After a long, fierce and competitive battle of the spring training ballparks, the results are in and it’s official.
Goodyear Ballpark – the spring training home of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, has been voted as best place to see a spring training game in the Cactus League in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Travel Poll.
Overall, Goodyear Ballpark – the crown jewel of the city which has been gaining notice on a national level also finished second nationally among Arizona and Florida spring training ballparks in the poll spearheaded by the newspaper’s longtime baseball writers Bob Nightengale and Paul White.
Goodyear Ballpark, which was completed in 2009 and seats 10,311, also recently was named the top “must see” spring training facility by National Public Radio’s Pittsburgh station’s travel reporter Elaine Labalme who traveled to spring training ballparks in both Arizona and Florida.
“This is quite an honor for Goodyear Ballpark,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said of USA Today’s 10Best poll. “We’re proud to be recognized as the No. 1 ballpark in the Cactus League, and thank the fans for voting us there.”
This year marked the first year of the Best Spring Training Facility category in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Travel Poll, an annual contest in the largest newspaper in the United States. Readers and fans were allowed to vote once a day for a month – from Feb. 24 to March 24.
Goodyear was edged out by Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. – the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Salt River Fields, the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community, finished third.
“They told us we ran a great campaign,” said Debbie Diveney, business-operations supervisor of Goodyear Ballpark. “We tried to have fun with it – we even had fans voting live with us at the games – beginning with Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord’s urging the fans to vote during our opening weekend festivities on Feb. 28 – right up to the very end. It was a valiant effort on our part. Thanks to all the fans who participated. Wait ‘til next year.”