Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 19, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Cactus League Exhibit

  |   Video
  • Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry makes a pitch for the Mesa Historical Museum's new cactus league exhibit - "Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience." http://playballexperience.com
Guests:
  • Gaylord Perry - Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher
Keywords: baseball, spring training, cactus league,

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> want to take a walk through Arizona’s rich Cactus League history? all you have to do is visit the Mesa historical museum.

David Majure
>>for $20, hall of fame pitcher Gaylord Perry was signing autographs for fans of all ages. raising money for the Mesa historical museum's new exhibit, Play Ball, the Cactus League experience.

David Majure
>>the exhibit opened in January. visitors can peek through knot holes to see the evolution of Arizona’s spring training ballparks. they can wander among photographs and memorabilia that trace the history of Arizona’s cactus league. history Gaylord Perry was a part of.

Gaylord Perry
>> the first ballpark I played in was the old ballpark in Phoenix, next to the stockyards. i had about 19 seasons. i played 22 in the big legion and 19 was spring training in Arizona. you got to play every day because the weather was so great. you didn't have rainouts.

David Majure
>> while some players don't care much for spring training, Perry always made the best of it.

Gaylord Perry
>> some people say it was a unnecessary evil, but it was necessary. if you are going to be ready for opening day, you have to go through six weeks of spring training.

David Majure
>> but it's one week that left a lasting impression. each year Perry and a handful of other San Francisco Giants were invited to spent week before spring training at Buck Horn Baths in Mesa.

Gaylord Perry
>> it was just a pleasant memory for me. working -- you didn't have no field to work on, you just threw catch in the parking lot and went and got your hot mineral bath, and massage. boy, that was great. I’ve got pictures of when we came here to Mesa to Buck Horn Baths and the spring training in Phoenix. and also over in Tucson. we also went to Yuma, Arizona, too. Oh my, my. that's when things got bad. There was nothing there in Tucson .

David Majure
>> spring training in Arizona has changed a lot since then.

Gaylord Perry
>> the Cactus League just got bigger and bigger.

David Majure
>> bigger and better. that's the game plan for the Cactus League exhibit.
Lisa Anderson
>> the exhibit is a work in progress. we do plan to open another phase within the next year.

David Majure
>> the long-term goal is a standalone Cactus League history museum. a must-see destination for baseball fans everywhere.

Lisa Anderson
>> kind of like a Cooperstown west for Arizona.

David Majure
>> the two-time award winner, notorious for throwing the spitball did his part to help out. by sharing some laughs and memories with fans, and sharing photos and items from his personal collection with the museum.

Lisa Anderson
>> almost weekly we're getting objects, and people calling us up with memories, or photographs, and I really believe that quite a bit of Cactus League memorabilia is here in Arizona.

David Majure
>> so check your attic. clean out your closet and tell the museum about any treasures you find by visiting its website, playballexperience.com.

Cactus League President

  |   Video
  • Hear what Robert Brinton, Cactus League President, has to say about the league's economic impact and the future of spring training in Arizona. http://www.cactusleague.com
Guests:
  • Robert Brinton - President,Cactus League
Keywords: baseball, Cleveland Indians, spring training,

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> joining me now is Robert Brinton, president of the cactus league. good to have you. thanks for joining us. let's talk about the economic impact of getting the Los Angeles Dodgers here, the Cleveland Indians here. what does that mean in terms of money?

Robert Brinton
>> overall Cactus League is probably the best economic generator for our state. every year it's over 300 million dollars, and that was without the Dodgers or the Indians. that number is going to jump up, even in a recession period. we're going to set a new record for what it brings into the state this year. so it's very important to see teams like this, and the Indians return to the Cactus League and the Dodgers welcome a new team.

Ted Simons
>> it also tells other major league teams that these teams found Arizona attractive.

Robert Brinton
>> there is no doubt. the funding mechanisms that have been in place that we originally put into stabilize has actually increased the number of teams here, increased the impact and spread out the quality of life throughout the entire valley, and throughout the state.

Ted Simons
>> let's talk about those funding mechanisms, the TSA, how much money is left for this sort of thing?

Robert Brinton
>> well, pretty much all of the funds have been promised now to this stadium and to the Indians and Reds stadium. the Reds will be joining us next year, making 15 teams, and therefore we'll now have 15 in Arizona and 15 in Florida. so the monies have been committed now, and they're there. there are still funds left for renovation of existing fields, and that's very important to make sure we continue that stability that exists. but there is no new money that's available for future expansion.

Ted Simons
>> well, with that in mind, are there new funding models, new funding options out there?

Robert Brinton
>> I think we're going to see new funding models come forward. and I think you're going to see a private-public partnership at a greater level than what we have had at the past. so there's going to be new models that come forward if any expansion happens.
Ted Simons
>> expansion, what about contraction? what's going on with the Cubs in mesa? we're hearing they're not happy with this, or maybe not pleased with that. what's going on?

Robert Brinton
>> they've not ever said they're not happy, they've not ever said they're going to leave. All that has ever been reported is that their contract has an option. all of the contracts have options in them. they can exercise an option in 2011. we don't think that will happen. 2016, their 20-year contract with us runs out, and there has to be some improvements, and the funds are set aside for those improvements. we think the Cubs will remain the anchor of the Cactus League for many years to come.

Ted Simons
>> what happened to Tucson? what's going on down there? that's been a traditional Cactus League site, venue location, and it just seems like everyone is leaving town.

Robert Brinton
>> well, I don't think it's time yet to say the ninth inning is over down there, but the situation that's happened is that in Maricopa County, we put first in the stadium district many years ago to stabilize when we lost the Indians out of Tucson, we were able to with that start stabilizing and build the Peoria stadium and have the Dodgers and Mariners, and that kind of started the trend. so we were able to kind of start stabilizing that situation. and we had the funding. Tucson did not have the ability or did not decide to do that ability at that time to do a funding mechanism, and as they had some growth because of expansion, that took care of it. now they're attempting to bring in a funding mechanism somewhat similar to what we had -- have in Maricopa county, and that may be able to hold on for them. but spring training has evolved. what it was many years ago was truly conditioning for the players. now major parts of spring training are fan conditioning and sponsor conditioning, and that requires a whole new situation somewhat similar to what we see today with the stadiums and the facilities that we have. it's more than just getting the players ready for spring training.

Ted Simons
>> interesting. obviously there's always been a competition between Arizona and Florida, and it sounds like things have pretty much evened up now. is Florida starting to pay attention, and is Florida doing some of the things Arizona is doing now? and is Arizona looking at Florida and sake, that's an idea we can use?

Robert Brinton
>> the answer is yes. in fact, interestingly, this year at the baseball winter meetings we had a great fruit league-Cactus League joint meeting. we met together with our counterparts and talked about different things. there's an equalization that's been reached. I don't think you're going to see the big switches we've had. there may be some transitions back and forth from time to time. they're in a similar situation to us. they are going to have new models to finance there. I think there's a stabilization. major league baseball has made it clear that they want spring training in Florida. they want spring training in Arizona. I think there's a stabilization, and now we're working together and sharing ideas of things we each do to make it good.


Ted Simons
>> very good. Robert, thank you so much for joining us.

Robert Brinton
>> thank you.

Cleveland Indians Spring Ballpark

  |   Video
  • Take a tour of the Cleveland Indians new spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona.


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> Glendale’s Camelback Ranch isn't the only stadium making its debut in 2009. here's a look at the new home of the Cleveland Indians over in Goodyear.

David Majure
>> in the world words of baby baseball legend Yogi Bera, it's deja vu all over again. spring training for the Cleveland Indians and their fans.

Baseball Announcer
>> welcome to beautiful Goodyear ballpark, spring training 2009.

Fan
>> lucky number 13!

David Majure
>> the team trained in Tucson for 46 years, but spent the last 16 in Winter Haven, Florida. now the Indians are back in Arizona, the city of Goodyear is their new spring training home. the weekend before the start of the 2009 spring training season, Goodyear ballpark was opened to players and fans.

Mindy Aleman
>> we're so excited for you with this fabulous facility. no bugs, no humidity, fabulous weather. I know you're going to have a dynamite season.

Zach Jackson
>> it’s absolutely beautiful. it's great to have the fans out here too. they did a great job, obviously.

David Majure
>> the stadium seats about 10,000 people. it includes six suites on the second floor of the grandstand, and space for large groups on the third floor terrace.

Cliff Lee
>> it's nice. my first time to be here. it's definitely new and clean. I have no complaints.

Grady Sizemore
>> I like it a lot. it's a great fit for us. it's exciting to have a new ballpark and be part of a new city.

David Majure
>> the stadium is important to the team, but it's this 47-acre complex just south of the ballpark that convinced the Indians to move to Arizona. it has six practice fields and just about everything the team needs to help its major and minor league players get in shape, stay in shape, and prepare for baseball.

Mark Shapiro
>> this is with only a few financial limitations, this is our wish list. it's a value engineer wish list.
David Majure
>> Indians general manager says careful planning went into the complex, which will be used by the team all year long. it's an opportunity to gain a competitive edge over clubs in larger markets with far greater economic resources.

Mark Shapiro
>> we're never going to bridge those revenue gaps. we look for incremental opportunities to gain competitive advantages over those teams. this is one such opportunity.

L.A. Dodgers: New Spring Training Home

  |   Video
  • A tour of the new spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, Glendale's Camelback Ranch. Ned Colletti, Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager, talks about moving the team's spring training headquarters from Vero Beach, Florida to Glendale, Arizona.
Guests:
  • Ned Colletti - General Manager,Los Angeles Dodgers


View Transcript
David Majure
>> sight and sounds from the March 1 opening game at Glendale’s Camelback Ranch. before we hear from Dodgers general manager New Colletti about the team's new spring training hope, let's take a brief tour of the complex.

Dodger Player
>> It’s the first time for me in Arizona for spring training, it’s really nice.

David Majure
>> after 60 years of spring training at Dodgertown in Florida, the Los Angeles Dodgers are training in Arizona. that's good news to fans like Lorraine Aguilar from --

Lorraine Aguilar
>> Los Angeles, California. Dodger fan my entire life. my mom's here too with us. never made it out to Florida unfortunately , but when the Dodgers came here, had to come out for opening day of spring training.

David Majure
>> Lorraine was at the front of the line to see her team play its first spring training game at Glendale’s camelback ranch.

Fan
>> let's go, Dodgers!

Lorraine Aguilar
>> for the rest of my life I’ll be coming to spring training, now that they're so close.

David Majure
>> just days before the ballpark opened for business, workers were putting some finishing touches on the stadium.

Construction Worker
>> this is the largest stadium in the cactus league. you see how the architecture blends in with the desert.

David Majure
>> the facility is shared and jointly operated by the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. the stadium has 10,000 seats, plus there's room for another 3,000 people to sit on the lawn. Camelback Ranch cost more than $100 million. the city of Glendale is covering the initial cost, but the city will be repaid with hotel and rental car taxes collected by the Arizona sports and tourism authority. and sales tax revenue generated by a nearby mixed use development. you'll need to spend time outside of the stadium to fully appreciate the 141 acre complex. it includes 12 full practice fields and a lake.

Greg Corns
>> it's a two-acre lake. it separates the White Sox from the Dodgers right down the middle of the complex and connects to the outfield portion of the stadium.

David Majure
>> the lake is used for irrigation and in the future, it may be open for fishing. it adds to the park-like setting where fans can get close to the players free of charge.

Greg Corns
>> that's the other unique thing about Camelback Ranch. if you're not going to a game, you can come out here and just relax, enjoy a b game on one of the replica fields, sit on a hillside, have a soft drink or beer and enjoy yourself.

Joe Torre
>> it’s great, it really is. when it grows in, it's going to be spectacular. the guys have done a great job. I’m certainly looking forward to it when it matures, but right now it's -- it's got about everything could you want, and it's very well laid out.

Ted Simons
>> here now to tell us more about this fabulous facility is Ned Colletti, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. thanks for joining us. it's not Dodgertown, is it Dodgerville?

Ned Colletti
>> well, it will be Dodgertown as time goes on. first I need to say something. I need to thank all the people who worked on this facility. because they had a really short time frame to do a lot of work. and every day I come in here, something is better, something is improved, and the work the men and women did on this facility was phenomenal.

Ted Simons
>> why did the team decide to move to Glendale?

Ned Colletti
>> well, we're based in southern California, being from Los Angeles. and for many years the Dodger fans that live in the southern California part of the country really didn't have an easy time getting to Florida to watch their team play in the spring. plus the games would start at 10:00 a.m. on the radio. I think the dodger fans really missed out a lot on one of the great assets of a team, and being in spring training. I think it was a tough hike to make. you couldn't really fly right into Florida you had to fly and drive another hour or two. so it also helps our franchise, it -- spring training, the teams are closer, there's more proximity. so our team can get more work in, spend more time working on different fundamentals and different team play rather than being on a bus traveling from one place to another. we decided when we framed this place out and thought about moving here, we would make it state of the art and move our hub of player development to this area as well. our minor league development system will be headquartered here, this operation will be probably 12 months a year.



Ted Simons
>> the fans, you mentioned them. when it was originally announced, long-time fans, fans on the east coast, fans everywhere, did you get a lot of blowback on this.

Ned Colletti
>> we got some, because of the historic nature of our old facility. there's no train facility like it. it does take you back. but again, the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn over 50 years ago. and a lot of the fans who had come in to Florida were the fans that had rooted for the team when it was in New York. So a lot of things have happened since then, 50 years have gone by. a lot of different things have happened in that period of time. I think the move out west was in some ways long overdue, and at the same time respectfully came at the right time. and to be this close to Los Angeles, to be able to have fans come through here, take a weekend jaunt right down the highway, I think is great. one hour flight, I think it's going to have a dramatic impact on our fan base and such -- in such a positive way.

Ted Simons
>> the economy the way it is, looking back now, was it a good thing, or maybe not such a good thing to make this move in this kind of recession?

Ned Colletti
>> well, it's a good question. I really haven't thought about that. I think as long as we were able to do it in the right way financially, which I believe we did, I think that it was the right time to do it. you can't always plan what's going to happen and how it's going to unfold when we first started talking about this project, the economy was in a much stronger position than it is today.

Ted Simons
>> as far as Arizona, pitching woo, to get you guys out here, what did Arizona do right and did Florida do anything wrong in not being able to keep the Dodgers?

Ned Colletti
>> Florida did nothing wrong. you can look at a map and you can see where Los Angeles is and where Florida is, and they're really not that close to each other. it was really more proximity to where the majority of our fans are on the west coast. plus the opportunity to have the major league team have a source for player development that's close too. when we would try and do things across country, coast-to-coast, it becomes difficult. when you try to move players around and try to keep players that are rehabbing from injury, and we really couldn't keep tabs on them that well because they're so far away. Florida did nothing wrong. it's just that Los Angeles and California seemed to be a lot closer to Glendale and Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> and when you look around this facility, last question, you see, this absolutely gorgeous property and these buildings, and the stadium. what do you think? you've been in baseball many years. this is spring -- these look like stadiums of old. these are spring training stadiums.

Ned Colletti
>> it is phenomenal. the city of Glendale did a tremendous job with this. when we started to draw the plans out, and we started to dream and you start to put things down on paper and you bring in the people who -- you bring in the trainers to help design the medical site, you bring in the clubhouse people to design the clubhouse. you bring in major league coaches and minor league coaches to help design the layout. and you put it all on paper, then you come here a year plus, two plus years later, and you see it come to life, it is staggeringly great.

Ted Simons
>> very good. Ned, thank you so much for joining us.

VP of MLB Western Operations

  |   Video
  • Laurel Prieb, VP for MLB Western Operations - the man in charge of Major League Baseball's Phoenix office - talks about Arizona as a growing hub for baseball.
Guests:
  • Laurel Prieb - Vice President,Western Operations, Major League Baseball
Keywords: baseball, spring training, cactus league, MLB, major league baseball,

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> Major League Baseball has an increasing presence in Arizona. indeed, several years ago MLB. opened an office in Phoenix. joining me now is a person in charge of that office, Laurel Prieb, major league baseballs vice-president for special projects. thank you so much for joining us. why an office in Phoenix?

Laurel Prieb
>> you know, a few years ago, when i was with the Brewers at the time, I was approached by the president of baseball, and the notion was that we just have too many teams, too far from New York where our main headquarters is. and so Bob indicated at the time, asked me to think about it with the thought of having opening an office out here for baseball, a small office. but a primary function, several functions, but a primary one to work -- make the world smaller, if you will, for all the teams in the west. and so with that, after thinking about it and deciding to jump in to the league side, moved out here. and now fast forward four years, I stay in particularly close touch with the 10 most western teams. so Houston and all points west. and do a lot of things on the business side in particular. making visits to them, holding best practice sessions here in Arizona where the teams come in on various business components of what they do. and it's gone well, and hopefully we're doing some good.

Ted Simons
>> talk about Arizona as a hub for baseball. increasing presence here, it is because of spring training? it is because of the fall league? A little bit of both? why the focus on Arizona?

Laurel Prieb
>> in fact, going back to your previous question, which answers this one, when bob had approached me with the notion of moving to the west, he pretty much opened it up that we could open this office wherever we wanted to do it. so whether it be here, or whether it be southern California, or wherever it would be. but after giving some thought to it, it seemed obvious that the place to have it would be in the valley. the notion being that you have spring training here, so you've got two months that so many teams spend two months of the year here, you've got the fall league, you've got kind of a central hub for all the teams in the west. you've got probably more current and former major league players who reside here than anywhere else in the country. so you put all that together, and it just made sense to open the office here.

Ted Simons
>> we talked about the fall league. let's talk about the future of baseball in Arizona. do you see an additional fall league for the valley?

Laurel Prieb
>> the fall league in its current form has been terrific. and to revisit, the fall league is a two-month league in the fall in which all 30 teams send their best young prospects, a lot of them with double A experience, some have had major league experience, but for further development to where the best can play against the best. and it's been very successful, and the alumni of the fall league is such that on any given fall league season, you can count on probably over 50% of the league being in the major leagues within a year or two thereafter. so it's a great opportunity to see the up and coming talent. to your question about additional fall leagues, there is some consideration of perhaps doing another league at another time when it would start is still subject to speculation. and whether it would be here is also subject to speculation. but to take perhaps a younger class of the best prospects. the regular fall league is more double A and triple A and some major league experience, but perhaps taking that younger class of kids that again are very much blue chippers and put them in their own league, we've had a form of that in Hawaii the last couple three years, and I think there's some consideration to perhaps repositioning that. and whether it be here, which has gotten some internal discussion, or somewhere else, continues to be at play. but if it would occur, and there are compelling reasons I think for something like that to occur, it would that much more add to the momentum up that baseball is established I think in a big way in Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> indeed. and established with that momentum. what is Arizona doing right? I know Florida has a history as well, and I’m not sure if this kind of growth is happening in Florida. maybe it is. but Arizona in particular. what are we doing right to attract this kind of thing?

Laurel Prieb
>> i think you saw with the climate, which is so compelling, particularly in the spring and the fall. it just can't be beat. the weather is just so consistent. and in a game in which you play every day, and you count on consistency, both in your players and the schedule, and if you can get them from the weather, so much better. that certainly helps. yet you have such a great critical mass here of industry, and baseball fans. I think in many ways sometimes it's discounted that this is just a baseball hotbed. people seem to love baseball here, they always have, it's always been a stronghold for baseball. and i think it always will be a stronghold. and the diamondbacks have taken advantage of that in smart ways, and it goes throughout beyond diamondbacks though, filtering down through the college and high schools, throughout youth leagues, and this is a baseball place. and i think that is also picked up by professional baseball as we look at the whole situation, and having more baseball here just is an easy thing to do.

Ted Simons
>> very good. thank you so much for joining us.

Laurel Prieb
>> thanks for having me.

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