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Reds ready to say goodbye to Florida, move west

The Cincinnati Reds wrap up their Florida spring-training history on April 2 with one final game at Ed Smith Stadium before moving west to Goodyear, Arizona.
The Cincinnati Reds will wrap up their Grapefruit League history this week with a final April 2 game at Ed Smith Stadium before pulling up stakes and moving spring operations to a new complex in Goodyear, Arizona.

For the Reds, their Florida spring-training history began in 1905, when the team trained in Jacksonville. but really launched in earnest in 1923 when the team trained in Orlando. By 1931 the team settled into Tampa as a training area, save a detour to Plant City.

Sarasota is a great spring-training community, but Ed Smith Stadium is not a great facility. The White Sox knew that when the team moved west, and the Reds worked pretty hard to make things work in Sarasota. The team has always been a middling draw at Ed Smith Stadium — the Reds’ hardcore would show up, but that was about it. And give the Reds credit: they worked hard to make an Ed Smith Stadium renovation happen before Sarasota officials pulled the plug on the project. In many ways the Reds were pushed out of Ed Smith Stadium.

So let’s look forward to Spring Training 2010, when the Reds move into a new complex and share Goodyear Ballpark with the Cleveland Indians. Things were a little slower in Goodyear than many anticipated, and let’s hope the move of the Reds brings more life to a lovely ballpark.

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