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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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Monday, January 21, 2008

Spring update

We should know by early afternoon tomorrow if the Reds have a snowbird's chance in hell of the staying in Sarasota, or Florida for that matter.

The Sarasota County Commission meets at 11:30 in Venice, Fla. They'll likely vote on whether to continue with the new proposal to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium. The county controls the hotel bed tax revenue that would fund $18 million of the $41 million deal.

"It simply comes down to where the county stands," Sarasota mayor Lou Ann Palmer said.

Palmer is not allowed to poll the city commissioners, but her guess is the city commission will vote to carry on with the new plan. So the county vote is key. Two of the five commissioners are on record as not supporting the proposal.

If Sarasota's out, I don't see anyone else in Florida stepping up with a decent offer.

"Cleveland went through a thorough search and ran into some of same issues as Sarasota is having," John Allen said.

The Reds have had preliminary discussions with Orlando and Lee County (Fort Myers), but no one is lining up with a sweetheart deal.

So if the county commission votes no, Arizona is likely the Reds' best option. Allen said the Reds have not had any more talks with Goodyear.


at 3:53 PM Anonymous www.LetsTalkReds.com said...

I really hope that the Reds and Sarasota can lock this thing down. Anyone who has been to Ed Smith knows that it is a great venue to watch the games. It would be nice to at least keep them in Florida. Moving out to Arizona is going to completely alter the summer fan base.


at 4:53 PM Blogger BATSFAN said...

Are the reds deffintly in Sarasota this year?

at 5:02 PM Blogger docproc said...

I sure hope we stay in Sarasota.

John, I recall hearing rumors that Al Lang Field in St. Pete might be another spring training home the Reds would consider (the Rays are leaving). Have you heard anything about that?

at 5:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

docproc, Al Lang Field is the site of the new stadium proposal for the Rays. So I'm pretty sure that is out of the question!

at 5:22 PM Anonymous Redrocker In Orlando said...

living here in Orlando, I would hate to see the Reds leave the state. Sarasota has one of the best facilites to interact with the players. The Reds' contract ends this year with city options for '09, '10. Tomorrow's vote is crucial. I'd like to see Orlando and Disney up the ante for the Wide World of Sports complex as they had said numerous times they would like to share their complex with another team in addtion to the Braves.

at 5:24 PM Blogger John Fay said...

The Reds are definitely in Sarasota this year and almost definitely for 2009.

Doc: I think the rays proposed park is going on the Al Lang site. And I really don't see any Florida cities stepping up. They all face what Sarasota faces: Real estates problems, rising insurance rates, ect.

at 5:30 PM OpenID Newporttom said...

Al Lang is the new site for the proposed new Ray's stadium.

John, the large unanswerd question in all the Arizona talk is that MLB has always required teams to go in pairs to keep an even number of teams.

Do the Reds feel that they don't either need this permission or that they can get it?

And if the Reds don't mind sharing Spring Training, why not with the Braves at Disney? Awesome facility, no need to share the stadium during the summer, and it's a natural tourist destination already with inexpensive hotels and airfares.

at 6:28 PM Blogger Pat said...

will the last spring training team in Florida please turn off the lights. Better to move now than when there's only a few teams left.

at 7:44 PM Anonymous Kramer1 said...

Staying in Florida would be a huge mistake. Ed Smith stadium is arguably the worst ST facility in all of MLB. It's time this franchise starts operating like a winner. It's time our fans try to start viewing all things Reds related a little more objectively. Make the move to Arizona.

at 10:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat & Kramer are you living in Arizona? If you are you need to recuse yourself from the debate or at least disclose your location. As a season ticket holder who Bob Castellini described as the Reds most important customers I hope the Reds remain in Sarasota.

Furthermore as an American I'm sick of the corporate welfare in this country and of sports teams holding the cities they do business in hostage for more tax dollars and bigger and better stadiums. Unfortunately with Bud Selig at the helm nothing will change in MLB.

at 11:54 PM Anonymous RedsfaninCA said...

Anon 10:20, Ed Smith stadium is awful compared to most of the AZ parks. I've seen games in both spots and AZ is just a flat-out better environment.

Being a midwest transplant to the left coast, I've been waiting for this for years. I for one think it would be a great move.

And let's retire the "corporate welfare" argument. The cities and public venues generate tons of $$ from sports teams. Rehabbing or building a new stadium is a civic investment, not a handout to a ballclub. As I see it, in this case the Reds are ready put up $9M for a stadium someone else owns.

Do you know a tennant anywhere in the real world who ponied up 20% of the cost of rehabbing a place for their landlord? Of course not.

Businesses have a right to sell their wares to whatever market will buy. If a marketplace wants to entice a business to come, stay, or leave, they will provide one type of incentive or another.

at 1:13 PM OpenID newporttom said...

County Commissioners may have found an end-around to approve the deal.

They are going to change the requirement that required a 4-1 majority, so that it only requires a simple majority and then the 3-2 vote would approve.

Apparently that could take place in 2 weeks

at 4:15 PM Anonymous Red at the Beach said...

Looks like it got voted down now, maybe 2 weeks will be better, but somehow I doubt it.

I would love the Reds to stay in FL for subjective personal and objective team reasons. That said, if you get shown the door and have no toher FL choice, you certainly can't blame Reds mgmt for finding any appropriate available base.

If the only place that happens is in Arizona, so be it...

at 9:45 AM OpenID snar71 said...

The Reds need to stay here in Florida period. Growing up in Cincinnati with the Big Red Machine, the wire to wire World Series year of 90 (which of course is the team that Pete Rose built)....Seeing a game down here is the closest that I get to my childhood. I am being totally selfish but I am a die hard fan as I am sure many others are. Bottom line is that in all of these discussions the strongest ticket draw, or most loyal fan base does not really get the credit it deserves. As much as the tourist traffic kills me around Disney, DWWS is a spectacular venue and can easily house both the Reds and the Braves. Ticket prices are about the same as regular season games, but what do you expect, it is Disney. The Reds will make more than enough revenue at this location, and will bring back their huge fan base from the Plant City area where the Reds used to train. Bottom line is that the Reds have a huge fan base along the i-4 corridor and it would be a shame not to tap into it.

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