The Morning Chop: Braves Really Want This Olivera Guy

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Fans watch the game from a grassy knoll during a spring training baseball game at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Braves scouting Florida for possible new spring-training home


The Braves have trained at the Disney complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., since 1998, but might leave after the current lease to get closer to other teams’ camps. When the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals relocate to a planned facility in West Palm Beach, the Braves will have only one opponent in close proximity to Disney: the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland.

Where the Braves might move for spring training in 2018 if the lease isn’t extended remains up in the air. Schuerholz said the organization isn’t in negotiations about a specific location.

“We are fact-finding who is interested and who is seriously interested and who is willing to provide the support required to have a major-league team come to their community,” Schuerholz said.

John Webb, president of the Florida Sports Foundation, which works to keep spring-training camps in the state, said he heard the Braves had “a meeting or two” about a possible site near the southwest Florida city of Venice. “I (also) heard Naples, heard Fort Myers, heard five, six places they’ve probably had dialogue with,” Webb said.

Venice Mayor John Holic told the AJC on Friday that neither he, nor to his knowledge anyone else in the city’s government, has spoken with the Braves about the idea.

[ Editor’s note:  we reported the Venice, FL connection from a Sarasota report back in early February, though while an ideal location, the city itself doesn’t have sufficient resources to build a facility – which would have to start from the ground up.  Nonetheless, the team is going to go somewhere else in Florida – it’s no secret that the Braves are feeling a bit abandoned in the center of the state as teams are leaving for the coasts in droves.  The geographic focus does appear to be toward SW Florida. ]