Toronto Blue Jays to explore opportunites outside of Dunedin for spring training.

DUNEDIN, Fla. - For nearly four decades it's been play ball in Dunedin.

Long enough for the Toronto Blue Jays to become an identifiable part of this city.

"It's been very successful for those 36 years," said Dunedin Mayor David Eggers.

But a report this week in Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper indicates the Blue Jays are considering other options when their contract with the Dunedin expires in 2017.

"We've been kind of expecting it," said Eggers.

Eggers says Dunedin is prepared to listen to the club and discuss the future options.

"At the end of the day, they've got to do what's best for them.  And it's going to be our job not only to  provide as much of their criteria list as we can, but to reinforce why Dunedin is the place to be," explained Eggers.

An aging and sometimes cramped stadium is one factor in the equation.  But having the teams' training facility located more than four miles from the stadium where games are played, is perhaps the largest hurdle to overcome.

The team acknowledges they are going to explore their opportunities in the next 12 months, but that in a perfect world, would like to remain in Dunedin. And so would many of their Canadian fans.

"I like Dunedin.  It's a gorgeous little city, or town, and just a pleasant place to come to," explained Jerry Thrasher, who's visiting from Ottawa.

Janet Baustert, who owns a bar just a block from the stadium, can't imagine Dunedin without the Blue Jays.

"It would be very disappointing for not just me, but the city.  And it helps pay my property taxes every year so my saying this time of year is 'Thank God for baseball'," remarked Baustert.

City officials have planned a trip to Toronto to meet with the team and explore how to keep the Jays in Dunedin.


 

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