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Friday, December 13, 2019

Florida Fire Frogs Mess Comes At Bad Time For MiLB

The Fire Frogs failed to draw 1,000 fans for any game in 2019. Their total attendance of 19,615 was the second worst of the 21st century. It would have been dead last if not for the fact that Dunedin also drew almost no one in 2019 while playing in a temporary facility. But the Blue Jays were doing that while their stadium was upgraded for 2020.

Even with a low-cost, no-frills front office, the team is a significant money loser. One partner has sued the others over how the partnership covers the growing red ink. The team received a $500,000 check at the end of the 2019 season to buy the Fire Frogs out of the remaining three years of their lease in Kissimmee—the stadium has now been turned into a soccer stadium for 2020.

That gave the team some much-needed funding, but it also meant that the team was left without a place to play. And there are few good answers to fix that problem for 2020. When the Winter Meetings ended, the team was still homeless. Coco Beach’s ballpark, a facility that doesn’t currently have clubhouses, is one of the best on a list of bad options.

This is a problem that has been building for several years. And it is one where the current structure of the minors works against solving.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. John Northey Posted: December 13, 2019 at 10:24 PM (#5908626)
Sounds like they are pretty much going to force MLB to take over that team. They might have to share a field with someone else in 2020 then be contracted in the next off-season.
   2. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:12 AM (#5908643)
What kind of idiots take a FSL team and rename it "Florida" instead of whatever town or region it's in? At least appeal to civic pride, not to mention give some indication to people that there is a team in their area. Sounds like a barnstorming team that plays in 10 different "home" stadiums and doesn't even try to have fans.
   3. depletion Posted: December 14, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5908677)
FSL is high A ball. This is not short season or rookie ball from which few players will reach the majors. Kissimmee has a median income of $15,071 (wiki). Perhaps move to the space coast which presumably has more people with disposable income, and no current teams in the immediate area.
Oops. Apparently they moved from Space Coast Stadium to Kissimmee at the end of the 2016 season. Bad move, and the stadium has been taken over by the United States Specialty Sports association. Don't know if they're into minor league ball.
   4. puck Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5908693)
Kissimmee has a median income of $15,071 (wiki).

I was wondering how this was possible.
$15,071 is the per capita income. The more usual income figures still aren't great though:
"The median income for a household in the city was $33,949, and the median income for a family was $36,361. Males had a median income of $25,851 versus $21,025 for females."

Are there other teams in the area? They're near Orlando. I'm so ignorant of Florida geography.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 14, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5908700)
Coco Beach’s ballpark, a facility that doesn’t currently have clubhouses, is one of the best on a list of bad options.
I stayed in Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral in 2015 & 16 while attending some of the Washington Nationals spring training about 30 minutes away at Space Coast Stadium in Viera. Is the article referring to another ballpark, or misstating the location for Space Coast Stadium? Space Coast Stadium was a perfectly acceptable spring training site, before the standards were raised to have a “complex” with more bells & whistles, clustered near other teams for easy travel, and should be OK for minor league ball if someone could pay the rent.
   6. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 14, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5908703)
Yeah, I would have thought that one of the few states with a glut of ballparks would be Florida.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5908715)
Disappointing lack of I Dream of Jeannie jokes ... not that I have any.
   8. Bote Man Posted: December 14, 2019 at 05:34 PM (#5908737)
They've done it to me again.
   9. bfan Posted: December 15, 2019 at 08:41 AM (#5908763)
goodness knows people dislike new venues, or how they get paid for, but their home field must be a bog and a wreck. They get so many games cancelled, it is a disservice to the players. Build a nicer venue that seats a comfortable 5 or 6 thousand; give it a great drainage system (which would also be good for player safety). See how it goes.
   10. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 15, 2019 at 08:52 AM (#5908764)
It’s not hard to find parks in Florida. But - they’d need to find a park that doesn’t violate territorial rights (as the otherwise obvious choice of Atlanta’s ST site does), or for another team to grant a waiver wrt those rights, that also meets MiLB standards and that ownership is willing to accept (like I think Orlando could worse geography wise? (going from memory here) but Tinker is rundown and Disney is expensive/wouldn’t draw fans; etc...)
Edit: tinker was torn down, in fact. What I called “Disney” is champion stadium, which had been the GCL park for ATL.

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