This month marks the 22nd anniversary of the New York Yankees playing runaway bride to the ardent would-be grooms in Pasco County government. Back in February 1922, Pasco officials were convinced they had a deal with the Yankees under which the American League club would move its spring training and minor league headquarters to a 100-acre site in the county and get $9 million in tourist tax revenue to boot. At the last moment, however, Yankees officials, then led by Joseph Molloy, the club’s acting managing general partner while his father-in-law, George Steinbrenner, was suspended from Major League Baseball, jilted Pasco. The Bronx Bombers eventually built what is now the Steinbrenner Field complex on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
Pasco officials were not amused, to put it mildly, by the Yankees’ change of heart. After two decades, however, Pasco officials are about to undertake another effort to woo an MLB club. They and James Talton, who is looking to develop a $34 million baseball-softball complex in the Wiregrass Ranch area of southern Pasco, plan to attend, for the first time, the 2014 Governor’s Baseball Dinner in St. Petersburg as part of an effort to get the word out that the Wiregrass complex could accommodate a Major League club looking for a new spring training site — as a few are.
The Wiregrass complex is supposed to be financially viable as a home for youth baseball and softball tournaments, so having an MLB club there for spring training would be icing on the cake. So it appears all Pasco is risking by pursuing a team again is another rejection.