Since the Reds moved their spring training to Goodyear, Arizona in 2010, I’ve always felt the team was disconnected from the fan base during those six weeks.
We get excited with Redsfest and the caravan. We eagerly anticipate pitchers and catchers reporting. But once the players arrive in Goodyear, it feels like they are a world away.
Goodyear is over 1,800 miles away and a 27 hour drive from Cincinnati. Their previous spring training home, Sarasota, was over 900 miles away and almost 15 hours from Cincinnati.
Add in the time difference and things just feel too distant, to me. Sure, we get Cactus League games on either 700 WLW or Fox Sports 1360.
Yes, a couple of games are television and the beat writers are on the scene, and local TV visits for a few days to get month long material, but I want more access.
I have an idea, that I’ve floated before, that would help bring spring training closer to Cincinnati.
The Reds spring training complex has cameras everywhere. I mean everywhere.
They record and track every moment of the spring. From bullpen sessions to fielding drills, batting practice and games.
Five years ago, when I visited Goodyear with Casey, then GM Dick Williams gave us a tour of the complex. We saw the command center for all the cameras. Think room with a giant wall of maybe 15-20 video screens.
What if the Reds made some of those cameras live and allowed fans to view them on-line on a daily basis? I’d call it: Cactus Cam
Fans could go to Reds.com and click on viewing options:
- Bullpen sessions
- Fielding drills
- Batting practice
- Intrasquad games. Etc
- Home Cactus League games
The cameras would be live for a predetermined amount of time each day, based on that day's schedule.
These would be static camera shots. No movement. No zoom. Just one view.
I’d love to include live audio. Nothing beats the crack of the bat and pop of the mitt. But I don’t want to infringe on the privacy of the players and coach conversations.
This would simply be a chance for fans to check in on what’s happening and get a feel for spring training.
I thought about perhaps charging fans a one-time fee to view for the six weeks of spring training, with proceeds going to the Reds Community Fund. But I think it would be a nice gesture by the organization.
If most fans can’t get to spring training, why not bring spring training to Reds fans?
Just another idea. What do you think?