From the Enquirer:
It was close, but the referendum for the final piece of funding to revamp Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota was voted down 4,431-4,206, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Web site.
“We don’t have a final total,” said Reds chief operating officer John Allen, who was in Sarasota. “There are still a few absentee ballots to count. But an election official came and told us we lost.”
That means the Reds’ tenure in Sarasota will come to an end over the next couple of years.
“We’ve been very consistent with our message,” Allen said. “We wanted to stay in Sarasota. When other cities and Arizona approached us, that’s what we told them.”
Today, there will be a new message.
“We’ll start the process (of looking for a new site) immediately,” Allen said.
The Reds’ lease on Ed Smith runs out in October 2008, but the club has three one-year options to extend the lease. That will give the Reds the chance to take their time finding a facility.
Allen said there’s no chance the Reds will stay in Ed Smith long-term.
“Not in the existing facility,” he said. “There’s not enough space. It’s not (American Disability Act) compliant. You have the drainage problems.”
So, where might they go?
The most obvious place to move is Vero Beach. The Dodgers are moving out of that facility after the 2008 season.
Orlando and Fort Myers also have talked about adding teams. And Arizona is always looking to add teams.
IMO, Arizona would be a terrible idea for the Reds. I don’t know anything about Vero Beach and I believe that two teams are already in Ft. Myers. Orlando has tons of other things that would help attract people, but it’s becoming really overcrowded and traffic has become an issue.
I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.