The Pirates have begun "preliminary discussions" with the Reds about building a joint sports complex in Sarasota. The Reds facility use contract expires in 2008 in Sarasota and the Pirates facility use contract in Bradenton expires in 2011, so unless the City of Bradenton is going to let the Pirates bail, I don’t see this happening anytime soon.
However, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the installation of lights at McKechnie Field over the last year in Bradenton.
First, the cost was estimated at over $1MM back in April last year and funding was approved by the Bradenton Tourism Council. That approval was based on two factors:
The Pirates would extend their facility use contract with the city for an additional 15 years; and
Funding for the lights would come from an in-place 4% tourism tax which already funds renovations at the stadium.
When the Tourism Council presented their recommendation to the City Council, it was tabled and has yet to resurface that I can find.
Then in October, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston came out and said the city was against the Tourism Council’s funding plan and they were talking with the Pirates about getting it done ‘other ways’.
Now the Cinci Post article.
I don’t know if the City of Bradenton and the Pirates have worked anything out the last few months or not. There hasn’t been a press release in Florida I could find and Dejan’s article last month simply said:
"The 68-room dormitory at Pirate City, closed since May because of mold infestation, will be torn down and replaced by next spring training, according to Trevor Gooby, the Pirates’ director of Florida operations… Gooby said the plan of the Bradenton government — which owns the complex — could include lights for nearby McKechnie Field, the only stadium in the Grapefruit League limited to day games, as well as a fifth practice field for Pirate City." — emphasis added
Seems to me the Pirates are simply telling the City of Bradenton ‘No lights.. no Pirates.. c-ya". Sound familiar? Yeah.. it has a certain Marlin ring tone to it, doesn’t it? "No stadium.. no Marlins.. c-ya".
More on this as it develops from emails I have out.
Thanks to Reds blogger Red Hot Mama for the tip. Check her site out.. whoa!