Baseball season focus of travel investigation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 21, 2010

It is field research time again. You know it is the grunt work that means boots on the round and plenty of data collection.

This means that I’m on the road again hitting the airways, roadways and hopefully the fairways of the desert southwest.

To the uninformed it may seem like fun and games mission but it is actually a good day’s work packaged around tee times, hotel lobbies, restaurant menus, sightseeing venues and baseball diamonds.

Email newsletter signup

It may seem like vacation but I’m hard at work researching a future destination for all of you Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians baseball fans.

There will be long hours, no pay but the trade off is spring training baseball, green grass, palm trees and plenty of authentic Mexican food. Another benefit is the sunshine and warm temperatures of Phoenix aka “the Valley of the Sun.”

The role that I am performing is an unknown travel industry position one of an advance scout. It is similar to the same job in major league, college and high school sports.

My mission is to conduct a thorough in-depth reconnaissance of the area of operations then report this intelligence back to you my faithful travelers.

Basically I will sort through this research like you would do like the pieces of a puzzle, then craft a group itinerary to the area.

This is still a relative unknown area for me.

The Indians left Tucson in 1992 and just returned to Goodyear Arizona last year.

2010 marks the first spring that the Reds are training out west so I’m sure there is a large fan base not familiar with the greater Phoenix area. Upon my return back east I’ll fill you in on my discoveries.

The Indians and Reds are sharing a training complex which I view as a very convenient feature for Ohio baseball fans.

Unlike Florida’s Grapefruit League spring training baseball that is spread all over both coasts and the interior of the southern portion of the state most of the Cactus League is clustered around Phoenix.

This geography means shorter drive times between stadiums, later tee times and earlier dinner reservations.

No more three hours drives from Winter Haven, Fla. to Ft. Lauderdale. Driving 45 minutes from Glendale to Surprise works much better for me.

One early identifiable drawback to this new desert location is the lack of time share condominiums in this area.

Central Florida is home to what seems like a million plus interval ownership rooms which meant I could easily exchange my time share week.

However there are only 16 properties that I have exchange rates within the Greater Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Strike three and time for plan “B”.

My alternate lodging plan is try to secure a stay from some of the new companies that are reserving condominium properties like hotel rooms.

Another option that I’ve heard plenty of good things about but never had the reason to use is Craigslist (

They offer plenty of local goods and services so I’m going to investigate the local lodging offerings.

My wheelman in Florida who is a local is not making the western trip so it is time to rent a vehicle.

Pricing this option has been interesting so I’m breaking with tradition and renting from

Their quotes are about 50 percent less than I’m finding from my traditional resources so I’m thinking why not give it a shot.

It’s time to power down the laptop and head out for some applied research, Next week I share my work with you.

Play ball!