How many springs left for spring training?

Lawmakers discuss funding in Tally Thursday

Lawmakers in Tallahassee will be looking at the future of spring training in our area Thursday. Whether another team calls an existing stadium home or whether someone moves into a new stadium in our area, we'll know soon how much the state is willing to chip in.

 

Craig Callan says historic Dodgertown is proof that life goes on beyond spring training. He points to an aerial photograph showing new softball diamonds and a multi-purpose field.

 

The 66 year-old Vero Beach site is busier than ever, says Callan, generating a year-round economic return.

 

 "We've had over 130 teams that each team spends one week here in our facility and in the community," said Callan.

 

It seemed as if every week this winter, there was a new story about a new team, or teams moving to our area. 

 

At one point, the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, or Washington Nationals were heading our way.

 

A stadium site in Palm Beach Gardens was turned down.

 

John Prince Park in Lake Worth became another option.

 

"Spring training is a very important part of our history and of our present," says State Senator Joe Negron of Stuart.  

 

On Thursday, the appropriations committee will take up a  bill on the issue of spring training, and other sports funding. The key is adding to the four teams that already play on the east coast.

 

"We're still working on what's a fair amount that the teams would put up because we want there to be a return on our investment," said Senator Negron.

 

Callan says he hasn't heard of anyone approaching his group to move back into Holman Stadium, but they'd be ready.

 

"We would try and accommodate that if that's what the community wanted," said Callan, who worked with the Dodgers for 30 years before they left after the 2008 spring season.

 

The owner of the Houston Astros, Jim Crane, has a home in Palm City and has stated he'd like some new deal in place by the end of the year. His team is trying to move from Kissimmee.

 

There will be professional baseball next week at Holman Stadium in Dodgertown.

 

A Florida State League game will be held on April 15,  which is Jackie Robinson Day.

 

Robinson broke the color barrier with the then Brooklyn Dodgers.

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