Noah Pransky’s been tracking the issue of state funds earmarked by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature for spring training stadiums and found that the Minnesota Twins are the first to step up to the place.
The Twins were the first team to take advantage, getting a $48.5 million refurbishment in Ft. Myers.
It looks like the team will pay $6 million, the state will pick up $15 million of the tab, which would leave $27+ million for Lee County. In exchange for the $42 million in subsidies, the Twins agreed to extend their lease for another 30 years.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Blue Jays will be the next to take advantage, using the state dollars to leave Dunedin in favor of Palm Beach Gardens, even though their lease in Pinellas County runs through 2017.
One has to wonder if the state is making it too easy for teams to leverage cities against each other… and if taxpayers are paying for stadium upgrades that the teams could have ultimately just paid for themselves. That is, unless you’re the legislature and governor, who get a regular earful from pro teams’ lobbyists.