The Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner has made public his desire to leave the Space Coast Stadium in a recent Washington Post interview, citing logistical problems with playing other teams in the Grapefruit League.
But this leave one to ask, if these logistical problems have always existed, why is it that Mark Lerner now wants to leave? Oddly enough, this desire to leave coincides with the announcement to ESPN that the Naionals have signed up left-handed pitcher Oliver Perez who was released from his contract by the New York Mets on Monday.
Brevard County Manager Howad Tipton was quoted by the Florida Today Newspaper as saying, “We’re going to do all we can to keep the Nationals as part of the Brevard community….But Job 1 and our first priority is to make sure that the Nationals know of our commitment to them. “
But is there really a commitment by Brevard County residents to the Washington Nationals? In the square dance world of players repeatedly changing teams, and teams changing stadiums, how can the community ever be expected to have an allegiance to a particular spring training team?
This lack of allegiance to a particular spring break team is not unique to Brevard County alone, however. When people from all over the country move to Florida, they also bring with them their loyalty to the team they watched back home. In many instances, baseball fans could care less which team occupies their local spring training complex, as long as they get to see their home town favorite play there once a year.
So if Mark’s logistical argument seems disingenuous, and Howard’s purported community commitment statement seems odd, then what really appears to be happening is the song and dance that occurs between teams and stadiums all over the country prior to re-negotiations where the local taxpayers and fans almost always lose.
Hopefully, when Mark starts saying “Show me the money Howard! Show me the money,” Howard will continue to say “No!” (at least until Mark starts dancing like Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry McGuire.)