Gloomy Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. — Let me candidly report on a bit of personal misery that was involved at the outset of this year’s spring training trip: 1) Wakeup at 5:30 a.m. to find no hot water in my entire apartment; 2) Getting “the wand” from a little-too-eager attendant in airport security at BWI; 3) Forgetting the paperwork for the car rental agency; 4) Dropping a chicken wing in my lap — creating a nasty grease stain; 4) Arriving in Tampa to find an ugly bit of rain and fog.

Yet, Dispatch photographer Bill Kalina and I have made it to our hotel room — finally. And I’m ready to fill your need for around-the-clock reports on the York Revolution from Lakeland.

The players and coaching staff will not arrive until Monday evening, but until then we still have plenty to discuss here — like the future of the Revs’ spring training location.

There appears to be at least some consideration in moving York’s spring camp to a local location next season. The move would make sense for a number of reasons: 1) The fans would get a chance to see/meet the players prior to the season; 2) Travel costs would be cut considerably; 3) The new players would grow acclimated to the York area a little quicker.

I’m planning on investigating this possibility this week and I’m hoping to get a wide range of opinions from players, coaches and league executives on the matter. In my eyes, now that the Somerset Patriots have opted to skip the Lakeland trip, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the league follows suit.

Of course, the Lakeland/Atlantic League connection comes via executive director Joe Klein. He was formerly general manager of the Detroit Tigers — Lakeland is home to the Tigers’ Class-A franchise — and it will be interesting to see what his thoughts are on going in another direction. I’ve also talked to a couple of players in the past who said the spring training trip to Lakeland is not a huge deal considering it’s only 10 days long and players usually need much longer to work themselves into shape.

This week, the Revs will train on four minor league fields that are part of the TigerTown Complex/Joker Marchant Stadium here. The club will hold workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday and will start scrimmages on Thursday. Last season, York played five exhibitions and went 5-0, and I’m told we can expect a similar schedule this year. Lastly, the players and coaching staff will likely leave Lakeland a week from Tuesday to travel north.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m glad to hear you guys made it safely (if not comfortably) to Tampa.

    In theory, if a fan wanted to make the trip to Lakeland, would they be able to watch the workouts and exhibition games?

  2. I almost forgot. I also had to run through a toll booth because we didn’t have the exact 50 cents needed to pay the toll. That gives you an idea for how the first 12 hours of this trip went.

    To answer your question, if you were willing to make the trip to Lakeland, you’d have access to the fields and players you wouldn’t find anywhere else. There are usually a few autograph seekers every day, and they usually have no problem going right up to the players.

    Last year, the few fans on the first base line held a running conversation with catcher Russ Cleveland after he made an out. It was pretty cool. And the best part is I don’t think you have to pay to get on the facility. We were just there a little earlier and there was no security to be found.

  3. Jeff,
    Glad to have you down there getting us this info and news. You can almost smell the new season in the air and I bought my tickets for the home opener the other day! Keep up the great work, it is much appreciated.

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