Monday, January 6, 2014

The Yankees have put their plans to move their Single-A club, the Tampa Yankees, out of Tampa and about 90 minutes north to Ocala on hold until April, reports Channel 9 news in Orlando, Florida.

The Yankees had a deal in place with the city, but it had to be approved by the city council and the sales tax needed to be voted on by local residents in a special election, which no date was ever set, causing the Yankees to back out of the deal.

"While we expected to bring the community together with this project, it has unfortunately become a source of division," said Ocala City Council President John McLeod.

"They were a little taken back at the first county commission meeting where they were expecting a little bit more united support.' McLeod said. "And they didn't get that. That's politics. That's the way things go sometimes,"

Kent Guinn, the Mayor of Ocala, said that the Yankees wanted to move the team out of Tampa because the team is tired of having to battle with the other Tampa Bays teams, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play just down the street from the T-Yanks, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning — for attendance. With the other pro sports teams around them, minor league baseball isn't very popular within the Tampa Bay area.

The Yankees finished fourth in attendance in the Florida State League last season, totaling 118,770, while averaging 1,827 fans per game. The Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies) lead the league with 172,151 total fans and average of 2,608 fans per game. The Daytona Cubs (Chicago Cubs) finished second at 146,049 and 2,518, followed by the Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins) at 121,832 and 1,904.

The Yankees have been looking at possible destinations for several years now, and rumors about them moving to the Orlando area came up a couple years ago, but nothing was close to happening until recently.


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