Thoughts about Sarasota
I'm steer away from being political in these musings. But, in the case of Reds and Sarasota, I think the Sarasota County commissioners who are holding up the new proposal -- Nora Patterson and Jon Thaxton -- are being short-sighted.
I understand not wanting to use tax dollars to help build something for a professional baseball team. And I understand things are tight economically. Basically, Patterson wants to take money set aside for the stadium rebuilding for beach maintenance. But if Sarasota County chose to spend the money stadium renovation, it would be a wise investment.
Consider: The Reds are committed to staying for 30 years. They've going to invest $9 million up front. The state's going to kick in $7.9 million. All that is going to generate jobs and taxes dollars.
The Reds are responsible for 8,000 hotel nights in Sarasota in a year. They operate a Florida State League and Gulf Coast League team out of Sarasota, as well as their year-round rehab program.
Watching the commission meeting, I got the impression that commissioners think the Reds don't have alternatives. Goodyear, Ariz., sounds like a viable one to me. And if the Reds leave, Sarasota's chances of getting another team to come are slim. The city manager even talked about the possibility of wrecking Ed Smith Stadium if the Reds leave.
If another company comes to Sarasota next month and offers the kind of economic impact the Reds have, plus $8 million in state money, the city and county are likely to jump on the opportunity to land the deal.