If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that while the Phillies are my first love, I’ve grown quite find of my home town, Dunedin Blue Jays. In fact, we would never have found our current home if we hadn’t gotten lost on the ways to a Phillies/Jays spring training game years ago.
Last year, the Governor of Florida announced a program to provide baseball teams tax money in order refurbish stadiums or build new ones. More money would be given if two teams shared a facility. Dunedin, whose stadium was last refurbished in the 1990s and whose training fields are four miles from the stadium, jumped at the money and planned to take the tax money and go together with the Astros and move operations to the East Coast. Reports were that the deal for the Jays to move was 95% done.
As a resident of Dunedin, it’s easy to see how important spring training is to our little town. Starting just after the first of the year, the snowbirds come. Restaurants that were only partially full in December are now full. In the evenings the sidewalks are full of tourists strolling and browsing the shops. Quite a few of the cars have Ontario plates.
For months, talk of the Jays leaving was a top topic of discussion, even in the hair salon! What would happen if they left? Would another team come in? The Brewers? The Nationals?
Today, The Toronto Star ran an article with the title, “Blue Jays Likely to Keep Dunedin as Spring Training Home” You can read the article HERE
At eleven this morning, even restaurants downtown were touting the article on their Facebook pages. By noon, I ran into a neighbor who said he heard about it at the community center. By two, I had an email from another neighbor to all the members of our neighborhood association.
There’s something special about baseball in Dunedin. I love walking a few blocks and watching baseball when the Threshers are out of town (or better yet, when the Threshers play the Jays). Yes, the stadium is outdated.
Yes, the seats are the most uncomfortable seats ever made and yes, the parking is limited.
BUT there is something to love…the staff who recognize you after just a few games, the between innings emcee who actually LOVES his job and is great with kids, the promotions like the diamond dash, the food which is consistently good (and if you eat at stadiums as much as we do, you appreciate good stadium food) and sometimes you just appreciate that small town feeling. I know I do.
So today is a good day. A glimmer of hope or is that Blue Jay blue?