Atlanta Braves on the hunt for Spring Training money

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On his Shadow of the Stadium blog, Noah Pransky reports how the Atlanta Braves are on the hunt for some of Florida’a Spring Training money.

Because $300+ million from Cobb County to replace their perfectly-adequate stadium isn’t enough, the Atlanta Braves are now making overtures that they’ve available to the highest Spring Training bidder…or, at the very least, they’re setting up for a new subsidy demand at Disney.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves are “considering options” for 2017, when their current lease at Disney’s Wide World of Sports expires:

Braves president John Schuerholz emphasized that the team has not decided to move its spring base from the Disney resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., but he said the issue must be explored with the 20-year lease ending in 2017 and two other teams in talks about moving farther away.

“We find ourselves now in a circumstance where teams in the central Florida area have begun migrating out,” Schuerholz said Tuesday in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It would be problematic if we found ourselves in three years with no one in close proximity to play except the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland.”

… If the Braves move their spring home, it would remain in Florida, Schuerholz said. “We wouldn’t be an Arizona team,” he said.

So the Braves acknowledge they aren’t moving 2,000 miles further away from their fans to Arizona, which begs the question, why would the state of Florida contribute tens of millions of dollars to “retain” them in a new Florida city?

Additionally, would the Braves’ real “issue,” which is the possibility of the neighboring Nationals and Astros moving to new ballparks in other part of the state, be an issue at all if the state wasn’t making it so easy for teams to get new spring training stadium dollars?

Anyway, for those of you keeping score at home, its now the Braves,NationalsAstrosBlue Jays, and Brewers all in the hunt for Florida tax dollars.  The Pirates and Yankees have also hired lobbyists, presumably, for similar reasons.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.