The Cincinnati Reds have used Sarasota as their Spring Training facility for the past twelve years. But taxpayers and politicians have said a gracious, “No thanks,” whenever the Reds asked for upgrades to the facilities, and so following this year, their Spring Training home will be in Goodyear, Arizona, which is where their first camp was. Way back in 1891.
Oddly, to celebrate the middle finger they’re giving Sarasota, the Reds invited Mayor Lou Ann Palmer, who was booed by the fewer than 3,000 fans – less than half the capacity of Ed Smith Stadium – who bothered to show up.
The boos may have been a little misguided. Though the Reds offered to sign a long-term
lease if the facility was upgraded, local politicians would not commit the necessary $18 million for the project, and in 2007, voters declined a stadium tax hike. That prompted the Reds to take their show on the road.
I appreciate the verve of the Sarasotans, booing the politicians for declining to give money that the fans themselves voted not to give, but I wonder if they’ve forgotten that the Sarasota Reds still have to play 70 games in Ed Smith.
If they’re not careful, every night might turn into Sarasota County Little League Night.
Incidentally, the Dodgers are playing the Angels right now, and I just heard something I hope I never hear again: Mark Loretta is up now, batting for Manny Ramirez.