Bryce Harper and his Washington Nationals teammates have a new spring training home in West Palm Beach.
Major League Baseball has said goodbye to Kissimmee and Viera for spring training and is welcoming back West Palm Beach to the fold after two decades of being dormant. Houston and Washington will start playing games at the new ballpark next week.
For Florida there will be no economic gain just a shifting of money and the money that is being used to build the West Palm Beach ballpark will come from a hotel-motel bed tax. So, even though the two teams will pay a sizable sum of cash more than a million dollars annually each over a 30-year lease, the move for taxpayers isn’t really much of a bargain but for the two baseball team owners, they could rake in more cash in more affluent Palm Beach County than in the Orlando area as in the Astros case or the Space Coast area for the Nationals owners’ case. Spring training is supposed to be a financial bonanza for local communities and states but that doesn’t necessary appear to be the case. When Arizona went after Major League Baseball owners to move their operations to the state and Arizona was quite successful in getting team owners to leave Florida, there was a fund designed to pay off spring training facilities. The problem now is that fund has dried up and Arizona is scrambling to pay down the debt at the complexes. The next team that will move is Atlanta with franchise owners hoping to get a deal in Sarasota leaving behind Walt Disney World. Both Florida and Arizona claim spring training brings in big money but the only thing certain is baseball owners will be looking for the best possible taxpayer’s supported deal in either state and are willing to leave behind empty complexes.