Rick Scott wants plan to keep Grapefruit League spring training teams

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Last week in Sarasota, Governor Rick Scott hosted a reception for the top executives from the 15 MLB teams that take up spring residence in Florida.  And according to the Herald-Tribune, he wants to come up with a plan to make sure the state doesn’t lose any more teams to Arizona:

Florida’s biggest concern now is losing the Houston Astros, which train in Kissimmee. The team’s lease expires in 2016, and there has been talk of Arizona cities trying to lure the team out west.

As I’ve written before, the Sunshine State is not in position to lose a spring training team, but maybe even pick one up from Arizona; City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers has been vacant since the Red Sox got a new $77 million stadium across town.

But maybe Governor Scott is truly concerned about the Grapefruit/Cactus competition.  It would stand to reason Arizona would be just as concerned since its main draw, the Cubs, threatened to move to Naples in 2010.

Scott has two choices for keeping Grapefruit league teams in Florida:

  1. Offer state and local subsidies to keep building new and improved ballparks to keep teams (like the Baltimore Orioles);
  2. Speak to his friend, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and agree that neither state would contribute public funds toward stealing the other’s spring training teams.

Option No. 2 would of course guarantee the same level playing field as Option No. 1…except the taxpayers of each state would get to keep tens of millions of dollars in their own pockets each year.  

Option No. 2 makes the most sense and is a win-win for both states;  which is why my money is on Option No. 1

— Cross-posted from the Shadow of the Stadium blog.

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.