Tuesday, December 26, 2006

O's To Keep Ft. Lauderdale as Spring Training Home

It appears that the financials have been settled and the O's will indeed keep Ft. Lauderdale as their Spring Training home after being courted by Vero Beach to inhabit the soon-to-be-Dodgerless Dodgertown. Link to the Miami Herald story is here.

I went to Spring Training last year and visited several camps including the Orioles'. The O's easily have the worst Spring Training facility I've ever seen. The stadium is dilapidated, there is still a Yankees plaque near the entrance gates (the Yankees trained in Ft. Lauderdale for over three decades but have been gone since 1996) and it is so cramped that there is no room for the minor league camp. Where are the prospects at? Sarasota. On the other coast. 213 miles away. Quite frankly, it's pretty embarrassing.

Initial warmups happen on the stadium field, then the pitchers followed Leo Mazzone out beyond the left field fence for the hurlers' workouts. No access for the fans at all beyond the primary field in the stadium, no way to watch Leo try to work his magic.

I enjoyed my day at O's Spring Training but that's due more to my enthusiasm for the team than the team's committment to provide a proper environment for the fans. Here's hoping that the new facility (which, BTW, is years away from completion) is more akin to the Mets, Dodgers or even the Nationals facilities and give the fans a more pleasant and accessible experience.

No comments: