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Florida fighting to keep teams from heading to Cactus League

PHOENIX — Florida Governor Rick Scott is trying to keep Major League baseball teams from moving their spring training to Arizona.

Arizona has lured the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians to the Cactus League in the past few years. Scott is proposing that his state set aside $5 million per year to keep the Grapefruit League’s remaining 15 teams from moving.

Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb said the money would be used to help Florida cities to make stadium improvements.

“If it’s a city or a county that has a ballpark that has a team in it, there will be some matching funds from the state to help with stadium renovation or if it needs a new stadium constructed,” he said.

Webb said he supports the plan he believes will be passed by the Florida legislature.

“Obviously, when you have a team that’s been in a place for 50 years, you do run into to stadiums that need renovating. We want to be prepared for it when that time comes.”

The state would help the city once it is within three years of the end of a lease agreement with a team. The leases are up for three Grapefruit League teams in 2016 and two more in 2017. Those teams would be free to move to Arizona if they aren’t happy with their situation in Florida.