After many years, the Cincinnati Reds are leaving their roots behind and moving to Arizona for spring training.
Having grown up in southeastern Indiana, I remember listening to the “Reds on Radio” with Joe Nuxhol, from the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
It was always nice to hear how warm it was in Florida while we were enjoying our last blizzards of the season in the mid west. It gave us hope that spring would be coming soon.
The Reds have been coming to Florida for as long as I can remember, with the last several years being spent in Sarasota, Florida.
I had the opportunity to attend their last game which was played on March 29th, 2008.
There is nothing like a spring training game, it has a personality of it’s own, there is a small town atmosphere that isn’t available at the larger parks.
Ed Smith stadium has a picnic area adjacent to the ball park, where the opportunity is found to enjoy a hot dog, hamburger,and soft drink while meeting folks with ties to the Cincinnati area, Northern Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Many conversations included comments that it just wouldn’t be the same in Arizona, many expressed the opinion that they would not go to Phoenix, many of the fans have winter homes in Florida and it just wouldn’t be practical for them to make the journey to Arizona.
So, while 4,500 loyal fans enjoyed a 8 to 4 victory over the Tampa Devil Rays, and a spring training record attendance of over 90,000, the Reds bid farewell to Florida and headed north to begin the season in Cincinnati, with next year’s spring training slated for “The Valley of the Sun”.