Until the late 1990s, the St. Louis Cardinals were based on the west coast of Florida for Spring Training, where they trained each spring at what is now known as Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The future of teams training on Florida’s east coast may be in jeopardy with more teams spending their time training on the west coast, near Tampa Bay.
Until recently, there had been plans for a new Spring Training complex to be built in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., but that has hit a snag due to complaints about potential traffic issues. This new complex would have housed both the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays. If the Blue Jays move from Dunedin, the Milwaukee Brewers have an interest in relocating to Florida.
The Astros would like to create a hub of teams along the east coast in South Florida.
“We want to create a spring training hub for the fans of the Cardinals, Marlins, Astros, Mets and Blue Jays,” Giles Kibbe, general counsel for Astros owner Jim Crane said Friday, including the New York Mets’ Port St. Lucie base in the equation. “If we could make that happen I think it will stabilize things in South Florida and ensure [spring training] baseball is there for a long time to come.”
The Washington Nationals are trying to find a place in Palm Beach County. They are currently based in Brevard, Fla., and have made it known that they would like to league Viera. Deals for Fort Myers and Kissimmee both fell through.
Both the Cardinals and Marlins have options to leave Roger Dean Stadium if that area of Florida drops below four teams before 2017. Should the Cardinals move, Al Lang Stadium would not be an option as it’s now being used for soccer since the Rays stopped using the facility in 2008.
Teams training along the east coast of Florida: St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, New York Mets and Washington Nationals
Teams training along the west coast of Florida in the Tampa Bay corridor and south: Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, and Boston Red Sox
Teams training in central Florida: Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers