Thursday, March 14, 2013

Next in Line for Spring Training Funds: Houston Astros

If you offer it, they will come.

It's not just the Toronto Blue Jays anxious to tap into Governor Scott's new spring training retention funds;  now, according to, the Houston Astros are saying they'll start shopping around too:
“I have been looking at an area in southeast Florida for about a year now, and have also been exploring options in Arizona,” said Giles Kibbe, general counsel for the Astros.
Of course, the Astros suggested they might move to Arizona to create the required leverage to land a new spring training stadium.  But they apparently want to end up in Palm Beach County:
"We are interested in making something happen there (Palm Beach Gardens), but we are a long way from getting that done.”
"A long way from getting that done" means the Astros are waiting for someone else to figure out the financing.  And in the meantime, the team may shop around other cities to create leverage and expedite the process.  It's hardly a secret; it's simply the blueprint.

It may also help expedite the spring training financing bill, which hasn't even been signed into law yet.  TCPalm continues:
In an amendment to a larger economic incentives bill, a Senate budget subcommittee voted Wednesday to offer cash for upgrading or building spring training facilities. Stadiums that host one team could apply for up to $20 million over a 30-year span. Facilities with two teams could receive $40 million. Local governments would have to match the state money, and payouts would start in 2015-16.

As points out, the Astros want to be first in line in Tallahassee; they just hired uber-lobbyist Brian Ballard to grease the legislative wheels.

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