Regular readers here know that I follow closely the spring training venue plans of Florida-based teams. After all, they can directly affect the St. Louis Cardinals.
Recent actions have been focused on currently waylaid plans by the Houston Astros with the Toronto Blue Jays to gain approval to build a new complex in Palm Beach County, not far from the Cardinals and Marlins, located in Jupiter.
This is a concerning topic to Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. Commenting to the Post-Dispatch recently, he said the following.
“I think it’s critical that we get at least another team and hopefully two new teams in the area,” DeWitt said. “I was disappointed that Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., did not approve the new ballpark there. I thought it was a win-win when you bring two teams like Houston and Toronto into an area.”
In parallel, the Washington Nationals, which have trained two hours away in Viera for the last decade, have also been looking for a new home. Two recent proposals for the Nats to relocate to the Gulf Coast side of the state, Fort Myers specifically, have fallen apart, apparently due to the amount of public funding required.
That was on the heels of a plan for Washington to move its Florida base to Kissimmee (the same central Florida city the Astros plan to vacate) that was called off due to funding concerns last August.
A Boca Raton-based developer has come forward with a proposal to lure one or two of the three teams in play – Washington, Houston and Toronto – to the east coast of Florida, reports the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale. Though the developer is saying he actually has money to invest, it is unclear if any of the clubs in play have shown mutual interest.
Though the Nationals can break their Viera lease after the 2014 season, three years early, they may be forced to stay put for at least one more year due to the uncertainty, reports the Washington Post.