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?