The Atlanta Braves have been searching for a new Spring Training home for some time, simply because the situation in the team's current venue doesn't make a lot of sense. The Braves have been operating their Spring Training in Orlando since 1998, but with movement of various teams away from that area, it has become increasingly difficult to travel in order to play convenient games and, well, the once-shiny facility is no longer the best or the brightest.
That, of course, is no secret, but this week, word came to light that the Braves are closely evaluating Palm Beach as a potential Spring home for the team in 2018 and beyond. Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Braves team president John Schuerholz on the matter, and he confirmed that the organization has hired a consultant to follow up on a potential move to the area:
"It signals that we feel there is some level of interest (there). We haven’t really gone any further than to hire a lobbyist to help us figure our way through the Palm Beach County political system and truly sort of measure what level of interest there might be.
"We know the community well (and) still have very fond memories of it. It would be comfortable for us (to return), and perhaps the county will feel that way as well and we can get this process moving along."
For the uninitiated, the Braves ran their Spring Training operation out of West Palm Beach for more than three decades before shifting to Orlando, and some fans would certainly welcome this change. However, it is still very much in the preliminary stage at this point, and rumors have circulated that Atlanta is simply seeking the best financial deal (and a new stadium) in whichever locale makes sense.
The AJC story also quotes Schuerholz with some optimism about the team having a new stadium built by Spring 2018 if the deal comes together in the near future, and that should assuage some doubt that the Braves will be stuck without a permanent home after the lease expires in Orlando. At any rate, news should be trickling out in the coming days as Schuerholz and company weigh their options, but if you are planning on taking a Spring Training trip in 2018, you should hold off on booking travel plans... for now.