If you like Spring Training basic and satisfying, Osceola County Stadium is the place for you. The Houston Astros, dreadful for years, are an up-and-coming team. Little ones can snag autographs. They play “Deep in the Heart of Texas” at the seventh-inning stretch, just like at Minute Maid Park.
Alas, paradise must be surrendered in the name of progress. The Astros and Washington Nationals have agreed to move to West Palm Beach in 2017 and share quarters at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
At the behest of local businessmen, the Palm Beach County Commission voted that $135 million in construction bonds be issued. The teams will fish around in their couch cushions for a few million apiece. The taxpayers get screwed as usual, but that’s not the only thing that stinks here.
The 160-acre site served as a trash dump from the mid-1950s until 2000, covering an era in which people cared a lot less about what went to trash dumps. From the Palm Beach Post:
“The trash mounds have been covered by dirt and grass for several decades. But when construction started Nov. 10, tractors disturbed those mounds, releasing not-so-sweet landfill odors.”
Mining of the fragrant garbage is scheduled to continue until April. Then the teams will oversee construction of a 6,500-seat stadium and 12 practice fields by January, politicians and club officials claim. “It has been a long road, but it has been very rewarding. 2017 will happen. We are going to get out there as soon as we can,” Giles Kibbe, general counsel of the Astros, told the Post.
Predictions: The Astros will contend in the AL West, then tiptoe back to Kissimmee for an encore final season.