If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you will know that I have been invested in the Blue Jays staying in their spring-training home of Dunedin, Florida. I live only a few blocks from the stadium and have served on the Dunedin Stadium Committee for more than four years. I have sat through numerous meetings, city meetings, hearings and spoken before city council-all so I can say:
It’s finally done!
It’s been a long road and the Jays mean a lot to the city of Duneden, this is the only spring-training home they’ve ever known-they’ve been here for 42 years. By the time this deal is done they’ll be here another 25. They’re the only team in major league baseball who hasn’t moved and they won’t be moving for a long, long time.
The city council voted last night and the county voted their approval this morning.
You can read an article outlining the details of the deal HERE and watch the city council meeting HERE.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I reported that much to our surprise they did not release a workgroup list this year. A workgroup list is a rough list of what teams might be as usually the players who will be on the AAA team are in group 1, AA group 2 and so on.
So today we were surprised by a “master roster” of all the players in minor league camp. There’s no “order” to it other than name or position so it’s not of much value to try to figure out where players may end up when the season begins.
So here it is:
Here’s a clickable copy that may be easier to read:
Four long years. Tonight was the culmination of four years work to create a a deal that was fair and affordable that would keep the Toronto Blue Jays Spring training home here in Dunedin.
Dunedin isn’t a big city. There’s only 35,000 people in town. We don’t have high rise hotels on the beach or a shopping mall. Our beach is a state park, our “mall” is a string of mom and pop shops on a quaint Main Street. The Jays are a big part of what brings tourists into our little hamlet just north of Clearwater.
We are the only spring training home the Jays have ever had. 40 Years. Canadian fans have bought property to come here year after year to see “Canada’s Team”.
How could such a small town provide world class year round facilities?
It took 4 years of negotiations but we have a deal. Both sides gave a little, both sides walk away winners.
The city will contribute $5.6 million, the State of Florida $13.7, Pinellas County’s “Bed head tax” (a tax on hotel rooms that the revenues generated can be used ONLY for tourism projects) $46 million with the team the remaining $20 million.
We could get into the economics of the tourism that spring training brings in (more than $90 million county-wide) or how just the announcers saying “Dunedin” during spring training broadcasts is worth $5 million alone…
But having the Jays here is more than that.
It’s how most kids see their first MLB baseball game right in town, it’s how the Jays have charity bowling games in summer, or how they let the local high school baseball team play on their major league caliber fields or how the Jays help the little league have first class fields to play on.
It’s what has been termed a “40 year marriage” and tonight we renewed those vows for at least another 25 years.
It was personal for me. I found my house because I came here to go to a Phillies and Jays game and we got lost. We walked through downtown Dunedin and on to the stadium…on the way we fell in love. We’ve been here a little over five years. I’ve been on the Stadium Committee over four years having been appointed by the former mayor.
It’s been a long road. Tonight was the beginning of the end of that long road. We still have a few more steps to go, but the highest hurdle has been jumped and I am relieved.
As a blogger and Phillies fan, this has been one of the most difficult years. There has been very little information released by the team as to whom they have released. They have not been forthcoming with any of this information.
In fact, the final rosters were not even made available to the general public. I luckily have a number of eyes on the inside who provided a copy of the roster I posted earlier.
Baseball Ross and I have spent the last hour or so pouring over all the rosters that have been released this year and compared it to the final assignments to come up with a list of players that are “Missing in Action”. I hesitate to say released as there is no official word and for all we know the player could have been sent back to the Dominican academy or retired and it’s not fair to say “released”. So here is the list of players that are no longer on any of the rosters.