• Tampa Not Fan Friendly

    Posted by on February 28th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    From The Record

    Spring training is supposed to be a time for fans to bond with the players, especially before the preseason games begin. There’s no admission charge to watch the leisurely workouts, and it’s probably a kid’s best chance to score an autograph.

    So why was a security guard speeding along both sides of the field on a motorized scooter Monday, ordering kids to move their feet from the top of the dugout? Wait, it wasn’t just feet that were forbidden. Even the baseball that one toddler was hoping to get signed was ordered moved.

    Why the hassle, we wondered?

    Maybe it was the lousy weather — 72 and cloudless. Maybe the crackdown was ordered by George Steinbrenner, who wasn’t even on the field. Or maybe it was just the badge. Nothing like a guy on a power trip to ruin a fan’s day.

    This is the 3rd report, in the last month or so, where I’ve heard that the Yankees complex in Tampa is not fan friendly – at all. The first two came from individuals who have gone there, and shared how bad it was, and how much better/easier/more fun it was in the Blue Jays and Phillies camps.

    What a shame that it has to be this way in Tampa.

    Comments on Tampa Not Fan Friendly

    1. hopbitters
      February 28th, 2006 | 11:45 am

      We were meaning to catch a workout at Tucson Electric Park (White Sox/Diamondbacks), but things got too busy to slip out. We will be hitting at least three games this month. We’ve been to Hi-Corbett Field (Rockies) a few times and TEP once before. Hi-Corbett isn’t a great facility by itself, but it’s in the middle of a fairly nice park. It’s been quite a few years since I was there and I honestly don’t remember the details. TEP seemed like a pretty fan friendly place the last time when we visited.

    2. Raf
      February 28th, 2006 | 11:50 am

      In all fairness, when I think of “fan friendly” organizations, the Yanks don’t exactly leap to mind. That it would be this way in Tampa wouldn’t suprise me in the least.

    3. DownFromNJ
      February 28th, 2006 | 12:13 pm

      I think a lot of it has to do with sheer size. The Yankees have by far the largest and most popular spring training operation in Florida. It’s like going to a regular game, just with nicer weather and younger players. I haven’t been to another team’s spring training games, but have you seen their facilities? They are very small. Fans can get up close because there are no physical barriers around. It feels like a high school game.

    4. baileywalk
      February 28th, 2006 | 12:44 pm

      There’s plenty of photographic evidence on-line that shows people can get autographs from the players. The story about the security guard just sounds like someone being a ball-buster.

    5. February 28th, 2006 | 12:54 pm

      I dunno, one guy that I spoke to told me that, in Tampa, they have chain link fences that are something like 9 feet high, and it’s a tight space, and you have to toss the ball over the fence and beg for an autograph – whereas in the Phillies camp he got the whole starting line-up on a ball within minutes and with no hassle (like in Tampa)

    6. rbj
      February 28th, 2006 | 2:09 pm

      Yeah, but who’s autographs would you rather have :-).
      It’s almost always a mistake to alienate fans; there are times when the club should say “sorry to be a jerk, but we want the players to be doing drills right now” and other times when you want to spark a sense of “these are our guys, our team”.

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