Blue Jays president 'optimistic' about deal with Dunedin
Negotiations between the Toronto Blue Jays and the city of Dunedin have been considerably hush-hush for months. But last week, team president Mark Shapiro told the Toronto Sun he is 'optimistic' there is a deal to be made.
"I feel like there is a good foundation, a good understanding of our expectations. I feel like (the city has) made an effort to provide us with a layout that would work," he told the Toronto Sun. "The hardest piece, as we have always said, is putting a financing deal together."
The team has called Dunedin its springtime home since 1977, but Shapiro says now the team is ready for a "state-of-the-art" facility to give them a competitive edge against other teams. In February, Shapiro said the current facility, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium at 373 Douglas Ave., lacks "modernization and "resources that allow (players) to achieve their potential."
To renew its contract with Dunedin, which expires at the end of 2017, the team says a more modern set-up is a must. Still, Shapiro says the sentimental feelings between the team and the city are mutual.
"You've got one basic foundation and that is that we want to stay there and they want to keep us there," he told the Toronto Sun. "Their passion for the Blue Jays is not just a light one. It's historical."
Shapiro said the deal is not done. "Not even close."
But one thing he knows for certain: He's "feeling optimistic."