We’ve reported several times about efforts by the Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League) ownership seeking a move to Orlando, and now we have the details: the team is working on a ballpark plan witb Winter Park’s Rollins College.
Baseball is a big thing at Rollins College, but the team’s current home — Alfond Stadium at Harper-Shepherd Field — is a modest facility, to say the least. So the athletic department is floating a plan for a $11-million ballpark that would house both the Tars (an old term for a sailor) and the Manatees.
It’s an interesting plan. We’re not entirely sure $11 million is enough for a facility that meets Class A specs and still has room for the college program; after all, the FSL and NCAA seasons overlap by a couple of months. And there’s no financing at all behind the project, as the school will seek private investment as well. But if it happens, it will mean the return of professional baseball to the Orlando area — and by our reckoning, now that pro basebal is back in Portland, Orlando is the largest MSA not to host professional regular-season baseball, and Winter Park is a lovely little part of the greater Orlando area.
The fate of the Manatees’ current home, Space Coast Stadium, is in doubt as well: the Washington Nationals are negotiating for a new spring-training home, and if the Manatees defect as well, there’s little reason for the Viera ballpark to exist.
RELATED STORIES: Pro baseball an endangered species in Viera; Twins, Lee County negotiating over player dorms, naming rights at spring-training complex; Twins sign 30-year spring-training lease extension; Lee County: Twins spring-training improvements hinge on state grant;Twins present spring-training wish list to Lee County; Lee County to Nats: We really, really love you; If Nats leave Viera, will other teams follow?; Lee County commissioner: “50-50” chance Nats will move spring ops to Fort Myers; Lee County, Nats to meet about spring training; Lee County applying for state ballpark-improvement grant; Lerner: Fort Myers is tops on our spring-training wish list; Gammons: Nats present spring-training wish list to Lee County; Is Nats, Brevard County marriage over?; Nats go public with desire for new spring-training facility; Nats, Astros eying new Osceola County spring-training complex; Could Cards, Marlins leave Treasure Coast?; Kasten: Nats definitely looking for new spring home
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