Orioles Could Move to Vero in 2010

In a move that was rumored during the Dodgers final days at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Indian River County officials are hopeful that the Baltimore Orioles will approve a move that would make Dodgertown the team's long-term spring training home starting in 2010.

Representatives met in Orlando, Florida, trying to complete a deal that has been discussed for more than a year. A negotiation agreement between the Orioles and the county expired yesterday, but government officials are prepared to give the team time to review the offer.?

?"We have made them our final offer," Vero Beach Mayor Tom White told the Baltimore Sun. "After many hours of discussion and changing this and changing that, I'm hoping that Mr. Angelos and the board of directors will accept it. I think it's a good offer and they'll be happy here."?

?The Orioles have long maintained they are committed to staying in Fort Lauderdale, where the club has trained since 1996. They will be back in Fort Lauderdale again in February, but barring a significant change in the coming months, it could be their last training camp there.?

?The Orioles had planned to tear down and rebuild 48-year-old Fort Lauderdale Stadium and create a complex that would house their major and minor league spring training camps.

However, in May, the Federal Aviation Administration notified Fort Lauderdale that it wouldn't approve the use agreement between the city and the Orioles unless the annual payments made to the airport fund increased to $1.3 million. FAA approval was needed because the stadium sits adjacent to an executive airport.?

?The Orioles now have some options. Vero Beach, the celebrated home of the Dodgers for 61 years dating to when the franchise was in Brooklyn, became open when the Dodgers terminated their facility use agreement and moved their spring training home to Glendale, Arizona, starting in 2009.?

?Indian River County officials are aware the Orioles have other suitors but are optimistic the team will choose Vero Beach. Both sides have been mum about the particulars of the possible agreement, although the Vero Beach Press Journal reported it is believed the Orioles are asking for up to $13 million of improvements to Holman Stadium and use of 37.6 acres that once housed the Dodgertown Golf Course.?

?"Everybody kind of walked away [from this week's meetings] saying it was a pretty fair and reasonable offer," Indian River County commissioner Peter O'Bryan said. "Now it's up to the team and its representatives to take it back to the owner. I don't think it's going to be months and months."

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