Sun sets on spring training in Tucson

Tucson Electric Park, the White Sox’s spring training home of 10 years, hosted presumably its final spring training game on Tuesday.  Spring baseball left the city for good on Wednesday after the Diamondbacks-Rockies game at Hi Corbett.
I know I’ve been beating this drum plenty — and it’s probably a dead horse for those of you who have no attachment to Tucson or spring training — but I don’t know if there was a better spectator experience for Sox fans, and it’s sad to see that officially die.
Greg Hansen at the Arizona Daily Star captures it well.  I recommend reading the whole thing, but here’s a key Sox-centric snippet:

In 1988, the White Sox cajoled the people of Sarasota, Fla., to spend $8 million to re-do their spring training ballpark. The Tampa Tribune referred to it as “the Cadillac of spring training facilities.”
Ten years later, Tucson built a better ballpark, and the White Sox vacated that Cadillac for a new and shiny model on Ajo Way.
It’s the oldest dodge in baseball: If you build it, they will come.
Or go.

Hansen followed up with one closing the book on Hi Corbett.  What a shame.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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striker

If the tax payers (our councilmen rather) were smart they would lock the teams into some sort of committment. And if they leave then the city should find a way to profit from it.

larry

they do. the contracts aren’t for forever.

conor

The Phoenix area is like a sprawling, undeserving, spoiled rich kid who gets anything and everything it wants. Phoenix needs its ass kicked. Man, I hate that place.

ricksch

I suppose I should say something about Tucson baseball cause I lived there for about four years and saw the Sox more than I could stomach during spring training at Tucson Electric Park and Hi Corbett Field. Tucson baseball was a relaxed and genuine spring training experience and the price of the best ticket was $15.
Tucson is a great small city with a unique character. The Phoenix Area is a sprawl of huge, concrete freeways. Spring baseball was a nice thing for the city of Tucson and brought in lots of revenue, much more than all the other events they host through the high season. Less money for Tucson hotels, restaurants and leisure activities aren’t a concern of the White Sox.
For the players it seemed Tucson was a bit of a hassel. They had to bus it back and forth from Phx to Tuc — about 2 hours. Buerhle claimed there weren’t enough malls??? Tucson is probably a more, subtle and acquired taste, but there remain a vital essence to the city while Phoenix is a place of excessive heat, concrete and sprawls of condominium developments surrounded by crappy chain restaurants like Outback and Macaroni Grill.
It’s too bad something couldn’t be worked out for Tucson to save spring training for them. They may be doing something with Japanese baseball.

bigfun

wow:

if only the Sox had kept him and signed Tony Pena Jr. – along with Santos they could have made an awesome bullpen