Indian River County commissioners had set a 5 p.m. Monday deadline for the Orioles to accept the offer they made to renovate and upgrade the Dodgertown complex, vacated by the Los Angeles Dodgers last spring, according to the Vero Beach Journal. The Orioles responded to the deadline with demands that were substantially more. County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan called the Orioles response “an insult,” the Journal reported.
Officials there say they have other suitors for Dodgertown for uses other than a major league spring training home. This is bad news for the Washington Nationals, as Vero Beach is one of the closest locations to their Viera spring training home and will mean several less short road trips on the schedule. Sarasota is still in play — the Cincinnati Reds are moving out of their complex there for Arizona in 2010 — but officials there are balking as well about the Orioles demands. The Red Sox complex in Fort Myers is a possibility, as Boston will be eventually moving to a new facility in another part of the county.
But Dodgertown was a great location, and the Orioles again have managed to negotiate their way out of another spring training home, as they have so many times before. This is why they have been in the antiquated old Yankee complex since 1996. They are looking to leave there because of a dispute with the FAA — Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport is next door — over rent increases and costs of any projected expansion.
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Monday, Dec. 22, and Tuesday, Dec. 23, from 4 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com