8 Biggest Observations Visiting Guardians Spring Training in Goodyear

"Pitchers and Catchers Report" are possibly the best four words in sports. Here's a few things that happen only during spring training.

Feb. 24, 2024; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez smiles as he
Feb. 24, 2024; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez smiles as he /
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6. Middle Infield Standout

One guy who impressed me every time I saw him was Angel Martinez, who made an outstanding throw from deep short on Tuesday and made hard contact every time I saw him hit. It's hard to say where Martinez ranks on the hierarchy of middle infielders in this organization, but he certainly looked like he could help someone soon.

7. Shattered Dreams

For every Martinez or DeLauter, there are a dozen stories like Juan Zapata every spring.

Zapata came on to pitch the ninth inning Wednesday, and got rocked for four runs on six hits, none of which was a blooper. He came on Saturday in a similar situation and got rocked again. So in 1.2 innings, Zapata gave up 10 hits and eight runs. Zapata is 25, has made two career appearances in Triple-A, and isn't on the 40-man roster. After today it's hard to imagine he ever will be.

8. Guardians Hurting the Fan Experience

This is my fourth trip to spring training, and every time it seems like there is less access to the players.

There are two major league fields and four minor league fields, and players move from field to field depending on which drill they are participating in. Fans used to crowd the walkways between the fields so they could get autographs or just say hi to players, but that area got fenced off a few years ago. Now the outfield fences for the fields are covered with plastic, so fans can't even watch practice from anyplace except a small set of bleachers in a "fan access area."

The net result is fewer fans at the training facility, which translates into fewer fans at the games. The ballpark was less than half full on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and probably half the fans both days were cheering for the other team.

The Guardians are totally within their rights to set their facility up however they think is best, and I'll confess that I don't know how other teams are doing this. But I went for a hike on Thursday because hanging out at the facility just isn't as much fun as it used to be.

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