Spring Training Trip Giveaway brings another Ohio family to Goodyear
A family from a city in the heart of Cincinnati Reds country - Lebanon, Ohio - couldn't believe it when they heard the news: They were the lucky winners of a four-day, three-night trip to Goodyear, Arizona that allowed four of the six family members to take in the sunshine, swim and catch some spring training games featuring their hometown team – the Cincinnati Reds.
Don and Amy Land and two of their four sons – Jaron, 14, and Ryan, 9, who arrived in Goodyear on Sunday, March 29, were in town to enjoy the great opportunity that included seeing the Reds up-close and personal during a practice at the spring training complex, snag a few autographs and foul balls and walk out onto the field before Wednesday’s (April 1) game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Lands were among 1,900 entrants in the drawing for “The Get to Goodyear Spring Training Getaway,” a drawing sponsored by Goodyear Ballpark at the annual Reds Fest at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center the weekend of Dec. 5-6.
The Lands, who are staunch Reds fans and have a partial season ticket package at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, were attending RedsFest for the third time, and when Amy Land entered the contest, it proved to be the charm. The four-day, three-night getaway included free airfare, car rental and hotel stay.
It was the Lands’ first trip to spring training.
“I was shocked,” said Amy, who teaches kindergarten at Wyandot Early Childhood School in the Lakota School District about winning the trip. “I almost didn’t answer the phone when I saw it was from Arizona. When they told us we won a trip to spring training. It is pretty amazing. It’s kind of surreal. I’ve always known about spring training, but we’ve never gone.”
“I was pumping gas,” said Don, who works as an IT specialist for Cincinnati’s Northwest Local Unified School District. “When I got back in the car, Amy said, ‘you won’t believe this.’ I had to check the ballpark’s website to see if it was real. Then, it was like, ‘Oh Wow.’
“It’s pretty amazing, without a doubt,” Don added, who grew up watching Reds greats Pete Rose and Johnny Bench. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The baseball facility here is just beautiful.”
All wearing Cincinnati Reds T-shirts on Wednesday, the day was quite the contrast to “back home” where Lebanon’s temperature was 25 degrees less than Goodyear’s 89. When the Lands left home last Sunday, it was 22 degrees.
Although the Lands’ other two sons, Tyler, 14 (Jaron’s twin) and Carter, 8, stayed back home spending time in northern Kentucky with their grandmother, the trip just wasn’t all about Jaron, an eighth grader at Lebanon Junior High, and Ryan, a third grader at Donovan Elementary.
At their hotel, Jaron was able to get the autographs of Cleveland Indians star infielder Carlos Santana and top prospect Francisco Lindor on a baseball for a friend who is a big Indians fan. Jaron said he liked going to the different ballparks and sitting behind the dugout at the Reds games.
Ryan said he got about 16 autographs from Reds players including second baseman Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Zach Cozart.
Overall, the Lands attended five spring training games including the Reds and Los Angeles Angels game at Tempe Diablo Stadium and the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies game at Talking Stick in Scottsdale on Monday.
The Lands returned home on Friday, April 3.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” Don said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’d like to come back someday. I think I will.”