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Palm Bay explores new ballpark

The Treasure Coast city is exploring funding a new ballpark, but landing a team is dependent on the Brevard County Manatees leaving the market.

Palm Bay (Fla.) Mayor John Mazziotti has formed an exploratory committee to look at funding a new ballpark for a Florida State League team, a move dependent on the Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League), whose ownership has been exploring new-ballpark options in the greater Orlando area.

The move to bring pro baseball to Palm Bay is more advanced than this article suggests and involves some current FSL team officials. Regular-season baseball hasn't exactly taken off at Space Coast Stadium; the Manatees struggle to draw even with some smart and energetic folks in the front office, and Palm Bay is considered to be the stronger market in terms of interest in baseball, with a large Little League program in place.

Still, it's a worry Mazziotti may be thinking small; he cites McNair Field, the home of the Forest City Owls (summer collegiat; Coastal Plain League) as a blueprint. It's a bad one if he wants to attract pro baseball: while the ballpark is nice, it doesn't come close to meetng pro standards. A Class A ballpark these days will run you between $8 million and $12 million at the least; talk of a 1,500-seat ballpark won't fly. We're sure the folks involved on this on the baseball side will clue in the mayor on the economic realities of pro baseball.

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