2010 will be the last year for MLB Spring Training -- Cactus League -- in Tucson. All 15 teams will be playing spring ball in the greater Phoenix area beginning in 2011.
Tucson's Hi Corbett Field was built in 1937, originally for minor league baseball. But in 1945, the Cleveland Indians called it Spring Training home. They did so until 1992 -- nearly 50 years. In 1993, the Colorado Rockies took over as they made their way as an MLB franchise.
Tucson's other baseball stadium and training ground, Tucson Electric Park, has been Spring Training home since 1998 for the Chicago White Sox (who left for the Phoenix area after the 2008 season) and for the Arizona Diamondbacks (who will leave for Scottsdale next year).
Both complexes are more than adequate for Spring Training. The problem is that it is 2-2.5 hours south of Phoenix. Today's pro ball players have no interest in ridding in a bus for 4-5 hours round trip. The cities in the Phoenix area have contributed large sums of money for the 30-day Spring Training period. The deals are too good for the club owners not to take them up on their offers.
I made a point of visiting both ball parks this year to see MLB Spring Training. Nice parks, including a little bit of nostalgia in Hi Corbett.
Hi Corbett will be used by the Tucson Toros, a member of the Golden Baseball League. TEP will be used for who-knows-what. The latter one carries some political baggage as it was funded by taxpayers and the revenue from the stadium will all but disappear in April 2010.
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