Sunday, September 27, 2015

Baseball at the Dump

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog

Would the Rays be willing to play at Toytown?

The Atlanta Braves plan to move their spring training to Pinellas County caught a lot of people by surprise.

For those of you, who don't know where Toytown is it is a 240-acre plot of land at the Roosevelt Blvd/118th exit on I-275.

Most of us who have lived here for a while can remember driving by the land fill and watching hundreds if not thousands of birds chasing the trash compacting bulldozers around the land fill.

Toytown was a garbage dump for about 30 years. It was closed in 1983. Since then it has been setting while the buried trash decays percolating methane.

For all the excitement the prospect of a mega spring training center brings; the reality is reclaiming Toytown for anything will be an expensive process.

For now those proposing to develop the site say the reclamation of Toytown is not a problem. My guess is as the reality of making the old dump safe for habitation becomes clear; the developers will be asking the citizens of Pinellas County to pick up the tab.

Also interesting in all of this was the reaction of the MLB home office claiming they were caught off guard. I personally find that a little hard to believe that the Braves would keep the home office in the dark. The whole thing looks more like a ploy to get the Rays stadium issue moving.

Add to that the whole tourist tax issue. For some insight see Tampa Bay Times Charlie Fargo:  St. Petersburg measures impact of Braves spring training plans on Rays' plans.

Everyone from the Rays to the Kriseman administration will be jumping on this as the reason to let the Rays go look for a new site in the Bay area.

I agree now is the time to let them look. What will be interesting is if there is any really serious interest anywhere in the Bay area and who might be willing to pony up some private money?

The spring training thing looks a lot more inviting to me than a new Ray's stadium, unless of course the Rays were willing to play ball at the dump.

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Contributor: Waterfront Charter Amendment (Vote on The Pier), Carly Fiorina for President

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