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O’s, Lee County meet to discuss springtime in Fort Myers

Baltimore Orioles Alan Rifkin and representatives from Lee County met to discuss the possibility of the Birds moving to City of Palms Park once the Red Sox depart for a new facility.

For the Orioles, it’s the latest stop of their tour of Florida, as the team looks for a home to replace Fort Lauderdale Stadium. So far, the Orioles have come up short for a replacement stadium in Fort Lauderdale (too expensive), Sarasota (city wouldn’t build a new ballpark, and the Orioles weren’t interested in playing in a renovated Ed Smith Stadium), Orlando (discussions never went past the howdy-do phase) and Vero Beach (where dithering by the O’s led the city and Indian River County to withdraw their offer of $13 million for a Dodgertown renovation). And don’t forget the feelers sent out by Indian casinos looking to build new ballparks in Phoenix.

Lee County is offering the use of City of Palms Park once the Red Sox move to new spring digs, perhaps as soon as 2012. A new Boston spring facilty isn’t a done deal at the moment, but plans are proceeding for a new suburban ballpark and training complex. Once the Red Sox move, City of Palm Park — a perfectly functional facility — would be available.

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