BOB: MLB gets tough, and the Reds go on a field trip

Reds go Spring Training shopping

After the city of Sarasota rejected paying for renovations to the Cincinnati Reds’ spring training site, the team is now going on a tour to shop for a new site. They made a stop in Goodyear, Arizona, which will be the spring training home of the Cleveland Indians in 2009. The facility in Goodyear can accommodate two teams, and it would be interesting to see the two intra-state rivals share the same spring training home.

With the threat of relocation, Sarasota is making another effort to keep the Reds. Next Tuesday, they’ll be voting on a $41 million plan that would rebuild Ed Smith Stadium where the Reds play their spring training games. Even if the city approves the plan, the county will have to do so as well, and then the Reds have 45 days to reach an agreement that would keep them in Sarasota.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Reds will become the latest team to relocate to Arizona. The Reds are locked into a lease in Sarasota through 2009, and although they have two one-year options that would keep them there through 2011, that new facility in Arizona may be a little too enticing.

MLB sets up Department of Investigations

In response to the Mitchell Report, Major League Baseball has set up a new Department of Investigations. The department will have the responsibility of conducting all investigations into violations of league policy. This will include the rules that deal with performance-enhancing drugs, and there’s also a catch-all where the department can investigate other threats to the integrity of the game.

The department is supposed to be independent of MLB clubs, but it’s unclear how this will happen when the league serves the clubs. Dan Mullin, who was the league’s senior director of security operations, will head the department, and he’ll report directly to league president Bob DuPuy.

Braves Triple-A affiliate will move to Georgia

The Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Richmond, Virginia, has agreed to move to Gwinnett County in Georgia after the county approved the construction of a $40 million stadium. This will put the minor-league squad just 30 minutes away from its parent club. The move is expected to be made in 2009.

The Braves have been looking long and hard for a new location after they got little support from the city of Richmond. The county will own the new stadium but the Braves will manage it.

Miller Park renovations should meet deadline

The Milwaukee Brewers have three big renovations going on at Miller Park, and all three should be set for Opening Day. The largest project is a refurbishment of a members-only club that will be open to fans who purchase two full-season tickets. A new kids area as well as a retail store are also in the works.

Dodgers to finish Spring Training schedule in Arizona

The Dodgers still haven’t committed to a spring training move to Arizona, but it’s still expected that they’ll be playing in Glendale, Arizona, in 2009. For now, the Dodgers will move into the Oakland Athletics’ spring training facility in Phoenix after the A’s leave to play their home opener in Japan. The Dodgers will then play their final six spring games in the Cactus League. The six games will come right after they play a series of games against the San Diego Padres in Beijing, China, so their time at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, will be limited.

Jacobs Field renamed

The home of the Cleveland Indians got a name change as Jacobs Field will now be known as Progressive Field after Progressive Insurance agreed to a 16-year naming rights deal. The insurance company will pay an average of $3.6 million per year. The agreement expires the same year as does the Indians’ lease with the Gateway Economic Development Corporation.

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