The folks running the new Goodyear and Glendale spring-training complexes want a shot at running MLB’s winter league, currently ensconced in Hawaii.
MLB is looking at shifting winter-league operations to the mainland after its deal with the Hawaii Winter Baseball League ended in December. And the folks running the new Goodyear and Glendale spring-training complexes want a shot at hosting games.
Winter baseball is hard if you’re not talking about the Dominican Republic or the Caribbean: no big names are present as MLB teams send developmental players to participate. The Hawaii Winter Baseball League tried to get around this by working to bring in Japanese and Korean players, but in the end that didn’t work to attract fans. (The loss of Aloha Stadium didn’t help, either.) Plus, to be blunt, no one really cares about baseball out of season: the lack of fans attending Arizona Fall League games, which do spotlight legitimate stars in the making, don’t attract much in terms of fan support.
Still, if you’re running the new Goodyear and Glendale spring-training complexes, you want a shot at running a winter league — it’s a way to bring in some extra income. And if you’re MLB, you want a chance to reduce costs (word of budget freezes at MLB is all we heard about last week) by centralizing fall/winter operations in Arizona.