Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 25, 2009

Host: Ted Simons

Goodyear Ballpark

  • There’s a new gem in the Arizona Cactus League. Take a tour of the new spring training home of the Cleveland Indians located in Goodyear, Arizona.
Keywords: baseball, goodyear, spring training, cleveland indians,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Good news for baseball fans. The first cactus league spring training games of 2009 were played today. Arizona has two new teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be playing at Glendale’s new Camelback Ranch stadium. But that stadium doesn't host its first game until Sunday. But producer David Majure and photographer Scot Olson did find a game in Goodyear. Here’s a look at the new spring training home of the Cleveland Indians.

David Majure:
In the words of the baseball legend Yogi Berra, it's like déjà vu all over again: spring training in Arizona for the Cleveland Indians and their fans.

Once again, good morning, baseball fans, Goodyear residents, visitors one and all, welcome to beautiful Goodyear Ball Park for spring training 2009.

David Majure:
The team trained from 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.

This is an awesome day! We have a chance to open up a ballpark.

David Majure:
The Goodyear Ball Park is part of a $108 million spring training complex for the Cleveland Indians who next year will be joined by the Cincinnati Reds. About two thirds of the cost will be covered by rental car and hotel taxes collected in Maricopa County and distributed by the Sports and Tourism Authority. The rest of the money comes from the people of Goodyear.

James Cavanaugh:
You’re not only providing one third of the total capital cost, but you’re also providing the entire upfront costs. Until about the mid to latter part of the next decade, Goodyear is bearing this load. So this is your park. You own it. And you're going to use it.

David Majure:
The weekend before the start of the 2009 spring training season, the city opened the stadium to players and fans.

Mindy Aleman:
Go tribe! We're so excited for you at this fabulous facility. No bugs, no humidity, fabulous weather. I know you're going to have a dynamite season. Go Tribe!

Zack Jackson:
It’s absolutely beautiful. It's great to have the fans out here. And 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. From there, you can see the neighboring Goodyear airport and lots of open space ready for commercial development.

Cliff Lee:
It’s nice, it's nice. This is my first time to be here and it's definitely new and clean. Yeah, I have no complaints.

Grady Sizemore:
I like it a lot. It's a great thing for us, it's exciting to have a new ballpark, and be part of a new city.

Mark Shapiro:
That ballpark is important and it’s a showpiece, and it’s very important to the people of this community who funded the project. What's most important to the Cleveland Indians is the development complex.

David Majure:
This 47-acre player development complex just south of the ballpark is why the Indians moved spring training further way from their fans in Ohio.

Mark Shapiro:
We explored every possibility to remain in Florida. That made more geographic sense, it made more sense to our fan base. But in the end, what's most important was that we create a training facility. It was clear that the vision was here with the people of Goodyear and everyone we dealt with out in Arizona and not only the vision, but a clear strategy and plan to make it an actuality.

David Majure:
The Cleveland Indians’ Andrew Miller showed us around the training center. It includes six practice fields. Four of them are for city use outside of spring training.

Andrew Miller:
We’re standing on the scout tower. Our scouts and coaches will stand up her and watch both fields one and two.

David Majure:
Coaches aren’t the only ones watching. High definition cameras record the action. They are robotically controlled in a video room where players can come to view their pitching or batting mechanics. More gadgets are out in the batting cages.

Andrew Miller:
Pretty much anything you can think of, this thing can throw. This should be a curve ball. There it was.

David Majure:
Video pitch machines throw a variety of pitches, and again, cameras can capture it all.

Andrew Miller:
Hitting coaches can literally take a guy out of the cage and into the video room and break down, frame by frame, every swing.

David Majure:
A 4,000 square foot weight room helps players stay in shape.

Andrew Miller:
It allows our minor leaguers and our major leaguers to work directly with our strength coaches throughout the year as well as in spring training.

David Majure:
And here in the major league training room, athletic trainers help players prevent and care for injuries. Right next door is a hydrotherapy room that features an underwater treadmill.

Andrew Miller:
The platform raises up to ground level, so a rehabbing player can walk out on the platform and they lower him into the water and do running or swimming exercises.

David Majure:
Throughout the building are reminders of the Indians' proud history. There are two locker rooms for minor leaguers players.

Andrew Miller:
We have 120 lockers over in the other minor league locker room, and 76 in this room.

David Majure:
The major league clubhouse is a little bit nicer; something for minor leaguers to aspire to. It has 60 lockers, and the elliptical shape is meant to maximize space, eliminate corners, and encourage team unity.

Mark Shapiro:
With only a few financial limitations, this is our wish list. It's a value engineered wish list.

David Majure:
Shapiro says careful planning went into the complex. After all, it's a rare opportunity to gain a competitive advantage to over clubs in larger markets with far greater economic resources.

Mark Shapiro:
We’re never going to bridge those revenue gaps, so we look for incremental opportunities to gain competitive advantages over those teams. This is one such opportunity.

David Majure:
It’s an opportunity to train better and more efficiently, since spring training stadiums are closer together than in Florida.

Mark Shapiro:
We’re not going to spend anywhere between two and three hours on the road every day. We're going to be training and getting our players off the bus and onto the field. That’s what this is about.

Mark Shapiro:
The bottom line is, it means a lot of tourism dollars and at a time when we obviously really need it.

David Majure:
It’s a partnership, expected to produce benefits for both the city of Goodyear and the Cleveland Indians.

Mark Shapiro:
And we look forward you watching us sow the seeds of a championship here in Goodyear, Arizona. Thank you very much.

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