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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good-bye Sarasota

The Reds will begin looking a new spring home tomorrow. The referendum for the final piece of funding to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium was voted down. The Sarasota Herald Tribune had it a 4,431 against, 4,206 for.

"The citizens have spoken," Reds COO John Allen said.

That means the Reds' time in Sarasota will come to an end over the next couple of years.

“We’ve been very consistent with our message,” Allen said. “We wanted to stay in Sarasota. When other cities and Arizona approached us, that’s what told them.”

Tomorrow, there will be a new message.

“We’ll start process (of looking for a new site) immediately,” Allen said.
The Reds lease on Ed Smith runs out in October of 2008. But the club has three one-year options to renew.

Allen said there is no way the Reds will stay in the existing Ed Smith complex long-term.


at 10:21 PM Blogger Dan H said...

John, Did Allen mention if they prefer Florida over Arizona and do they want a new complex or settle for taking over an existing complex (Vero Beach,etc)?

at 10:49 PM Blogger John Fay said...

My guess is they stay in Florida, if possible. But they've got time to listen to offers.

at 11:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad that sports teams feel the need to hold local cities hostage for what amounts to welfare for millionaires.

at 11:03 PM Blogger Pat said...

The white sox said they will move up to goodyear, az to share a home with the Indians. Or, it might be the Dodgers in Glendale. In order to do that the sox have to find a replacement for Tucson. They currently share a home with the Rockies. The Reds would be a good fit to move to Tucson. It would be awesome if they could share a home with the Indians.

at 11:34 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

Did John Allen really say that the citizens "have spoke"?

I feel (a tiny bit) bad for John Allen. Since they took baseball operations out of his purview, the only time he's quoted is in situations like this one, where doing his job makes him come off like a manipulative, condescending jerk.

at 12:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think they'll go back to Plant City?

at 6:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will become a choice between the fans and the municiple handouts.

Arizona communities will throw BIGGGGG $$$$$ on the table to bring more teams to the desert.

The money might help Castelini buy a pitcher or two, but it will seriously cut into the fan support the Reds have had in Florida over the years.

Many of the locals who make the trek down south every March (by car) will be unable to get to Arizona.

Vero Beach sounds good. Maybe the voters there will approve a levy to fix up Dodgertown, and buy a lot of red paint.

at 7:58 AM Blogger Seth M. said...

this is very sad...my family loved travelling to sarasota every year. we will miss it. we won't miss the traffic on I-75 around tampa though, you can guarantee that.

at 8:37 AM Anonymous MONEY MIKE said...

Ft. Myers is a good option. Although the Red Sox play there the surrounding counties of Ft. Myers are very wealthy and appear to love their baseball so funding wouldnt appear to be a hinderance to them. I am not sure where the Reds will go, but I personally didnt like their place in Sarasota. They should follow suit and get a great place like the Lee County Sports Complex.

at 8:51 AM Blogger Hey Barry Larkin! said...

"The citizens have spoken" doesn't make him look like a condescending jerk. That's just what happened. Just like the citizens spoke when they voted down the jail tax and the CPS levy. That's what voting is all about. Too bad though.

at 9:32 AM Anonymous Brad said...

I'm a Cincy transplant living in Sarasota. I'm actually surprised this was a close vote. Chalk this up to bad timing more than anything else. The local folks down here are really upset about property taxes and insurance rates going up drastically in the past few years. Most who vote in off election years don't work (retired) and don't care much about the boon this brings to their economy. The locals also rarely go to these games. I'd be surprised if >50% of the voters actually knew who played at Ed Smith stadium (which is a dump compared to some of the other parks down here). One voter quoted in the local paper said, "Let the Chicago Cubs or whoever they are pay for it themselves." This is typical down here… belive me. I hope the Reds stay in Florida. I'll miss the 5 min drive to see a game, but won't miss the Smith.

at 10:58 AM Blogger stucky said...

well, if they move to Lee County/Ft. Meyers area my wife would be more willing to look into a condo down there than Sarasota...but that's just us

I really have no desire to go to Arizona for spring training...give me a beach

at 12:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Welfare for millionaires' is about the dumbest thing I have heard.

The people in Sarasota voted that the potential profit of having the Reds in town wasn't worth it. In our world of 'I should get it for free, stick the cost on someone else' I can that line of thought. The people need to know that having a sport team isn't a right, it is a privilege. A privilege the fans have to pay for in other ways than tickets bought.

The people had the choice to not upgrade the Reds facility, just as the Reds (with many other places willing to pay to come and play there) had the right to say we want a nicer building...

Think of it like Ebay. Sarasota was given the chance to trump much high bids but walked away. Emotion tell sus we hate to leave because the nice city, but it has been said the what the Reds had to use was outdated, and not as good as the Jones. Wouldn't try to upgrade your house?


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