Because the Orioles have had many, many “false alarms” over the past 15 years, I’m personally taking this one with a grain of salt but several media outlets are reporting that they’ll finally be moving their spring training facilities from the dump in Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota beginning February 2010.
Here are the initial details according to the Herald Tribune of Sarasota:
SARASOTA – Sarasota County and the Baltimore Orioles have reached a tentative agreement for the team to do spring training at Ed Smith Stadium for the next 30 years.
An agreement that will go before the Sarasota County Commission on Wednesday would bring the team to Sarasota for spring training starting in 2010.
The $31.2 million deal will be funded with local tourism tax revenue and more than $7 million in state money.
The agreement calls for the Orioles to pay all operating and maintenance costs at Ed Smith for the term of the lease.
The county and Orioles will contribute equally to a capital maintenance and repair fund.
The deal also includes:
A proposed Orioles and Cal Ripken Baseball youth academy at Twin Lakes Park.
And promotion of Sarasota County in the Baltimore Washington metro area.
“This agreement aligns with our economic development strategy in terms of maintaining Sarasota County as a destination that folks will want to visit, preserve jobs in the service industry and create new ones through the renovation of Ed Smith Stadium as well as gain exposure to new markets through the Orioles television network,” said Dave Bullock, the county’s principal negotiator with the team.
The county and Orioles deal is contingent upon the City of Sarasota approving an environmental indemnity clause in its interlocal agreement which will transfer Ed Smith Stadium to the county. City officials will meet at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 at Sarasota City Hall to discuss the agreement.