Florida is awash with Major League Baseball, with two teams of its own, and communities, hoping to boost the economy and real estate values, vying to land or keep northern teams for spring training.
But it wasn’t always this way.
During the regular season, Florida kids who had chased Yankee autographs at Sarasota’s Payne Park saw one game a week, on black and white television, and it was always between two teams that were at least a thousand miles away.
Then in 1966, the Milwaukee Braves jerseys, who trained in Bradenton from 1953 to 1962, moved to Atlanta, and their games were broadcast across the South on radio. Broadcasters Milo Hamilton, the ultimate pro, and easy going Ernie Johnson became like friends, painting the action in our mind’s eye.
When Henry Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, our hearts swelled with pride even as we defended Aaron against the hate of racist relatives from the north.
a new home run champion of all time! intoned Hamilton when Hammer slugged his 715th career home run on April 8, 1974. it Henry Aaron! saw Aaron hit No. 713 in Atlanta Stadium at the end of the final weekend of the 1973 season.
The Braves jerseys became the South’s team. In the late 1970s, team owner Ted Turner put the games on his TBS cable TV station, and when the wholesale mlb jerseys mostly losing franchise became winners in the early 1980s, the Braves jerseys became Team. This was followed, starting in the 1990s, by 14 straight years in the playoffs.
In 1997, we went to a spring training game in West Palm Beach. My toddler daughter, holding onto the railing, screamed Jones! as the team, and the young star player, came onto the field. These are the memories that baseball makes.
By then, Florida was getting the Marlins jerseys in the National League and the Devil Rays jerseys in the American League, but the Braves jerseys remained a fan favorite, drawing more fans to Tropicana Field than any other National League team.
The team had a rare dismal win loss record in 2015, but it doesn’t matter. I still wear my Braves jerseys jacket when I walk the dog on cool mornings, even if I don’t follow the standings much anymore.
But that may change with the news that the Braves jerseys may move from the Disney Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando to the West Villages of North Port for the 2018 spring training season. Even my wife is excited about that.
From a real estate perspective, this is an Aaron esque home run for the West Villages and south Sarasota County. MLB has teams in Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. There’s a hole in south Sarasota County, and the Braves jerseys would fill it nicely, drawing fans from Venice, Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, all within a 30 minute drive.
Teams want other teams nearby, because they don’t fly from game to game, they take the bus, and waste a lot of time doing so. Big league ballplayers don’t like riding in buses, either. 41, also would be a big boost for the West Villages master planned community and Mattamy Homes. The Canadian homebuilder, with a $100 million commitment, will develop 20,000 homes in the next 40 years.
Having a big league baseball team every spring will only help bring attention, and middle and upper middle class buyers, to the West Villages.
opportunity to provide the Braves jerseys with a world class home for spring training matches our desire to create an intergenerational destination focused on an active lifestyle to make this possible, said West Villages General Manager Martin Black.
Promoting real estate with baseball has worked in other places where spring training has arrived. Who would have heard of Goodyear, Arizona, had not the Cincinnati Reds jerseys moved there from Sarasota a few years ago?
If my Braves jerseys dreams come true, I envision taking the family to games in North Port. My daughter won’t be screaming for Chipper Jones, though. He retired in 2012.