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Astros owner Jim Crane was at a meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, last night, and it sure looks like this whole new shared Spring Training complex thing is progressing. It’s still just in the proposal stage, technically, and the Jays have been saying the right things in terms of their agreement with Dunedin, which expires after the 2017 season. But they also, according to Crane late last month, “have committed and signed a letter of intent” to be a part of the project. And… well… look at those mock ups!

Crane, as you can hear him say in a video clip from the Palm Beach Post (which you can see at the bottom of this post), has been told the land in the image above is available– or at least can be made available– and explicitly states that it’s a two-team facility, which would presumably have one team using the west practice fields, and the other using the south-east.

“It’s a long-term commitment, for at least twenty years,” he also says of the project, while also adding that the Cardinals and the Marlins are behind the project, as they’re two teams who also have their facilities in the area, want more teams close by, and– according to Crane– could even opt out of their leases if more teams don’t come. So… y’know… if you ever wondered why there seems to be a lot of rubber stamping from local authorities going on in this process, that would probably be your answer.

You can see where the site is via Google Maps, and adjust your future vacation plans accordingly (hope you like golf and old people!). And you can see here how this would be a whole lot more convenient for everybody involved compared to the current setup, where the minor league complex is a ten minute drive (in clear traffic) from Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

So… yeah. As I say every time I post on this subject, it’s going to be disappointing to see the club leave the oddly charming Dunedin behind after so many years, but… uh… with precisely zero inside knowledge on this whatsoever, I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s pretty much totally going to happen.

As promised, here’s the clip:

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Image and interview clip via @joecapmarlins.

Comments (20)

  1. How cool would it would be to go to that middle school in the middle and have two MLB teams right next door to you for six weeks of the year?

  2. I can’t see any indoor training facilities here, maybe the drawing is just too small…

  3. I’m doing Dunedin this year to get my one taste of it, because really it is the last of its kind in spring training — no frills, you’re close to the action, feels very homely, etc. But I’m liking the looks of this, especially since the cousins I’d stay with are barely 20 minutes away.

    • I’m going too. Dunedin’s a charming quaint place. Clearwater Beach is close by and really nice and Tampa’s alright too. I’ll be sad to see them leave the Gulf coast.

      • The Pirates’ park in Bradenton, just south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast is smaller and charming, too, with just enough renovations to not be dumpy, And nestled right in a mellow neighborhood, so foul balls back over the home plate-side stands bang off car hoods at the auto mechanic across the street. A priceless feature! My personal favorite spring training park. Well worth checking out if one is in the area already.

  4. Have the Russians put nukes on Cuba again?

  5. bye bye trees!

  6. wouldn’t it suck to be almost on top of a highway? better to be a couple hundred metres away at least?

  7. red sox lost. woohoo!

  8. Autoplay videos? What century is this?

    • Just realized this. Didn’t do that in preview mode. Fuck. Wouldn’t have posted it if I’d know. Autoplay=the worst.

  9. I’m surprised the Jays would leave the West coast of Florida when all the other teams in their division are nearby. The team has squeezed every penny out of Dunedin and will be moving to another sucker town in Florida.

    • I think the issue with the facilities being so far apart was a pretty big one. Yes, there’s definitely a lot of sliminess in these sorts of deals, and I wouldn’t absolve the team of that, but they DO need new facilities, and if Dunedin wasn’t willing to contribute it, I see why they looked elsewhere. Plus, it’s not like being near the AL East teams really matters– and it’s not like they were that close anyway. The Red Sox in Fort Myers are a couple hours drive away– and that’s about the same as it will be from Palm Beach Gardens, only now they’re much closer to other teams. And they’ve done a favour to the teams that were already on the east coast and needed teams closer.

      Plus, the east coast is the fun coast anyway.

    • Also, I wonder if they are just as happy to not play divisional rivals “too often, too soon”. There have been some interesting Spring Training schedules in the past where front-line pitchers didn’t play in the “main” game. I’m not trying to overstate this – there are other possible reasons for this such as travel, veteran players’ preferences, etc. Still…

      We must be in the SW fields because they are paved and ready to roll out the ‘Turf. Get those knees and reflexes ready for Rogers Centre!

      Hah! Made ya look!

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