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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.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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