Sunday, March 16, 2014

Arizona's Secret Weapon in Spring Training Wars: Sleep

This week, The Detroit News looked at the Tigers' increasing spring training travel headaches as more and more teams move (or threaten to move) out of Central Florida.  The person apparently most worried...was the Braves' GM:
“The exodus from central Florida over the last 10 years is worrisome, to say the least,” said Frank Wren, the Braves general manager whose team trains and plays its Grapefruit League games at Disney World, outside of Orlando. “There’s less competition close by for both our (big-league) and our minor-league teams in the spring.

“We have lost Cleveland, Kansas City, and the Dodgers from the coast, and if Houston leaves (Kissimmee) — with the potential for Washington to leave, as well — it will be more difficult for us all.”
But wait! The Tigers' GM didn't get the "Scare Florida" memo!
“Although spring training travel of more than an hour or so is not ideal, it is manageable,” Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers president and general manager, said via e-mail. “We can still prepare our players for the season in a proper fashion between our home games and the days they stay back from travel.

“You do not want too many long travel days of two hours or more. Those days are a little tougher. But, with Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa, Dunedin, Clearwater, Bradenton, and Sarasota, we still have many places that are an hour-to-hour-and-15-minutes away.

“Also, an overnight stay in the spring (consecutive games are often played in Jupiter) does not bother us as it can break up the daily routine with a welcome change.”
The single-biggest reason MLB teams have relocated their spring homes to Arizona is because they got huge public subsidies; not because the travel times are such a big deal.

BUT, that's not to say the closer clustering of teams in the Cactus League isn't a big deal!
“One benefit to Arizona,” {Brad} Ausmus said, with a soft chuckle, “is that you maybe get an extra 45 minutes to an hour of sleep. But that’s not a game-changer.”

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