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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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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good as gone?

The city of Goodyear announced it has secured the funding to bring the Reds there.

I asked John Allen if that meant the Reds are definitely moving.

"It does not," he said. "We still have to come up with a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). That's the frame work for the lease agreement. The lawyers are working on that now. Then the city of Goodyear has to sign off on that and approve the financing plan."

That vote is April 7. Both are likely to be approved.

"We've got the funding," Allen said. "Now, we can go forward, but a few things have to happen for the deal to be complete. I'm optimistic. We keep moving forward. But nothing's done till it's done."

The Reds are talking a 20-year lease.

The Reds released this while I was spending almost two hours in the car on my way to Clearwater (I won't miss some thing about Florida):

GOODYEAR, AZ – The city of Goodyear has found a way to fund the estimated $33 million cost of bringing the Cincinnati Reds’ Spring Training operation to its new ballpark, and is moving forward with negotiations with the team.

“We have met the terms of the Exclusivity Agreement with the Reds,” said Interim City Manager Brian Dalke. “The funding sources have been identified. However, in keeping with the terms of our agreement with the Reds, that information will remain confidential while we move forward with negotiations.”

The announcement comes a day before the March 13 deadline for identifying funding, set out in the Exclusivity Agreement signed on Jan. 28 by Goodyear and the Reds.

“The Reds organization is extremely pleased with the financing plan that the city of Goodyear has presented to us,” said John Allen on behalf of the Reds. “We look forward to continuing our discussions and will hopefully complete the agreement in early April.”

If negotiations with the Reds are successful, the team would begin training in Goodyear in 2010. The Reds would join the Cleveland Indians and become Goodyear’s second Ohio-based spring training ball club. The Indians will move their training facilities to Goodyear in time for the 2009 spring training season.

According to the Exclusivity Agreement, Goodyear and the Reds must both refrain from discussing or negotiating for spring training facilities or teams with anyone except each other. The 75-day agreement expires April 11.

Details regarding financing plans and funding sources will not be released during the 75-day negotiation period, Dalke said, adding that discussions with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) are continuing.

Quick facts about the Goodyear Ballpark and Recreational Sports Complex:

The $76 million Goodyear Ballpark and Recreational Sports Complex will serve as a year-round training facility for the Cleveland Indians. The practice fields are expected to be completed this summer. The ballpark will be ready for action in February 2009, just in time for Spring Training.

The ballpark and sports complex will be located south of Yuma Road and east of Estrella Parkway. The ballpark will be built on a 3-acre site. The clubhouse and practice fields will be situated on a separate 52-acre site to the south.

The ballpark will seat up to 10,000 fans, including 500 premium box seats, 8,000 fixed seats and space for 1,500 spectators on a grassy berm in the outfield. Goodyear’s ballpark will be the centerpiece of Ballpark Village, a $1 billion mixed-use development featuring offices, shops, restaurants, housing, hotels and a conference center. The ground-level concourse is a key design element for the stadium, linking the ballpark to the nearby businesses.

The Recreational Sports Complex will house a clubhouse and practice fields that will serve as a year-round training facility for the Indians. Goodyear residents will have access to four major practice fields 10 months of the year. The Indians will have exclusive use of the facilities during the two-month Spring Training season. The City of Goodyear will also use the ballpark and field area for special events and seasonal specials throughout the year.

For more information, please visit Goodyear’s website: goodyearaz.gov.


at 4:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pretty good deal.

at 4:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Whats the word in Sarasota? Are they even preparing an offer?.

I know they did clear a vote for upgrades.

Are the Reds meeting w/ Sarasota after the 11th?

Kevin in Ft Myers

at 4:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the move mean for the Sarasota Reds?

Particularly if Sarasota brings in another Grapefruit Leage team in the future; is that a conflict of interest?

Kev in FM

at 4:25 PM Blogger Signify said...

Yes!!, I'm heading to AZ this Saturday for a week of five ball games and sun.

I'll soon be able to see the Reds in Scottsdale, then Tempe, then Mesa . . . fun, fun.

at 4:43 PM Blogger NVreds said...

I would imagine the sarasota reds would stick around, but a good point on another team signing on to play in sota, i wonder if they could coexist....

I feel bad only for the people that had family in FL and visited them and the reds in the spring, aside from that this move. The most important part of ST is to get the club ready, not to appease the fans.

Obviously I love it since I live in NV, plus we're getting one of, if not the, top facilities in baseball AND saving the $10mil we would have had to shell out for the sarasota stadium.

at 5:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would doubt the Sarasota Reds stick around for long. The facilities are still sub-par, even for minor league ball. Plus, I doubt the Reds will continue paying for Ed Smith upkeep once they're gone, and I doubt the cash-strapped city will see that as money well-spent. This will mean the end of the entire Ed Smith complex withing a few years. I think the city burned all the bridges with the Reds at once with their short sightedness.

I am one that will miss the trips to the in-laws (leaving next week) and catching some Reds action - now I have to work on getting them to move to AZ !

at 5:10 PM Anonymous BigRedOne said...

This article makes it sound like the Reds will be playing second fiddle to the Indians. What a disaster that would be if true.

at 5:57 PM Blogger NVreds said...

second fiddle to the indians? what are you talking about?

all they would share would be the stadium, they would have their own practice fields, offices, training rooms, etc.

at 6:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am a big Reds fan in Northern CA. This is great news ! Reds should go where they are welcome. If the Indians fan base can go to AZ, so can the Reds fan base.

I am sorry for the loss of Florida Reds fans... but it will be offset by those of us in the Western half of the USA who are Reds fans.

at 7:45 PM Anonymous Dennis said...

I'm also interested in what this means for the Sarasota Reds. The Reds own the franchise in the Florida St League. Would they look to move the team to a better facility in Florida like Orlando/Disney? The Braves don't have a Florida St League team there. There is no longer a AA team there.

at 10:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarasota has made a big mistake here, its bigger than just losing the Reds, its more like losing spring training all together.

Most people in baseball feel like after Cincy, Cleveland, and the Dodgers go west the leagues will stabilize for the forseeable future, with # of teams even between FLA and AZ. This leaves all the Florida ballparks with three less teams available to fill them.

Places like the Tampa area facilities and the Disney, Orlando, Kissimee, facilities will be the top choices for teams, after that, Dodgertown in Vero with its history will surely make a big play to bring a new team in.
Then you have the Atlantic coast towns which have the money to get things done.

This would leave places like Lakeland, Deer Park, Sarasota, and possibly in the future Ft Myers, on the outside looking in.

I could imagine in the future, a few more dual team complexes being built along the Tampa to Orlando I-4 corridoor.
That would create a scenario more like the one in AZ.. with most parks within 1 - 2hrs of each other. Of the towns I mentioned, Lakeland is along I-4, but would likely need a totally new facility to stay in the game.

If this happens Vero may be the only City outside that corridoor to have a team, and that may not last forever.

What AZ has is really the best model and Florida as a state should follow suit. This is bad news for some of the towns I mentioned, but good news for Grapefruit League baseball in the long run.

-Kevin in Ft Myers

at 10:33 PM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

Kevin, are you the same dude as Kevin in Ft. Mitchell?

Florida (my home state) is over-run but stunted thinking politicians who want to make a name for themselves by lowering taxes at all costs. They are throwing away our future economy including things such as spring training not to mention the environment and education as fasst as they and ignorant citizens applaud them in the hopes of saving a few dollars in property taxes. Can't blame the Reds for goaing where they are wanted.

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