Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Baseball HERITAGE | palmbeach.floridaweekly.com | Palm Beach & West Palm Beach Florida Weekly

Great recounting of the Major League Baseball Spring Training history in Palm Beach County by the Florida Weekly. It takes you back to the beginning in the 1920s with the St. Louis Browns. There were economic arguments being made back then, as they are today. Here is a bit from the article that talks about the regional repercussions if we lose too many teams on the east coast of Florida.
That would be welcoming news for the four teams training on Florida’s east coast. Once there were seven teams on the coast. Now, the only other east coast teams are the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie and the Nationals in Viera.
The Nationals, who used to be the Expos and who used to train in West Palm, have been flirting with other communities and may leave their Brevard County home.
If that happens, only three teams would remain on the east coast. That could signal an end to the local spring training tradition because teams like to be fairly close to other teams. That facilitates travel and cuts down on hours spent on buses riding around Florida. That’s time that could be better spent on what is called in baseball lingo, PFP, or pitchers fielding practice.
“From our standpoint, we just need teams to play,” said Mike Bauer, general manager of Roger Dean Stadium.
If the Nationals leave, it could open a door for the Marlins to follow. Although they have a contract to keep them in the county through 2027 there is an option that would allow them to leave after 2017 spring training if fewer than four teams remain on this coast.
“That’s always a concern,” said Jeff Castner, general manager of the Jupiter Beach Resort. “We hear the rumblings.”
Mr. Castner is well aware if that one more team leaves the east coast the great history of local spring training could end.

“That’s scary,” Mr. Castner said.
The ideal situation for Mr. Castner would be adding two more teams to the local mix. But he also knows what is the minimum that must be done.
“We got to keep the teams we have,” Mr. Castner said.
Mr. Bauer expects news about the future of teams such as the Blue Jays, Astros and Nationals is not far off.