The return of Major League Baseball spring training to Fort Myers’ City of Palms Park is a considerable long shot with no teams openly expressing interest, according to a Lee County Commissioner exploring options for the property deserted this offseason by the Boston Red Sox.
John Manning says he’s heard second-hand that two teams — one currently training in Arizona (we’re guessing Milwaukee), one currently training in Florida (we’re guessing Houston) — might be searching for a new spring-training home, adding that he’s not had any direct discussions with any potential tenants, according to the News-Press. There are many challenges to a new team setting up shop in Fort Myers: the distance between the actual training facility (a landlocked complex with limited parking and accessibility) and the ballpark, the presence of three teams (Boston, Minnesota and Tampa Bay) already training in the greater Fort Myers/Port Charlotte area, and the lack of expandability for the ballpark itself. There are many reasons why the Red Sox sought a new training facility, and they’re still present. There’s also a proposal to convert the ballpark to a swimming facility, something that’s been treated with skepticism by many commissioners, who would prefer to work on a return of baseball.
Image from the 2010 spring-training season.