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Orioles and Sarasota Talking Seriously Again

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http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090416/COLUMNIST/904161069/2137/SPORTS?Title=Orioles-deal-may-go-south

Orioles deal may go south

By Doug Fernandes

H-T Columnist

Published: Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Last Modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 9:38 p.m.

SARASOTA

“Sometimes I think the people responsible for killing spring training baseball attended the Nancy Reagan school of negotiating.

You know, Just Say No.

In case you missed it, our County commissioners rejected Tuesday not one but two proposals to renovate Ed Smith Stadium for the Baltimore Orioles.

As Capt. Renault said in Casablanca, "I'm shocked, shocked.'”

“Yo, Bill Hammond, what is it we don't get up here?

"The sad thing about it is there's a big picture,'' he said. "There's a long-term picture. Take the Red Sox: a 30-year guaranteed contract.

"Thirty years of people in that Boston area knowing, 'Hey, we're going to spring camp. We're going to the Red Sox fantasy camp.'

"Listen, that's 30 years. If you're not open to that, then shame on you.''

Bill Hammond's been on both sides. For years he worked in Sarasota County's Parks and Recreation Department.

For the last 16, he's been Lee County's Deputy County Manager. Done pretty well, too.

The Twins' home in Fort Myers is called Hammond Stadium. Its namesake helped get the Lee County Sports complex built, which enticed the Twins to dump Orlando for Fort Myers.

"You can't lose sight of the bottom line,'' he said, "and the bottom line is that sports means big dollars around this state.

"There just seems to be a genuine love (in Fort Myers) for spring training and what it brings.''

Hammond believes spring training brings in millions. He believes the loss of the Red Sox would have left at least "a $20-30 million hole in our economy and taken away some 200 jobs.''

Not satisfied with the Red Sox and Twins, Fort Myers is on the verge of landing the Orioles as well.

"It's not that we want to be hoggish,'' Hammond said. "It just makes sense. We're opening our arms. We'll do anything that we can possibly do to see that this takes place.''

“Hammond said 20,000 people a year are moving into the Fort Myers area. "All we need is to have this economy turn around and look out.

"Will we be able to support three teams? I think so. It makes sense.''

Yeah, to those with vision.”

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http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090415/ARTICLE/904151063/2098/SPORTS?Title=County-rejects-2-Orioles-proposals

County rejects 2 Orioles proposals

Staff Report

Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Last Modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 12:46 a.m.

“Sarasota County commissioners rejected two deals Tuesday to build a renovated stadium for the Baltimore Orioles.

Commissioners turned down one deal worth more than $40 million. That vote was 3-2, with commissioners Nora Patterson and Shannon Staub voting in favor of the baseball deal. Another $33 million offer was also voted down. A similar offer had already been rejected twice by the Orioles.

"We might as well say goodbye to baseball," Staub said”

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http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090415/ARTICLE/904151063/2098/SPORTS?Title=County-rejects-2-Orioles-proposals

County rejects 2 Orioles proposals

Staff Report

Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Last Modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 12:46 a.m.

“Sarasota County commissioners rejected two deals Tuesday to build a renovated stadium for the Baltimore Orioles.

Commissioners turned down one deal worth more than $40 million. That vote was 3-2, with commissioners Nora Patterson and Shannon Staub voting in favor of the baseball deal. Another $33 million offer was also voted down. A similar offer had already been rejected twice by the Orioles.

"We might as well say goodbye to baseball," Staub said”

The Orioles came down to $33 million and Sarasota wouldn't do it, so they are to blame. I just hope the Orioles can find some way to fix up Twin Lakes so the minor leaguers don't have to play two more seasons in that dump.

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The Orioles came down to $33 million and Sarasota wouldn't do it, so they are to blame. I just hope the Orioles can find some way to fix up Twin Lakes so the minor leaguers don't have to play two more seasons in that dump.

What???? You mean those great sources you quoted weren't accurate? How could unquoted "I've been told" comments be off base? I'm shocked...

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BTW from the comments in that last article, it looks like the Orioles will wind up in Fort Myers in a 20 year old facility, yet again another hand me down...

"In a conversation with Orioles negotiator Alan Rifkin on Friday, he made it clear that the O's will accept the Lee County offer early next week. Unless Sarasota can put a firm proposal in front of the Orioles by Tuesday at the latest, the O's will sign a deal with Lee County."

Let's hope that Lee County does more than just paint over the Red Sox logos at City of Palms...

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A couple of comments:

1) I have been told by a Sarasota friend who is working hard on this that the County had started considerable work on improving the Twin Lakes Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex today. Perhaps GulfBird44 can tell us what he sees going on.

2) The "Old" Red Sox facilities in Ft. Myers looked just wonderful to me. The Minor League Cocmplex was awesome and the Major League Complex looked very, very nice from the visitor's point of view. (I didn't get to visit the clubhouse portion.)

3) The Sarasota vote was 3-2. I am told that two of the Commissioners are really on the fence and would vote in favor IF they heard something positive from the Orioles, such as an in-depth reply to Sarasota's previous offer. Sarasota doesn't want to negotiate with itself. It needs feedback from earlier proposals.

4) In my indeoendent and humble opinion, a Sarasota deal is lost UNLESS an effective and efficient executitve from the Orioles Front Office, say AM or PA, enters into a fresh "what-can-we-do-to-get-this-done" dialog with the County. Sources tell me that Mr. "Do-Nothing, my-way-or-no-way, asleep-at-the-wheel, wait-till-after-the-last-minute" JA is neither effective nor efficient.

Edited by DrShorebird

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City of Palms looks pretty darn nice compared to what we have now.

http://www.ballparkreviews.com/fmyers/fmyers.htm#

Compared to what we have now yes, but if the Orioles are moving to another facility it should have state of the art stuff. Lauderdale was 30 years old when the Orioles moved in during 1996. City of Palms will be the same age as OPACY - 20 if and when the Orioles move in 2012 and we've already seen all the upgrades that have been needed at OPACY to stay current.

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Compared to what we have now yes, but if the Orioles are moving to another facility it should have state of the art stuff. Lauderdale was 30 years old when the Orioles moved in during 1996. City of Palms will be the same age as OPACY - 20 if and when the Orioles move in 2012 and we've already seen all the upgrades that have been needed at OPACY to stay current.

Renovating the park to be state of the art would probably be a lot cheaper. But Ft Myers/Angelos would need make sure that the renovations are done extremely well and cover everything.

Regardless, they need to pick a place ASAP.

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Yeah once again the players might get another hand me down Spring Home.

As Ft Myers is better then what they have now,

Why can't the Orioles get enough respect to get a long term deal on a NEW place instead of getting the same ole second hand offers.

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A couple of comments:

1) I have been told by a Sarasota friend who is working hard on this that the County had started considerable work on improving the Twin Lakes Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex today. Perhaps GulfBird44 can tell us what he sees going on.

I have not been to Twin Lakes since my last report. What I was told then was there would be work done to field one (unsure if that is the only field or there is more work to be done and that's all they could say) some time within the week.

Although I was with the O's today at Ed Smith, I didn't get around to ask for a schedule past this Sunday. I do know there is still no change to what I posted before and up to Sunday all games are away. Unfortunately I will be away till late Monday so I won't know more till next Tuesday at the earliest...

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Sources tell me that Mr. "Do-Nothing, my-way-or-no-way, asleep-at-the-wheel, wait-till-after-the-last-minute" JA is neither effective nor efficient.

AM could pull this off in no time.

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Monday April 20 is Decision Day for the Orioles. A long time ago, Sarasota asked the Orioles to put their comments into a formal letter regarding their intent to pursue a Spring Training Complex in Sarasota. As of yet, the Sarasota Commissioners have not received a formal reply. The Commissioners are not going to negotiate with themselves alone and all they need is a response from the Orioles. It’s more pride with the commissioners than anything else. A short written response from the Orioles would most likely convince the swing votes on the Commission to vote in favor of striking a contract with the Orioles. While the Orioles are asleep, Japanese investors are seeking to buy Ed Smith Stadium. See story below.

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090418/ARTICLE/904181073

“By Anthony Cormier

Published: Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Last Modified: Friday, April 17, 2009 at 10:18 p.m.

SARASOTA - An investment group wants to buy Ed Smith Stadium from the city, build a year-round baseball development center and woo a Japanese league team to play spring training against American clubs.

The group, led by a former major league ballplayer, offered $10 million for the facility -- which was recently appraised for $16 million -- during negotiations that heated up this week.

The proposal is quite a departure from recent dealings over Ed Smith Stadium and spring training in Sarasota.

For many months, the city has tried to keep Major League Baseball here by negotiating with clubs such as the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.

About two months ago an investment group contacted city officials about buying the stadium.

The investors -- Baseline-iScouts Group, led by Mike Pagliarulo, who won a World Series title with the Minnesota Twins and briefly played overseas -- are angling to land a deal that still has many moving parts.

They want to bring in a club from Japan's Nippon League to play against MLB teams that hold spring training in Florida.

They want to keep the Sarasota Reds here during the minor league season.

And Pagliarulo, known as "Pags," a gritty third-baseman during his playing days, wants to build a permanent baseball academy -- modeled along the lines of the IMG Academies in Bradenton -- where doctors could research everything from injuries to pitching mechanics and players from around the world would come to hone their games. The site could also be used to host NCAA baseball tournaments as well, he said.”

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Monday could bring spring clarity

By Doug Fernandes

Herald-Tribune Columnist

Published: Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Last Modified: Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 9:23 p.m.

SARASOTA

Not that it matters, but ...

Monday could bring clarity to our still-foggy spring training baseball picture.

Or it could remain as clouded as before.

That's the deadline set by the County for Baltimore to respond to the $33.1 million deal to renovate both Ed Smith Stadium and Twin Lakes Park.

What does respond mean, you ask?

The Orioles could agree to our offer. They could sign off on whatever deal they have brewing with Fort Myers.

They could also delay a decision, thus adding yet another chapter to a story as long and convoluted as the history of man.

Know this: Both sides are close. For all their posturing with Fort Myers, the Orioles want to call Sarasota home.

It's all a matter of moolah, which is why the City ultimately may end up deciding the future of spring training.

According to sources, if the City agrees to contribute around $160,000 a year over the life of a 30-year lease, the O's then will kick in $5 million and a deal could get done.

Presently, the City's only input to the project is a fixed one -- the land on which Ed Smith sits. And even at $160,000 a year, that would be less than the annual operating and maintenance cost, assuming The Ed is not sold.

What can't be argued is that this is Sarasota's last chance to perpetuate a part of its heritage. And if certain people are to be believed, we're too close to allow it not to happen.

Staying on the topic of spring training, allow me to surmise that few fans would patronize The Ed for Japanese league baseball.

It would be nice to have the guys there next spring. I wonder if renovations can be completed that quickly?

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