The Florida Fire Frogs (High A; Florida State League) will play the 2020 season at CoolToday Park, spring training home of MLB parent Atlanta Braves, but their future beyond the coming season remains unclear.
After relocating from Brevard County, the Fire Frogs played the 2017-2019 seasons at Osceola County Stadium, but the door was shut on a return for 2020. Under its original deal with Osecola County, Fire Frogs owners agreed to a three-year lease that included 23 one-year options that could be exercised by the team annually. However, the team accepted a half-million buyout from the county last year, facilitating a new use for Osceola County Stadium as the home of professional soccer’s Orlando City B (USL League One) beginning this spring.
Just where the team would play 2020 has been an open question for months, but that is settled with Minor League Baseball’s announcement to owners Wednesday that the team will spend this season at CoolToday Park in North Port. The one-year move came with a six-figure territorial payment to the nearby Charlotte Stone Crabs (High A; Florida State League).
CoolToday Park is not being positioned as the Fire Frogs’ long-term home, however. The arrangement allowing the team to play there covers only 2020, and there are doubts about the future status of the Fire Frogs because of the proposal by MLB to eliminate 42 MiLB teams, including the Fire Frogs, as well as an ongoing riff within the team’s ownership. Should the team avoid contraction after the 2020 season, the preferred option remains to move to Cocoa’s Coastal Florida Sports Park (the former Coca Expo Stadium). Co-owner David Freeman recently confirmed his interest in placing the Fire Frogs there as early as 2021.
CoolToday Park hosted one game for the Braves at the end of spring training in 2019. The upcoming spring 2020 will be the first full season of spring training operations for the ballpark and surrounding complex.
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