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Even their spring training home is down on the Red Sox

Nov 25, 2012, 8:49 PM EDT

JetBlue Park Getty Images

Fort Myers mayor Randy Henderson said this week that he wishes that Lee County had let the Red Sox walk rather than build the team’s new spring training home, which opened last year.

The new JetBlue Park was originally supposed to cost $77.9 million, but it sounds like the county ended up spending considerably more.

“It would have been smarter to let the Red Sox move on,” Henderson said. “I would debate that we wouldn’t be any worse off, in fact, I think we would be better off.”

As is, Lee County is set to spend $436 million on its three ballparks over the next 32 years. That includes the new park, an enhanced facility for the Twins to keep them on par with the Red Sox and what’s still owed on vacant City of Palms Park, the former home of the Red Sox.

The Fort Myers News-Press breaks it all down here. The article also mentions how Lee County is trying to lure the Nationals to the Red Sox’s old facility, though there’s little optimism about a deal being struck.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 25, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    So why not let the Twins walk, then, if you claim to have learned some kind of lesson?

  2. lroc20 - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Matthew go to bed

  3. chill1184 - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Perhaps Henderson should’ve realized that sports welfare is always a loss for the town that puts up the money

  4. baseballisboring - Nov 25, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    I’m just trying to figure out how the hell that costs $78 Million…

  5. joeyashwi - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    The Twins get upgraded spring training facility and a new public funded stadium and are worse than ever. So much for the extra revenue being used to get better players.

  6. kkolchak - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Another idiot politician is regretting a taxpayer giveaway to a billionaire owner. How shocking.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Nov 25, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Big Papi just wants to know how something like this can happen to him???

  8. tfbuckfutter - Nov 26, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    He’s just mad because as soon as they got the stadium funded the Red Sox traded all their big contracts for James Loney.

  9. rbern11162 - Nov 26, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    It doesn’t make sense to build a top 10 stadium for 5 weeks worth of use . The place is a nicer stadium than Fenway

    • belichickrulz - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      How could it not be nicer than Fenway? Fenway is a dump. It’s disgraceful that a big time major league team is playing in a ballpark that opened when the Titanic sank! And before anyone cries “But it’s old… it’s historic”, so is Stonehenge and I wouldn’t want to watch a ballgame there, either.

  10. belichickrulz - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Politicians need to learn from this. Sports stadiums are a nice bonus to a city, but they are not essential and never, ever provide the jobs and revenue promised by the leagues and owners. Voters need to boot out any city officials who support these boondoggles.

    • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Maybe in good times you can make a quality of life argument for a stadium in your city. You are unlikely ever to break even. And it’s lunacy in hard times.

  11. ken1lutheran - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    A really good club will build its own park, and ask only for infrastructure improvements to accommodate it. That’s what the New England Patriots did in Foxborough. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Norfolk County, and the town of Foxborough didn’t build that park. Bob Kraft did. All the state and local governments were asked to do was widen US 1 and put in a larger water main–less than Lee County has spent on these spring training parks. And what has happened since Bob Kraft put in the bigger and better park? They haven’t failed to sell out a single game. The team hasn’t gone worse than 9-7 in any season since the park opened in 2002, and only did that poorly once. They’ve gone to four Super Bowls and won two of them. That’s how a good club works. State and city governments ought to enter into an agreement that none of them will pay for the construction of a ball park. If ball clubs couldn’t play them off one against the other, that game would stop in a hurry. Some big corporation wants its name on a ball park? Let IT provide the financing to build it.

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