The new spring home of the Cleveland Indians combines a state-of-the-art training complex with one of the more pleasant ballparks in the Cactus League.
< Previous: Touring the training facility
For a team training in recent years at Winter Haven’s Chain of Lakes Park – complete with cramped and old clubhouse spaces – the difference is dramatic, with inviting coach’s clubhouses, classroom spaces, and lots of room for video operations. Being in baseball these days means video, video and more video: there are multiple TV cameras in the two MLB practice fields as well as other spots in the batting cages. The video system is set up to allow multiple views of the action of the fields, while a separate air-conditioned video room in the batting-cage building allows coaches to provide immediate feedback to players.
The whole point is to create an inviting atmosphere on a year-round basis. Indians players in the area were working out in the training spaces before the start of spring training, and there are reports of younger players looking to live year-round in the area so they can use the facilities in the offseason. According to Miller, the teams plans on sending rehabbing players to Goodyear for treatment: they’ll be able to see game action in the Arizona League while being closely supervised by Indians staff and using state-of-the-art facilities.
It’s a large complex, but appropriately so. Remember, over 200 players and a large contingent of coaches will be there once the minor leaguers report in mid-March, and the daily operations required to manage those players (like two meals a day) requires some serious facilities.
A similar complex is being built next door for the Cincinnati Reds.
Each new spring-training complex advances the state of the art, a phrase we’ve used here often. But it fits. And it’s interesting to see how both the Goodyear complex and the new Dodgers/White Sox training complexes advance the state of the art, albeit in two different directions. (We’ll look at the new Glendale complex in depth on Monday.) Both have one thing in common: they’re designed to be year-round destinations for players and team operations. In that respect the new Goodyear Ballpark and Indians complex work admirably well, and expect Andrew Miller to be very busy during spring training, giving tours to members of other teams looking to upgrade their own spring-training complexes.