Houston Astros owner Jim Crane says the team is close to finalizing a deal for a Palm Beach spring training site that could open in 2017.
The new Palm Beach Gardens complex, to be shared with the Toronto Blue Jays (though, we hear, the agreement is not final), would be located within a close drive of Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium, setting up a nice four-team interchange with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins.
That the team is seeking a new spring home is no surprise: Osceola County Stadium is the smaller facility in the Grapefruit League and lacks many of the amenities most teams are looking for in a spring complex. In this case, “spring” is perhaps a misnomer: teams now use these facilities for pre-spring workouts, rehabs, rookie games and extended spring.
Barring an unforeseen setback, the Astros and Toronto Blue Jays will share a facility in Palm Beach Gardens in the same manner the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals share a facility in Jupiter, Fla.
“It’s nothing against Kissimmee, but if you ask our guys our facility is 28th out of the ones that are out there,” Crane said. “It’s outdated. I think we’ll get all the final approvals no later than the fall. You can’t press city hall. If it was a business deal we’d be done with it by now, but they work at their pace.
“It’s a very positive environment down there for it, and the city wants to get it done. It requires zoning and some land they want to get in position. It’s a good location, and it will be better for everybody, the fans, the players, the traveling, all sorts of different things. For the media, the hotels are closer, better restaurants.”
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