Photo Credit: FineArtAmerica.com
I can’t fault the editors at Sportsnet for going with the sexy angle in giving a title to Jeff Blair’s latest, Unless Bautista, Encarnacion lower their demands they’re gone after 2016, but that’s hardly all that his post was about.
For me the most important bit came at the very end, after Blair ran through the Jose and Edwin stuff, a bit on how Troy Tulowitzki might be really, really good (hint: he is), a section on scouts struggling with the notion of sending Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen (because they’re so utterly enamored with his stuff), and how the Jays’ backup catcher situation (and organizational depth) is still… not good.
It was after all that (but before an interesting nugget about the current Ken Williams fiasco in Chicago and the Jays’ interest in him last winter) that he tells us not to worry so much about the club’s future in Dunedin. “It would be a major shock if a deal isn’t struck before the end of the regular season,” he says.
Well, unless you’re a taxpayer in Dunedin or Pinellas County, I suppose. But actually, the city seems awfully determined to keep the Jays and — more importantly — our sweet delicious tourism dollars.
Dunedin is quaint in a Florida kind of way, and as weird as the setup is there, you’ve at least got the Yankees and Phillies close, and it’s not terribly far to the Tigers in Lakeland, or the Pirates in Bradenton, or the Orioles in Sarasota, as well. Plus, a lot of Jays fans have long and deep ties to the area already, and many players make their homes there already. The fact that they’re wanted certainly helps too — Shapiro discussed with Blair on his radio show last week that when Cleveland moved out of Winter Haven under his watch in 2008, there were definitely not the same feelings.
It’s not perfect, but there’s a lot to like about it, despite disadvantages like the fact that the team doesn’t have enough real estate to be housed at a single complex. According to Blair, that’s not about to change, either:
The organization, city of Dunedin, and Pinellas County have made progress on a plan that would refurbish Florida Auto Exchange Stadium while building a new 365-day training and sports science centre at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex, the site of the organization’s minor-league facility.
He adds that “all sides seem to have decided that logistics weigh against making the spring training stadium the focal point of training and rehabilitation.”
I can live with that!
Of course, I’m not the one being asked to ride the buses or make umpteen trips across the state over the course of six weeks.