The Milwaukee Brewers are thinking about opting out of the team's Maryvale Baseball Park lease in Phoenix and moving spring-training operations to the Tampa Bay area.
The team has the ability to opt out of its Maryvale baseball lease after the 2015 season and beyond. With the Toronto Blue Jays on the way out around that time, a shift would make some sense. From the Phoenix Business Journal:
“We are reviewing all of our options and have not ruled anything out at this point,” said Bob Quinn, executive vice president for the baseball team....
“When the Brewers’ original 15-year agreement expired, the city agreed to a 10-year extension that took effect in 2013. This extension gives the Brewers the option of leaving after the 2015 season, and every season thereafter, with one year’s notice. As part of the extension, the city invested $1.5 million in improvements to the major league and minor league training facilities, which were just completed this past off-season,” the city said in an e-mailed statement.
The Brewers could essentially replace the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, though it's not clear whether the Brewers would be happy with Florida Auto Exchange Stadium and the Engelbert training complex. Dunedin officials, as well as reps from surrounding areas, had discussed building a new complex for the Blue Jays before the team announced it was pursuing a new training site in Palm Beach Gardens with the Houston Astros.
The Brewers' status as a Cactus League team is an accident of history. The team began life as the Seattle Pilots and naturally trained in Phoenix because of proximity, but after the team's first season it was sold out of bankruptcy to Bud Selig, who kept the team's training facilities in Phoenix because he owned a Scottsdale residence. There have been talk about the Brewers moving spring operations to Florida in the past: it certainly would be an easier drive for fans, as Tampa is about 500 miles closer than Phoenix.
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