ORLANDO OFFICIALS TO HERRICK: ONE OF THESE DAYS, NORTON ...
Orlando developer Norton Herrick is seeking additional money
from city and Orange County officials in his bid to bring
baseball to Central FL. According to Lawrence Lebowitz in this
morning's ORLANDO SENTINEL, Herrick "appears to be on the verge"
of making an offer for the Pirates, and is "trying to firm up
several key financing questions" with local officials. Herrick
currently has an exclusive deal with Orlando and Orange County
that the municipalities will build him a $150M ballpark if he
moves a team to the area. Herrick reportedly wants more,
including: a commitment to spend $15M to renovate the Citrus Bowl
for interim play while the new stadium is under construction; and
a restructuring of the financing package to give Herrick control
over taxes that will pay for long-term stadium and parking
improvements. Orange County Chair Linda Chapin: "We've already
offered Mr. Herrick as much as the traffic will bear. I'm not
interested in sweetening the deal anymore." Herrick has until
March 9, 1997 to land a team before the deal expires. There are
doubts MLB would move a team 90 miles from the Devil Rays
(ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/25).