The following is cross-posted with permission from Noah Pransky’s Shadow of the Stadium blog.
It didn’t take long after Governor Scott announced new state money for spring training parks that MLB teams started to line up at the teller window.
First up: the Toronto Blue Jays, who have five years left on their contract in Dunedin and just a few weeks ago were quoted as saying, “we love Dunedin,” and they aren’t looking for a new home because they’re not “on the low end of the totem pole as far as facilities were concerned.”
But now that more public money is on the table, it could be a different story. Toronto’s Globe and Mail is reporting the Blue Jays’ “situation in Dunedin no longer up to par (and the team) will use the next 12 months to shop for a new spring training home, and may consider sharing a facility with the Washington Nationals or Houston Astros.”
“Possible destinations,” the article continues, “could include Naples, Fort Myers and Pasco County on the Gulf Coast; Vero Beach, Daytona Beach and Palm City on the East Coast.”
Spring Training is a huge economic driver in Florida and plenty of stadium subsidy advocates will say “this is exactly why we need to commit state funds to stadiums.”
But the cart came before the horse on this one; the Governor’s mere suggestion of committing more money to spring training stadiums is going to open the floodgates of Florida cities bidding against other Florida cities with stadium subsidies. And even though the Blue Jays show no indication of possibly moving to Arizona, they are about to cost Florida taxpayers a lot of money.