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AmarilloRed
11-05-2007, 12:27 AM
Sarasota future on the ballot
Reds insider: Could be looking for new spring site

The people of Sarasota vote Tuesday on a referendum for the funding to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium.

But what they're really voting on is whether they want their city to remain the spring home of the Reds.

If the referendum is voted down, the Reds will - figuratively at least - start the moving process.


"We really haven't looked anywhere else yet," Reds chief operating officer John Allen said. "If we lose the election, we'll start immediately."

The Reds will train in Sarasota this coming spring, and they have three one-year options to extend the lease after that.

The referendum would approve the last $16 million in funding for the $56 million project.

Again, if the vote goes down, they're moving. They could go to Vero Beach, which the Dodgers are abandoning after 2008. They could go to Arizona, which is always looking for teams. There's been talk that Orlando would like to add another team.

The Reds hope, of course, that the referendum passes and they stay in Sarasota.

"We've said that all along," Allen said.

The club's actions have shown it means that. The Reds bought the Florida State League franchise in Sarasota. They've moved more and more of their offseason operation there.

They also made a 30-year commitment to Sarasota when state funding required only 15 years.

"That's pretty strong," Allen said.

But it hasn't been easy to get everything lined up for funding. That's why the club scaled back the plans. The original idea was to build a new stadium on the site of the county fairgrounds.

The latest version calls for a revamping of Ed Smith Stadium as well as new offices and a new clubhouse.

It's been a long process. The Reds thought they had everything lined up.

But the stadium became a political issue, which led to the referendum being placed on the ballot.

The Reds have helped finance the campaign for the referendum.

They've tried to convince the voters of two things: Having the Reds train in Sarasota has an economic impact, and the facility can be used year-round and will benefit the community at large.

But it's been a difficult sell. Public funding for private businesses always is.

The other thing working against the Reds is Sarasota has a lot going for it. It's a vibrant community and big-time tourist destination. So Sarasota doesn't need a spring training team the way, say, Plant City does.

Allen is optimistic - cautiously so.

"It's going to be close," he said. "Too close to call."

GoReds33
11-05-2007, 04:25 PM
I personally don't want them staying in Sarasota. That stadium is terrible. If all they are going to do is renovate that place it's time for a change. I think Dodgertown would be a good place to go.

bounty37h
11-05-2007, 04:46 PM
I wouldnt mind a lil further north, cut the drive down some. On another note, I never did hear why they left Plant City? I dont know if any of you read my story last year, but I wrote about my frist trip to Sarasota after they moved there from PC, I went down with my dad on college fallbreak. We drove through the night, and got ther eearly morning, so went straight to the park in our camper. When wepulled in the stadium, I jumped out to stretch the legs after the long night, and got he eeriest feeling I had ever had, like I had been there before, somethign wasnt right, and my dad noticed right away-said my color dropped frommy face, and looked like I was about to pass out. I told him I had this weird feeling I had been there before, and my dad shared with me that I had-my great-grandmother lived directly across the st from Ed Smith Stadium, and she died when i was 4-we had been down ther eto clean out her place, and had walked around the stadium.

GoReds33
11-06-2007, 09:19 PM
The vote is now down by 118 with one precinct, and 2,000 absentee votes still to be counted. Looks like we could be headed to Dodgertown!!!

AmarilloRed
11-06-2007, 10:26 PM
Good-bye Sarasota

The Reds will begin looking a new spring home tomorrow. The referendum for the final piece of funding to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium was voted down. The Sarasota Herald Tribune had it a 4,431 against, 4,206 for.

"The citizens have spoke," Reds COO John Allen said.

That means the Reds time in Sarasota will come to an end over the next couple of years.

“We’ve been very consistent with our message,” Allen said. “We wanted to stay in Sarasota. When other cities and Arizona approached us, that’s what told them.”

Tomorrow, there will be a new message.

“We’ll start process (of looking for a new site) immediately,” Allen said.
The Reds lease on Ed Smith runs out in October of 2008. But the club has three one-year options to renew.

Allen said there is no way the Reds will stay in the existing Ed Smith complex long-term.

posted by John Fay at 9:52 PM

I suppose that settles that.

bounty37h
11-07-2007, 12:45 PM
Man, please dont let them go to AZ!!!!!!!

flash
11-07-2007, 03:44 PM
Now is the time for Castellini to move boldly and move the Reds training facilities to Central America. He could probably do it for the money he was going to commit to Sarasota. The Reds and other Central American teams could probably draw 15 K to every game. Castellini already has numerous buisness contacts in the area via his grocery buisness.

gedred69
11-07-2007, 07:12 PM
This potentially kills my ritual ST trip. I have a bro' in Ft. Myers where Twins and Bosox train, and 90 min. from Sarasota. that = a cheap place to stay, and catch lots of Reds ST. Everyone knows how costly hotel rooms are in Fla. in March, with ST and Spring break going on at the same time. Vero Beach (most prominently mentioned) would take the Reds away from the Gulf Coast where they have always been, and away from Twins/Bosox. Winter Haven is a dump. I've heard that Bonita Springs/Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area wants another camp. That area has the development going on and lots of $$ to help pay for a complex. I would find that sweet:beerme:

GoReds33
11-07-2007, 07:37 PM
This potentially kills my ritual ST trip. I have a bro' in Ft. Myers where Twins and Bosox train, and 90 min. from Sarasota. that = a cheap place to stay, and catch lots of Reds ST. Everyone knows how costly hotel rooms are in Fla. in March, with ST and Spring break going on at the same time. Vero Beach (most prominently mentioned) would take the Reds away from the Gulf Coast where they have always been, and away from Twins/Bosox. Winter Haven is a dump. I've heard that Bonita Springs/Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area wants another camp. That area has the development going on and lots of $$ to help pay for a complex. I would find that sweet:beerme:I also think that Orlando could possibly make the Reds a team that Griffey wants to retire with also. One of the reasons he likes the Braves is that their spring training site is near Orlando.

gedred69
11-07-2007, 09:36 PM
I also think that Orlando could possibly make the Reds a team that Griffey wants to retire with also. One of the reasons he likes the Braves is that their spring training site is near Orlando.

Yep, I've heard that as a future site as well. It's a crowded field there. Still, there is no beach. And God, as a DOM, I sure love the opportunity to visit Ft. Myers Beach, and all those HOT YOUNG COLLEGE GIRLS, and their penchant for exposing themselves! My tongue gets firm...