WHERE'S GERALDO WHEN YOU NEED HIM! NOW, IT CAN BE TOLD! EXCLUSIVE:
TOP SPRING TRAINING SITES REVEALED, 1-26!
"I am not a big fan of ‘grades,’ ‘rankings’ or ‘ratings’
because each experience is so unique for each fan. But I’m asked so often, 'Joe, What are the best Spring Training sites?’ - I’ve
been leaving the masses hanging for too long! So, without further adieu, here’s a shameless attempt at giving the annual
‘People’s 50 Most Sexiest’ or that infamous ‘Worst Dressed List’ a run for their rankings."
- Joe Connor, San Diego, Calif. USA, at this moment writing a list on why people are so consumed by lists!
ABOUT THIS UTTERLY SHAMELESS LIST:
The shameless list below is based on Joe’s experience and personal opinion,
leaning heavily on fan atmosphere (intimacy and accessibility), and less on a team’s talent pool or Spring Training
location (small or large city, Arizona or Florida). Simply: the main "sex appeal" of each Spring Training complex is noted.
Complete details on each site is included in A Fan’s Guide To The Ultimate Spring Training Experience available
for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page.
Also, the first reference below is the complex, followed by the actual ballpark where
Cactus (Arizona) and Grapefruit (Florida) games are played. Note the training complex for some clubs is not adjacent
to the ballpark. Descriptions below refer to the ballparks. Lastly, for the record, although there are 30 major league teams,
there are just 26 Spring Training complexes, with eight clubs sharing a site with another.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT PEOPLE MAGAZINE! JOE’S TOP SPRING TRAINING
BALLPARKS FOR 2003 - WITH SOME SEX APPEAL! YEAH, BABY!
1. Dodgertown (Holman Stadium) in Vero Beach, Florida, home of the Dodgers
Sex appeal: No dugouts. That’s right, NO DUGOUTS.
2. Surprise Recreation Campus (Surprise Stadium) in Surprise, Arizona, home
of the Rangers and Royals
Sex appeal: You want intimacy? The batting cages are on the same main concourse as
seating and concessions - grab a few snacks while A-Rod takes his hacks.
3. Fitch Park Complex (HoHoKam Park at Dwight Patterson Field) in Mesa, Arizona,
home of the Cubs
Sex appeal: Sammy's famous home-run two-step, Cactus style, and the devoted
and jovial Cubs fans, who always keep the place live and jumping.
4. Carpenter Complex (Jack Russell Stadium) in Clearwater, Florida, home
of the Phillies
Sex appeal: Wilbur Snapp at the organ and Bowa throwing an early tantrum.
5. Giants Complex (Scottsdale Stadium) in Scottsdale, Arizona
Sex appeal: Fan atmosphere - and the variety of characters in attendance, from
young, plastic surgery cuties to old-timers.
6. Tigertown (Joker Marchant Stadium) in Lakeland, Florida, home of the Tigers
Sex appeal: The history, plus the production and promotion crew, serving up
everything from Axel F. to the Chicken.
7. Red Sox Complex (City of Palms Park) in Fort Myers, Florida
Sex appeal: World Series-deprived Sox fans, who clap their hands in unison to start
a rally - in the first inning!
8. Yankees Complex (Legends Field) in Tampa, Florida, home of the Yankees
Sex appeal: Quasi Yankee Stadium South, from "mini" Monument Park to Sinatra and
a Steinbrenner sighting.
9. Raymond Naimoli Complex (Florida Power Park at Al Lang Field) in Saint
Sex appeal: Bayfront views and some stellar history, too - the Babe, Mick and
Gehrig played on this site, junior.
10. Pirate City (McKechnie Field) in Bradenton, Florida, home of the Pirates
Sex appeal: Hear and enjoy those colorful, missin'-a-few-teeth Floridiots
rev their motorcycles at this most urban - and quaint - of pads. Really.
11. Indians Complex (Chain O’Lakes Park) in Winter Haven, Florida
Sex appeal: Nothing like orange blossom aroma in the air and a Bob Feller sighting
at this old time yard.
12. Pima County Kino Sports Complex (Tucson Electric Park) in Tucson, home
of the Diamondbacks and White Sox
Sex appeal: Eccentric, Old Pueblo-vendors and sweet views of the breathtaking Catalina
13. Cardinals and Marlins Complex (Roger Dean Stadium) in Jupiter, Florida
Sex appeal: "Children’s Only" area down the lines that results in the
little ones bugging the hell out of relief pitchers.
14. Peoria Sports Complex (Peoria Stadium) in Peoria, Arizona, home of the
Mariners and Padres
Sex appeal: Fan atmosphere in the West Valley 'burbs, especially for M’s games,
in a fun, comfortable and modern setting.
15. Lee County Sports Complex (Hammond Stadium) in Fort Myers, Florida, home
of the Twins
Sex appeal: Towering fountains in the main plaza, and the quirky lawn job performed
by the infield tractor boy.
16. Sarasota Sports Complex (Ed Smith Stadium) in Sarasota, Florida, home
of the Reds
Sex appeal: If it isn’t iffey, it’s Griffey - red-colored shirts
on many a fan create an ambience of Cornhusker Country.
17. Papago Park Baseball Complex (Phoenix Municipal Stadium) in Phoenix,
Arizona, home of the Athletics
Sex appeal: Too simple interior design, not too simple exterior beauty - beneath
the shadows of mysterious Papago Park’s rock formations.
18. Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida, home
of the Braves
Sex appeal: The Tomahawk Chop and Mickey and Minnie find common ground at The Happiest
Corporate Ballpark On Earth.
19. Angels Complex (Tempe Diablo Stadium) in Tempe, Arizona, home of the
Sex appeal: Playing outfield catch with your kid below a big butte, plus a birds
eye view of a freeway! Yippie!
20. Brewers Complex (Maryvale Ballpark) in Phoenix, Arizona
Sex appeal: Plenty of good seats available for you, your little one - and Mr.
Baseball to admire this architectural anomaly.
21. Astros Complex (Osceola County Stadium) in Kissimmee, Florida
Sex appeal: New seats (ones that actually won’t hurt your tush) to see Bags,
Biggio and Car Wash Boy.
22. Saint Lucie County Sports Complex (Thomas J. White Stadium) in Port Saint
Lucie, Florida, home of the Mets
Sex appeal: 11-time recipient of the Antiseptic Concrete Jungle Award presented by
the U.S. Cinder Block Association. And there’s no planes overhead, either!
23. Orioles Complex (Fort Lauderdale Stadium) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Sex appeal: You can tell your friends back home you visited the same dump the Yankees
exited in 1993.
24. Cecil Englebert Complex (Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field) in Dunedin,
Florida, home of the Blue Jays
Sex appeal: The state bird is the mosquito - you will get to know it well inside
the frying pan.
25. Randolph Park (Hi-Corbett Field) in Tucson, Arizona, home of the Rockies
Sex appeal: Can at least tell friends back home you witnessed a game where
Willie Mays Hayes slept one night.
26. Carl Barger Complex (Space Coast Stadium) in Viera/Melbourne, Florida,
home of the Expos
Sex appeal: Nothing like sitting in traffic along a narrow one-lane road waiting
to park while fat happy cows meander by.