We have the makings of a good old-fashioned bidding war between Lee County, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Vero Beach to land the Boston Red Sox and/or the Baltimore Orioles as spring-training tenants. We have the makings of a good old-fashioned bidding war between Lee County, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Vero Beach to land the Boston Red Sox and/or the Baltimore Orioles as spring-training tenants. The Red Sox brass had talked with Sarasota regarding a $70-million complex at Payne Park, the team’s former spring home during the Ted Williams era, but those talks broke down after Sarasota officials demanded $10 million from the Red Sox to close a budget gap. Meanwhile, in an attempt to keep the Red Sox, Lee County officials are floating the idea of using proceeds from the county hotel tax to pay for a new complex. And both municipalities are talking with the Baltimore Orioles, albeit on a lower scale. Vero Beach, meanwhile, is holding out hope of landing the Orioles or the Red Sox, but Indian River County and Vero Beach officials really don’t have a lot to work with: the pair scraped together $12 million for Dodgertown improvements, and we don’t see a lot of appetite in Vero Beach to spend the $40 million or so it would take to basically rebuilt Holman Stadium. We have a more complete analysis of what each city is offering at Spring Training Online.
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