O’s to Sarasota? Sure. Maybe. Definitely. Who knows…

July 21, 2009 | Drew Forrester

This announcement today that a “tentative agreement” between Sarasota County and the Orioles has been reached to move the O’s spring training site to Ed Smith Stadium is about as final as Brett Favre’s retirement. 

Trust me, the deal is NEVER done with the O’s until the bats, balls, gloves and media credentials (for some) arrive at the park next February.

A handshake doesn’t even count when it comes to the folks involved with the baseball team.  Just ask the people who made a deal for a downtown hotel seven years ago and woke up the next day to find the deal wasn’t a deal after all. 

Ask Sidney Ponson, who THOUGHT he had a guaranteed contract until he was cut and not paid the remainder of  his owed money.  

Ask just about anyone who has been at the negotiating table with the baseball franchise.  Ask Van Halen, in fact.

The deal is NEVER, EVER done until money changes hands and a lawyer gets his bill paid.  

Do I think the O’s are going to Sarasota?  Probably.  

But if I’m the folks in charge of putting this deal together in Sarasota County, would I be out at the Florida Chop House tonight ordering the $48 12 oz. filet and a $180 bottle of 2001 Silver Oak Cabernet?  

Not on your life, chief.

Because tomorrow, they might get a phone call from Alan Rifkin or someone else “representing” the team and the voice on the other end says, “Oh, yeah, just ONE more thing.”

This, of course, is a necessity.  Making pro ballplayers play and prepare for a season in the equivalent of Herring Run Park is – and has been – unacceptable.  It was utterly hilarious last March when players – minor leaguers, draft picks and major leaguers – spoke out against the set-up in Ft. Lauderdale despite the fact that the club ORDERED them to not speak to the media about it.  The standing joke amongst some folks I know who are associated with the club is that Mike Costanzo is still shuttling around on a minor league bus and watching Bull Durham for the 13th time this year because of his comments. 

I hope it’s a done deal.

For everyone’s sake, especially the players. 

I particularly hope it’s a done deal for the good people in Sarasota.

I really hope they don’t learn the ultimate lesson about dealing with the baseball team in Baltimore.