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Do you care that the Orioles are leaving Fort Lauderdale?


I’m back, a day after leaving you high, and more important, dry for a day.

Sorry, things have gotten a little out of control the past couple days. I was hoping to check out Pete Yorn down at the Ram’s Head this week, but duty called. (If there is anyone out there who saw him, let me know how it went. I’m a musical sucker for singer/songwriters from New Jersey).

I’ve been pretty busy with the news that the Orioles are leaving Fort Lauderdale and moving to Sarasota for the upcoming spring (and the 29 after that).

I’ve only been to Sarasota once and it was for a Josh Hamilton press conference and a game. So I wasn’t exactly hanging out at the beach or anything. I hear it’s a nice area – and I also hear it’s not Lauderdale.

From a selfish standpoint, I am sort of torn. I have spent parts of the past nine winters/springs in Lauderdale, and I knew the place pretty well.

I had my favorite restaurant, favorite dive bar, favorite pizza place and a joint where I could get my hair cut. I was all set. But the flip side is that there were no other teams close to Lauderdale. So we spent a huge chunk of our time driving up Interstate 95 or across Alligator Alley, and I won’t miss that.

From Sarasota, you can reach about six parks in the time it takes to get from Lauderdale to Fort Myers. And that will be great.

From an organizational standpoint, this is something the Orioles had to do. They’ll basically be getting a state-of-the-art facility after one year at Ed Smith Stadium. An easy penance considering the dump they played in back in Lauderdale. And they won’t have to pay any of the primary start-up costs for the new place.

More important, they’ll have their minor-league and major-league camps located in one town. That is a huge improvement over the three-hour drive between the two camps. Now, veterans can go over to the minors if they need some extra work and the youngsters can come over to get a taste of big-league camp.

So overall, it’s a great move for the Orioles, even if part of me will miss my favorite blackened mahi mahi sandwich in Lauderdale.

But I wonder if you, Orioles fans, care. I know those of you in Florida do, but what about the rest of you? Did you go to spring training? Will you again now that it isn’t based in Lauderdale? Does the season start for you only when the club comes north?

Daily Think Special: Do you care that the Orioles are leaving Lauderdale? Why or why not?

Bonus Think Special: For those of you that know Florida, what’s Sarasota like?

Comments

i was at spring training. i dont care too much. i was also at Yorn show. it was epic.

....don't know the place and I don't care. The fact that they will be playing in a better facility and have the minor leaguers is the key here. Free agents take note of these things ya know.

That it's taken so long is a disgrace and shows how inept the business side of this organization was/is run. If Andy pulled anything off during his tenure here, it was convincing the business misfits to finally move the spring facility.

Have you started the pool on when Tillman gets called up? If not, give me tuesday, July 28th. Gimme a cup of coffee to go please....

Dan-I care that O's get proper spring training facilities they badly needed after 20 years of nomadic and spartan conditions . The O's also get to shed the label of being only ML team without combined Major/Minor camps.

We have not attended O's spring training yet , but hopefully Sarasota will be our first O's spring visit .

sarasota is like a CIRCUS

I don't like the move at all. I live in Port St. Lucie which means I can see the O's 3 times when they play the Mets before they head north. That will not happen when they move to the other side. I am 5 minutes from Tradition Field. During the season I resort to watching them on the Internet because South Florida doesn't recognize the O's as major league, so no T.V.!!!!

I don't like it at all. The only time I get to see the O's is when they play the Mets at Tradition Field, 5 minutes from my house. That won't happen next March!! South Florida doesn't recognize the O's as a major league team, so no T.V. during the season!!!!

Dan -- I have no opinion on the spring training site, whereas I have about a snowball's chance in Florida of ever seeing them play there. From what you wrote, it sounds like the right move for the club.

I did want to share an idea with you and all the other barkeeps in Baltimore. I can't claim it as my own, but I'll pass it along. What's the price of a domestic draft these days --about $2? I rarely go to real bars, so I don't really know. What I'm suggesting is a Felix Pie Happy Hour Special. The customer pays whatever Pie's batting average is for a beer. For instance, if Pie's hitting .220, a beer cost $2.20; at .194, it's $1.94. This way a decline in his average won't hurt the fans so much, and if he gets hot, nobody will mind paying a couple extra pennies for a beer. Perhaps restaurant owners will want to tie steak prices to Hill's ERA.

Okay, I'm being mean again, but I thought it was funny.

You'll love the Gulf side as well as Sarasota......great town, great places to eat and shop.....the players, families, girlfriends will love it as well.

I am thrilled the O's are moving their spring training facility to Sarasota only for the fact that it is much closer to Tampa than Lauderdale is. My dad lives in Tampa so room and board is cheap when I visit in March, leaving the winter cold of Maine behind. Go O's!!

I live in Boca and I guess I could walk to the Ft. Lauderdale stadium if I had to. It may take me 16 hours, but it's not too hot here in the summer. The west coast of Florida (Sarasota) is about 10 years behind the east coast of Florida in development, population and roads. People there are mainly from mid America and tend to say things like "pop' for soda and "gosh darn" when really mad. Lots of Dennys
Applebees and Red Lobsters also. I have been an Orioles fan since 1954 and rank their leaving Ft. Lauderdale right up there with the death of President Millard Fillmore in 1874. The loss of a AAA baseball team is easily handled. Now I have more time for early bird specials and buying white socks to wear with my sandals.

Dan,
Now that the complex is in one location, I'll be going to O's spring training. I've been going to other S/T sites for the past several years.

I am stoked that the birds are moving 20 minutes up the road from my home in Venice. I've lived in Lauderdale before but have been in Sarasota County for 18 years now. Sarasota is a definite upgrade in almost every way. After one season here you'll be wishing that they had done this a long time ago. Where do I sign up for my spring training season tickets?

After being a season ticket holder for over 20 years, I could care less if the Orioles leave Baltimore.
I as sooooo done with the Orioles Losers and over paid MLB players

I wouldn't care if the Orioles were leaving Baltimore. Afterall, we haven't had a representative major league baseball team here for years anyway.

Sarasota has a top 5 rated beach on Siesta key and a decent village to get a few drinks or brewskies. Aver age is 67 and you have to look for nightlife after 10 PM. Best areas are Gulf Gate with a good selection of bars and clubs and downtown Main St. Fishing is good year round and March weather is spectacular. Glad to have the Orioles and there fans, welcome.

I think you will find the travel even more convenient than you said:

Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers 130 min

From Sarasota
Pirates - Bradenton 30 minutes
Rays - Charlotte 45 minutes
Yankees - Tampa 60 minutes
Phillies - Clearwater 60 minutes
Blue Jays - Dunedin 70 minutes
Red Sox - Ft. Myers 90 minutes
Twins - Ft. Myers 90 minutes
Tigers - Lakeland 90 minutes
Astos - Kissimmee 110 minutes
Braves - Disney 120 minutes

Plus, Sarasota is a great place. You will be quite happy with the move. The pictures of the new stadium (see Sarasota Herald Tribune) are very impressive. I can't wait. It is three blocks from my office!

I could care less where Spring training is held. I believe this is only a story because the media is upset they can't go to Wet Willy's any longer.

Sarasota: I hear that it is a great place to get your pinocle game on and/or get an early dinner for $5.

I live south of Sarasota, just about 10 minutes from the Rays' spring training site. If they can transform Ed Smith as well as they have the old Rangers' spring training home, it will be a gem.

I have been going to spring training every non-strike year since the Bobby Maduro Miami days. Ft. Lauderdale has been my favorite for the restaurants and other activities. As far as the stadium goes, the only good thing to say is that I've never been anywhere with so much leg room between the rows.

I've been an O's fan for many years, lived in Md & Pa, traveled to Memorial & Camden Yards, also travel to Spring Training at Tampa/St Pete and Ft Lauderdale for years. Now a resident of central FL and for the last 10 years have spent a month in Lauderdale for ST. Am I happy about the move. Yes. But this move is not about the fans, it's all about the team, which will be in a much improved ST atmosphere. The Lauderdale facility had very few good points, lots of negatives. Anything that's better for my O's is the bottom line.

You'll love Sarasota and we will be happy to share our hang outs with you. Some great places for live music and chilling by the beach. Sarasota County government even ownes a biker bar called Snook Haven- they bought it to preserve old Florida and not let it fall to development. See ya'll this winter.

They should move to Tucson. Great facility and weather.

I believe that true O's fans will really enjoy their new spring training site in Sarasota. I have lived in the Venice, Florida area for the last 3 years after living in the Baltimore metro area all of my life. I watched the O's twice in the last 2 years at Ft. Lauderdale. It is hard to believe how we ever got involved in spring training there. That stadium and surrounding facilities was a total dump. The Twins and the Red Sox have great facilities in Ft. Myers. Once we level the Ed Smith Stadium after one year in Sarasota and erect a new state of art stadium and facilities - I believe we will finally have what we deserve after many lousy years in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area.

Anything the Birds can do to get off I95 and out of the craziness that is South Florida traffic can only improve things for the team and visitors who care more about baseball than, well, other South Florida attractions.

I-75 isn't much fun in season, but it can't be worse than I-95.

I have never been to Ft. Lauderdale, but the greater Sarasota area is a great place to live or visit.

I suspect you'll find much more to do than shop and eat. The Keys (Longboat, Siesta, Casey and Manasota) offer phenomenal recreational opportunities.

In addition, the County is in the process of completing a rails to trails project that will be the envy of all.

Absolutely!

I live in St Pete and am thrilled that the O's will only be 45 minutes away. Plus, Sarasota is a very nice area.

Can wait to see Ed Smith next year and the new Ed in 2011. Spent the last three springs in Lauderdale and the stadium was a complete joke for the fans. Also very happy we didn't end up in Dodgertown.

Glad the O's are coming (finally). I live in North Port...about 40 mins. away from the O's new facility...and will surely attend a few of the games. I'm originally from western PA...but became an Oriole fan (Wild Bill...Section 33, I believe) when I worked and lived in Baltimore area for 11 years. I gotta say, I have become a Tampa Bay Rays fan...especially since they just moved their spring training facilities to just 10 mins. from my home (Port Charlotte). I used to work in Sarasota...and go see the Reds when the Pirates were playing them (Bradenton...just up the street from Sarasota). BTW...Cal Ripken owns the High A Team (Charlotte StoneCrabs....a Rays affiliate...in Port Charlotte.) Gotta love Cal. Looking forward to the move!

Nice to see so many Sunshine Staters here today. That the Orioles are leaving Lauderdale is irrelevant to me since I don't go to ST myself, and if I did I wouldn't be too much taking advantage of the scenic attractions anyway. Not that I wouldn't be interested in them, but they wouldn't so much care for me so why bother. Besides, I can always stay at Connolly's and get my drink on.

As for the team, well, I am glad to see them making the move to consolidate their operations in one place. And to make the needed improvements to the facilities. And to be closer to the other teams. The less time spent on the road, the more time that can be put to better use elsewhere. It has to ultimately strengthen the organization's performance on the field.

Oh, by the way - Roch says to ask you about Jester's. What's the deal with everyone else sharing some of their good ST stories from Lauderdale but you holding out on us? I know, the BEST stories are the ones that they can't share in a family space. But still, you can do better than what you have shared so far. Do we have to get you all tanked up first?

It's my understanding that the players and reporters are not as enthused but Really, how good has Ft. Lauderdale been for the team? The Team has sucked for so long that the Giant Sucking Sound Perot would hear is actually the vacuum caused by the O's suckiness during the spring

FYI - looks like AirTran is the only non-stop airline from BWI to Sarasota.

Although Ft. Lauderdale Satdium is only a 30 min drive from where I live, I think this is an outstanding move for the team. In a year, they'll have a respectable facility, and they'll be able to play regularly against their division rivals. I will miss those bleacher seats in Ft. Laudy that put me so close to the players, but I'll just catch them when they play the Marlins and Cardinals in Jupiter.

Do I care the Orioles are moving...not from the standpoint of going to games, but having the minor league camp close, having much better facilities in 2 years and the associated benefits, yes, this is great.

I absolutely couldn't care less about Ft. Lauderdale....Where the team practices in the Spring is of no importance to me.
If I was riding a bus down there to see them in the Spring yes...but I'm not.
I want to read about the moves that make this team better.

Air Tran might be the only N/S to Sarasota but I'm pretty sure SWA still flies into Tampa and you'll need a car anyway.

Great news for the team. I don't care about where they are, just the quality of the facilities, and the O's facilities have been a joke for years.

Personally, I think it stinks that the O's are leaving Fort Lauderdale. I guess I'm only saying that b/c I have gone down to see the O's there the past 4 years and have been able to stay in a condo that my family has. Yeah the stadium was old and inadequate and may not have all the amenities for the fans, but in a way i think it was quaint and was sort of a throwback to the old days. Yeah it may not of had the major league work out stuff for the O's, but I don’t know why we should really care if a player who makes over 1 million a year has to lift in a weight room that it located in a tent vs a state of the art facility. It not like the average fan will be able to see/use either of these facilities. And its not like a state of the art facility in spring training will make a difference for the O’s anyway.

I went to Sarasota a few years and went to a Reds game there. Stadium was old but fine. Fans were mostly old too. oh well. I've also seen others on other blogs that Fort Lauderdale has its rough areas, but I remember driving to the old Reds stadiums and going to some rough areas as well, so I think that’s a mute point.

Back to Fort Lauderdale. I love it down there. There is tons to do down there and you really have to try hard to find nothing to do. Shopping, food, beaches, bars...Fort Lauderdale has it all. I think all Sarasota has for it is that is where Macho Man Randy Savage was from.

Does anyone who is not living in Fla care? Not for one second do I care other then it is good for the O's to be closer to their minor league camp.

I have been an Orioles fan since the International League Orioles. I cheered many time when they were a good team. I was proud that they were a Ist class team. I now don't care what they do. My grand kids don't even remember when the Orioles were a good team. Maybe Indianapolis is looking for a major league team.

We spend the winter 35 minutes south of Sarasota. We would attend the 2 games they played in Ft. Meyer, and attend a couple of games that the Cinncinati Reds played at Ed Smith against American League East teams. Truly I can scratch this wish off of my bucket list. I've dreamed of this for years.

I'm downright thrilled that the Orioles' major & minor leaguers will finally be able to spend spring training TOGETHER in the same city. No more Fort Lauderdale dump. No more FAA pushing the franchise around. Now they can face teams like the Blue Jays, Rays, Phillies and Evil Inc. in the spring. It's about time!

It's amazing to me how many people who profess to not care or dislike a team will write to a blog about that team. Obviously they care or they wouldn't be writing in. As for the move, I live in Salt Lake City now. I was hoping the O's would move to Tuscon.

I used to live in Vero Beach and love Dodgertown. Ft. Lauderdale Stadium is a dump. The facilities in Sarasota are a much much better fit.

I am a displaced Baltimoron who lives in Palm Beach. I look forward to catching the O's in Ft. Lauderdale every spring. Sarasota is a long drive for a ball game.

If the City of Ft. Lauderdale had sincerely negotiated a new training complex and if the had FAA stopped being @$$wipes and asking 1.3 million a year from the club for maintenance of the Ft. Lauderdale Executive airport, the O's would be in Ft. Lauderdale for 30 more years.

Good morning Minkin!!!

Here is what I know to be true. The Orioles current spring training facilities are so poor that other clubs have refused to allow even their minor leaguers to play there. Second, the Orioles are among the most injury prone in baseball with nearly every minor league prospect having some major injury on their way to the show. Finally, the O's dismal record on Sundays, August, and September, would lead me to draw the conclusion they are among the poorest conditioned teams in the game. Maybe a new spring training home will reverse some of these putrid facts.

You may like to know that the place that other teams would not send their minor leaguers to play Orioles' farmhands was not in Fort Lauderdale, but in Sarasota.

I see the need to move; but I wish it had been to Vero Beach. The flight to Fort Lauderdale was apiece of cake; but I suppose going to Tampa won't be all that bad. Now they'll get to lose even more often to the Red Sox and Yankees .. how exciting! Hopefully there is an unknown to this move that includes Peter Angelos selling the team. Wouldn't that be an early Christmas present for all of Baltimore's disheartened baseball fans.

You're right Big Kahuna,but it wasn't Ed Smith Stadium,it was Twin Lakes Park.

I also can't wait till next year to buy my season tickets.I only got to see them when they came to Ft. Myers,and they didn't bring the starters with them.

Anyone who has been to Siesta Key Beach knows there isn't another beach in Florida that compares to it.

Sarasota is a great place with anything you want.Food entertainment,shopping and the Gulf of Mexico is the greatest fishing hole in the world.

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