answered) why don't the NL teams play in one state and the AL teams play in the other?

Fenway
03-13-2011, 01:49 PM
Florida and Arizona are alone now - but years ago some teams trained in Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina etc. Anaheim until recently trained in Palm Springs but had trouble getting teams to play.


I'm interested in knowing why Spring Training is in Arizona and Florida? The weather is an obvious answer. And keeping teams close to each other (hence only 2 locations) to avoid traveling so much is another reason. But why not California? Why not Neveda? Texas? Where ever else. I'm just curious why AZ and FL are the chosen destinations. Is it just a MLB decision? Also, how is it determined which team plays in which state? I know there were talks of the Cubs threatening to move to FL a few years ago, so I'm aware that the team has some control over where it plays. And (unless the previous questions gets this answered) why don't the NL teams play in one state and the AL teams play in the other?

Lamp81
03-13-2011, 02:39 PM
I know a few years back, Las Vegas seriously looked at building a complex for Spring Training. They were trying to get 4-6 teams to commit to relocating their ST bases. Not enough teams were actually able to commit to get the project rolling. Most of the teams just used the Vegas plan to get better deals in AZ or FL.

That being said, Las Vegas would make a great location for Spring Training. They usually draw well for the weekend series they have every year.

I think you would at least need 4 teams to make a new ST location worthwhile. Maybe Tucson could have survived had another team chosen to train in Southern AZ (with the Sox, DBacks, and Rockies), as 3 teams weren't enough, and the constant travel to the Phoenix area was too much of a hassle.

Lamp81
03-13-2011, 07:45 PM
Here's an article, from the turn of the century, about Las Vegas trying to become a Spring Training site:

http://articles.latimes.com/2000/mar/25/sports/sp-12545

Fenway
03-13-2011, 07:54 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_training#History

I never knew Brooklyn trained in Havana before Vero Beach. Branch Ricky wanted no part of Florida with Jackie Robinson about to join the team.
http://springtrainingmagazine.com/history3.html#havana

Veeck played a role in Arizona getting a foothold. Apparently when he owned the minor league Milwaukee team he sat with black fans in bleachers that were only meant for blacks in Ocala, Florida. Veeck was ordered by officials not to sit there...well you can imagine how he reacted to that.

TDog
03-17-2011, 02:05 PM
Florida and Arizona are alone now - but years ago some teams trained in Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina etc. Anaheim until recently trained in Palm Springs but had trouble getting teams to play.

I was writing a story about the Yuma, Arizona, Chamber of Commerce some years ago and found in their books an expenditure in early 1913 of "$5 to entertain the Chicago White Sox Baseball Team." I think I have the year right. Doing a little more research, I found someone on eBay was selling a program for the team's spring training train tour that took them to, I believe, Paso Robles, California. The White Sox trained in California, on their own, not playing any spring training games, and did sort of a barnstorming tour visiting cities on train stops along the way. It was a big enough deal that they had commemorative programs with the stops along the way there and back, sort of like a rock band tour T-shirt, I guess.

I was never able to find how the White Sox were entertained. The White Sox PR people could only tell me about the tour and who was on the team. I could find nothing in the local newspaper. The White Sox guy I talked to seemed to think they put on exhibitions and played local teams along the way.

That must have been an adventurous spring training. Certainly, it would have been a greater adventure than going to French Lick, Indiana, during World War II.