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Orioles and Sarasota Talking Seriously Again


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As I alluded to in my March 17 Minors ST Report, there has been talk all week of a possibility of Sarasota and the Orioles working out one or two arrangements. Both excite me.

The easiest is for the Orioles to occupy Ed Smith Stadium after the Reds leave in a couple of weeks. This would put the major league complex and minor league complex within minutes of each other.

A minor modification would be for all of the players to move into the Ed Smith Complex just as the Reds do now with the majors and minors together. If it needs to happen later, then both could move to Ft. Myers in 2012.

Even more exciting, is for the Orioles and Sarasota to work out a long term deal. This was the lead story on tonight’s news.


Sarasota reaches out to Baltimore Orioles again

“SARASOTA - After three failed attempts to keep spring training baseball in Sarasota, county commissioners are making one last pitch to the Baltimore Orioles.”


“And Elsie Souza has first-hand knowledge that the Orioles are still in the game, with a possible future in Sarasota. "I had a conversation with (Orioles owner) Mr. Angelos for an hour and a half yesterday, and he's certainly interested in coming to Sarasota. And so you know what? Let's sit at the table and make it work."

And Sarasota County commissioners may be able to do just that. The board voted Tuesday to send a letter to the Orioles inviting the team back to the bargaining table, and giving them 30 days to come up with a counter-offer.


“ the price tag was too high for county commissioners, who rejected the (original) plan and offered a more modest proposal that included improving the current facilities at Ed Smith Stadium. "The prospects are not terrific, but they're not dead, and many of us would still like to bring baseball back...we're just not willing to pay the moon to achieve that," says county commissioner Nora Patterson.

"I think the issue's always money, but I think there's enough money between the county, city and the Orioles to make it work."

"ABC 7 has also learned the City of Sarasota has talked with a representative of the Orioles about holding spring training in Sarasota for 2 to 3 years. That's a possibility only if Baltimore decides to move to Fort Myers. If that's the case, the team would have to wait before moving there while the Red Sox new training complex is built, and then move into Boston's former home."

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Certainly good news that Sarasota is not totally out of the running for a possible relocation spot for the Birds Spring Traning venue. I guess one can look to the fact it took what, over five years after the Rangers left Port Charlotte before the Rays took over and renovated their old grounds.

I have heard occasional mention recently of the Orioles and Ft Myers (mainly just in passing) and no one in Ft Lauderdale can say one way or another if the team is further along in negotiations with the FAA and the city. If you talk to any of the team here I think they give the stock "yes, we'd love to stay here..." but I think that is the company answer.

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“Sarasota's last shot at baseball

By ELSIE R. SOUZA Guest Columnist

Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

Last Modified: Monday, March 16, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.

A significant part of Sarasota's culture - and an important financial opportunity -- is about to slip away.

Baseball has been a significant fixture of Sarasota life since 1924. It has been a boon to the city and county, contributing not only tax revenues but jobs, hotel bed nights, restaurants, shops and a tremendous boost in tourism. Once again I am fearful that baseball will be permitted to simply fade away from our city and county when spring training is over at the end of March. Eighty-five years of baseball in Sarasota could end.

Despite the Cincinnati Reds' announced wish to remain here, they are moving to Arizona because funding issues to keep them here could not be resolved.”

“After all of the meetings, testimonials, letters, cheerleading and encouragement, the public was left out of the negotiations and never knew what the actual deal was, as all figures were conjecture. One of the problems was that no one has ever been sure exactly what baseball would cost or what it would bring in, because the different sides used varying figures to stress their own views.

Now we have one last chance to keep an important part of Sarasota's history alive. The Baltimore Orioles have expressed strong interest to become part of our community. This deal needs to be an inclusive one.

This time, with a 10-percent-and-growing unemployment rate, it should be enough to seriously sit at a table and make a deal that would create and preserve jobs, sustain economic development and preserve an otherwise empty stadium.”

“Statistics that we've heard from Sarasota County place this deal with the Baltimore Orioles at $47 million. The economic impact for the construction alone to Sarasota County is as follows:

1,222 new construction jobs would be created.

Those jobs would result in a total compensation of $38,212,431.

This will generate additional expenditures within Sarasota County of $76,448,292.

We have lost so much of what made Sarasota uniquely Sarasota. Let's not let this one go.

I invite all interested citizens to visit our Web site, www. LastChanceSrq.com.

Elsie R. Souza lives in Sarasota.”

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I still wonder, with the Indians leaving Winter Haven, why that hasn't been considered. Close to ALOT of teams, and it would make sense.

Actually Sarasota puts the Orioles within a two hour drive of the Twins, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Phills, Yankees, Blue Jays and Tigers

I seem to remember when the Indians were first considering moving from Winter Haven that the city didn't seem to concerned about losing the team. It's been a while but I some what remember a report that the land the field existed on was prime realestate and there were already developers looking to turn it into other uses a few years before the Indians made their move final.

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Thank you Sarasota for coming back to the table. Angelos had better get this done. Even a temporary move to Ed Smith is better than staying in that broken down Lauderdale complex. And a permanent facility there would be spectacular...

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Offer is for the Birds

The Orioles don't seem to care about alienation or perception, public or otherwise. They stumble about the state in search of a partner, their intentions, as clear as their standing in the AL East, disguised neither by tact nor deftness of movement.

What can you do for us? Is that your best offer? We'll get back to you. Then again, we may not.

Vero Beach shooed the Orioles away when owner Peter Angelos reportedly insisted on 50-year control over the stadium land.

Pretty sweet, considering the typical lease between town and team runs 30 years. Sweet for Angelos, sickly so for Vero.

It seems that Sarasota really wants to get a deal done but with the economy and Angelos never give an inch style being major factors it certainly isn't an easy negotiation for them. It's really sad this is still dragging on.

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I could be wrong but it seems as though most other teams have been making deals left and right for the past 15-20 years whether in Arizona or Florida while the O's seem incapable of coming to an agreement with anyone. Hmmmm. I wonder where the problem lies?

The problem seems to now lie with Pete's insistence that it be a sweetheart deal with no Oriole financial commitment.

Those are hard to come by these days.

Of course, spring training problems predate Pete's ownership and can probably be traced to EBW's decision to remain in Miami long after that stadium should have been bulldozed.

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I could be wrong but it seems as though most other teams have been making deals left and right for the past 15-20 years whether in Arizona or Florida while the O's seem incapable of coming to an agreement with anyone. Hmmmm. I wonder where the problem lies?

Thank you, and well said. And why can't the Orioles, like Boston, get a new facility? I'm sure Sarasota and Ft. Myers would work, but why are the Orioles settling for hand me downs? This was a first class organization until PGA ruined it. It will not completely recover until he's gone.

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I've been told that if the Orioles returned to Sarasota in good faith and agreed to a $5 million contribution, the deal would get done.

They want us to kick in 5 million and we can't seem to do that? How can this organization not be labeled as cheap if we don't take that deal?

Who is going to defend the Orioles if they walk away from that?

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I am the last person to defend Angelos but I can't help but think there is more to the story as to why there is no deal yet on a new or renovated ST facility...certainly all sides want a deal that favors them and what remains is what type of compromise can be reached...obviously any report given by the cities involved are going to make them seem like they are willing to compromise if the Orioles are willing...unfortunately it doesn't seem like the Orioles have made their positions clear to the public what they are after and what they are willing to settle for...

Unfortunately what is the killer for the team is until that happens we have a geographically seperated major and minor league facilities that are less than par with the rest of the teams in the state...

As for getting a renovated facility, I wouldn't look at that as a bad deal...I have seen what the Pirates did to their camp facilities in Bradenton first hand and I have seen photos of what the Rays got in a fix-me-up from the old Texas facilities in Port Charlotte and neither are nothing to sneeze at...

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This does seem to be taking a long time, but better to have it done right.

I do not know if any city is going to cave in, but we need a first class facility to house all operations in one place. If someone is leaving a hand-me down behind, it is likely because they received a better deal someplace else.

Until an appropriate (first rate) offer is made, any solution ought to be for a short multi-year interim period.

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