Over at Shadow of the Stadium, Noah Pransky notes how how much spring training has changed over the years.
As the City of St. Petersburg marks 100 years of spring ball, the industry has never been more controversial.
It’s not just the Astros, Blue Jays, and Brewers seeking stadium subsidies in Florida … don’t forget about the Nationals too! According to Field of Schemes, the Nationals’ plans to move to Ft. Myers have hit roadblocks, “aka nobody will open their damn wallets”:
Now, writes the Post, the Nationals have “few known options.” Aside from, hmm, let’s see, staying at their existing spring training site that’s only 21 years old, or, if being a long bus ride from other teams’ facilities is such a huge deal-breaker, maybe building a new spring training site with some of their own money. But those aren’t “solutions” in the mind of team execs, so far be it from the Post to mention them, either.
Pransky also highlights an article out of Arizona titled, “Spring-Training Stadiums Are a Bad Investment, Yet No One Cares.” The article contended spring training parks are no better investment than traditional year-round MLB parks. I might actually disagree with that, since spring training subsidies are typically lower and typically attract out-of-towners in ways that regular MLB games in Florida or Arizona don’t. But there still doesn’t stand any reason MLB teams shouldn’t pay for the bulk of their own spring training facilities.
Gov. Rick Scott should know he can end the spring training stadium subsidy game, if he only wanted to.
And let us not forget how the Cubs played Naples for a fool in 2010, only to get a $99 million handout in Mesa.
Finally, spring training subsidies will continue to make headlines in Florida this week as the governor’s annual Grapefruit League welcome dinner takes place tonight at Tropicana Field.