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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Phosphate strip mining company denied stadium naming rights - 2/18/10 Sarasota Herald Tribune: Mosaic won't buy rights to Port Charlotte Stadium

My comments follow the article.

Sarasota Herald Tribune
Mosaic won't buy rights to Port Charlotte stadium
BASEBALL: Controversy erupted over Tampa Bay Rays deal with mining firm

By Chris Gerbasi, Correspondent
February 18, 2010

CHARLOTTE COUNTY - The county's baseball stadium will continue to be called Charlotte Sports Park after the Tampa Bay Rays and the Mosaic Co. announced Wednesday that they had reconsidered a naming rights deal.

The announcement came as the Rays prepared to open their second spring training camp in Port Charlotte with pitchers and catchers beginning workouts on Friday.
Read the rest of the story at:

As many of you who come to this blog frequently
already know, I grew-up in South Florida going
to Oriole spring training games at Miami Stadium
in the early and mid-'70's, during their glory days.

Above, the iconic Orioles decal that was on the
bumper of our
Ford family station wagon for
years in the 1970's.

Above, Sports Illustrated, April 12, 1971
Baseball 1971 -their baseball preview issue

Power Personified, Baltimore's Boog Powell

I even saw the occasional Yankees spring training
game in Fort Lauderdale with my NY-born friends
and their parents, or visiting New York brothers
or uncles who'd temporarily abandoned northern
climes for some sun and surf and baseball.

I was such a devout Orioles fan that I even caught
buses from my home in North Miami Beach over
to the then-Biscayne College (now St. Thomas)
in what's now Miami Gardens, where the Oriole
minor leaguers worked-out, so I could see how
they looked first-hand.
(That's where I first saw Don Baylor in person,

In the intervening years, on one-week visits back
to the area, I'd see as many Oriole or Yankee
games as I could squeeze-in, and since returning
to the area six years ago, have made many trips
to Fort Lauderdale Stadium, as you know from
my posts here about the lack of public transport
from the nearby Tri-Rail station to the ballpark,
which is dumb-founding.

I first visited the Port Charlotte Stadium in 1987
when I swung by there to visit a longtime friend
on my drive to Miami from Evanston/Chicago,
where I'd been living for a few years, back when
the all-hit, no-pitch Texas Rangers used
it as their spring training home.

After grabbing some breakfast somewhere the
next morning before starting out on my tour of
the area, we went out to the stadium because the
Port Charlotte Rangers were playing an away
game later that day -and we were so stealthy!-
we were able to get into the ballpark and on the
field without any problem.

(Ironically, this was the same best friend
with whom I had walked on
Florida Field
with back in the summer of '79, when I'd
come up to Gainesville
for a week-long visit
over the Fourth of July, via
Air Florida,
six weeks before I left for
the rolling
Hoosier hills
IU in Bloomington.)

My friend explained to me that the outfield
warning track at the time had a unique touch
to differentiate it from other spring training
and minor league ballparks in that rather
than having a typical dirt clay warning track,
this one was made of crushed sea shells,
so that back-pedaling outfielders could hear
the sounds of shells beneath their feet.

Since the stadium was rehabbed, I don't know
whether they've chosen to keep that unique
feature or abandon it.

After reading this article and getting a sense
of the outrage factor on our West Coast from
just the thought of naming a stadium after a
company involved in this activity, it seems
more clear to me than ever that as far as
their Senate campaign goes, Marco Rubio
would be foolish not to remind voters outside
of South Florida, esp. Independents and
Enviros, about Kendrick Meek's past as
a lobbyist for rock mining interests in western
Miami-Dade County.

I can already see those TV campaign
ads in my head.

Frankly, my experience in South Florida from
going to public policy forums and meetings is
that there are an awful large universe of
well-informed people who don't know anything
about that part of Meek's past, so it's a
target-rich environment to exploit if you choose

Not that it'd be the only reason someone would
necessarily vote against Meek, of course,
but for some voters, that bit of info could prove
to be important context in deciding whom they
vote for.

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