Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Stadium game’s extra innings continue

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: The stadium game never ends.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that the Baltimore Orioles were upset with the plan for the team’s spring training.

According to my able former colleague Todd Ruger on Dec. 28:

The Orioles letter said the proposal undervalued the economic value of bringing the Orioles to Sarasota and fell short of providing the fields and facilities the club needs.
“It is also noteworthy that the Reds found a spring training home elsewhere … at approximately the same project costs as presented by the Orioles,” said the letter, which was signed by Orioles attorney Alan Rifkin.
The Orioles’ executives had already turned down an offer for a renovated stadium during November negotiations, instead asking for a $57 million deal that included $7.2 million from the state and $2 million from a group of private investors.

Well, the reality is that the Reds pretty much rolled the city of Goodyear, Ariz., and they are sharing the complex out there with another team. Back when times were good, governments were eager to hurl money at teams to be a part of the party; after what’s happened in the past few months, things might be a bit different.

Still, the deal is not dead and can always come back to life, as Ruger noted in his story:

But the Orioles’ letter did not completely shut the door on coming to Sarasota if the community has an alternate proposal.
Commissioner Shannon Staub, the commission’s biggest proponent for bringing the Orioles to Sarasota, said she is brainstorming ways to sweeten the deal.
“We’ve got a patient here who’s not in great shape, but he’s not dead yet,” Staub said. “It’s going to be up to my board, and the city: ‘Is it worth hammering out another proposal that includes some more contribution?’ “

What’s next? Anything can happen in the stadium game.

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January 7, 2009 - Posted by | The business of sports | , , , ,

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