Florida Gov. Rick Scott starts his day with a little baseball celebration.
The Republican Governor will hold a ceremonial bill signing for legislation this morning that allows a land swap between Palm Beach County and the city of West Palm Beach to remove a final hurdle for the construction of a $135 million stadium that will be home to two major league baseball teams’ spring training teams.
The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros would co-operate the stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017.
The deal assures the Astros and Nationals will remain among the 15 spring training teams in Florida for the next 30 years. A year ago, the Astros were considered a potential threat to move to Arizona. They are the only team in either the American League West or National League West that continues spring training in Florida rather than Arizona.
Arizona’s aggressive push to lure MLB teams away from Florida for spring training has been particular tough on Florida’s east coast. Over the last 20 years, Arizona has convinced 7 teams to move to Arizona for spring training, giving it 15 teams total. Only four three teams remain in southeast Florida – the Mets, Cardinals and Marlins. But with the Nationals moving from Brevard County and the Astros from Osceola, there will now be 5 teams clustered around Palm Beach County and Martin County.
Scott signed the legislation on June 10, but often holds ceremonial bill signings around the state to garner extra publicity.
--JEREMY WALLACE, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau