I’m leaving today for Goodyear, flying from Cincinnati to Phoenix via Minneapolis. It’ll be my first time back in Arizona for spring training since 2010, the Reds maiden year in the Cactus League. 2010 turned out to be a pretty good season for the Reds.

Sept. 28, 2010

That January, the club had signed a lanky Cuban pitcher who would debut in spring training. I was afflicted with early-onset Chapmania and was anxious to see him. Chapman’s third appearance that spring, the first one I saw, was on St. Patrick’s Day, explaining the green baseball cap. Chapman started (imagine that), pitching 3 innings against Milwaukee, striking out five Brewers.

View from the bullpen – ground zero of Chapmania

Jeff Brantley was sitting behind home plate during Chapman’s start and would stand up to signal every time one of Chapman’s pitches reached 100 mph on the radar gun.

Another newcomer that summer was rookie Mike Leake.

Leakemania not nearly as contagious

And also, 23-year-old Homer Bailey.

Three elbow surgeries ago

The Reds manager that spring, of course, was Dusty Baker. This turned out to be one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I promise the photobomb by the backstop sign was pure coincidence.

Submitted without comment

Back to this spring – I’ll be at the Reds games both home and away starting tomorrow with the St. Patrick’s Day game against Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark. I’m also planning to visit minor league games when I get a chance. I’ll be in Phoenix until Monday, Mar. 27.

My intention is to share baseball-related observations and photography at Redleg Nation daily. I’ll also be posting thoughts and pictures on my Twitter feed @spmancuso.

Leave a comment below if there’s anything in particular you want me to look for.

Scoreboard at Goodyear Ballpark

12 Responses

  1. Steve

    Steve, have a great trip out to Goodyear and surrounding areas. For me, with the Reds, the battle for the starting rotation and bench spots. For the minor league players, which players are performing well in the games that you’re able to watch. Looking forward to you keeping the readers updated with some stats and your personal views as well as some great photos. Hope you can enjoy some good baseball and weather! Have fun!

  2. Why oh Why

    I’ll be out there as well for SS game next Sunday. Can’t wait to see the ballpark. Also attending SS game in Vegas the day before

  3. Nate

    Would love to read about which prospects passes (or fails) your eye test. Have a great trip!

  4. DaytonRedLeg

    I want to hear your opinions on the area food options! Looking at taking the kids out there in the next year or two for some Cactus League action. Second to watching the Reds play are the restaurants.

  5. cfd3000

    Definitely jealous Steve. Enjoy the sun, the energy, and baseball in a slightly purer form. ALL Reds feedback is welcome and I know you’ll feed us plenty. Have a great trip!

  6. JB WV

    The Goodyear blimp announced its retirement today. Coincidence?

  7. Chuck_in_VA

    Have a great time, Steve, and I’ll look forward to reading your insight. I saw parts of the games on Mon, Tues, & Wed this week, but am leaving Arizona later today.

    I was blessed to see several games during the Reds’ last spring training in Florida. There was so much excitement watching a young crop of players that would form the nucleus of a very competitive team a few years later. It may just be my hopes and excitement, but this spring I feel some of the same vibes. I loved the enthusiasm of about 15 players lined up standing at the front of the dugout for a long stretch during Wednesday’s game against the Padres. I love seeing what some of the prospects can do when given a chance

  8. Darrel Schick

    I love Spring Training. I’ve been a half dozen times – but none in Arizona. I still can’t believe the Reds decided to move out there. I suppose they made the move to make it easier for Reds fans to watch them every year. No…wait…it can’t be that because it’s a lot further out there than Florida. Must be some other reason. Oh yeah – $$$.
    I miss Sarasota.

    • TR

      Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota was called ‘The Old Ed.’ The Reds wanted an upgrade but it was voted down. The Orioles use it now.

  9. Darrel Schick

    Yeah – me and my 3 sons went to Sarasota a couple of years ago and watched the O’s play. Ed Smith looked quite a bit better. Too bad Sarasota wasn’t willing to fix things up for the Redlegs.