Because baseball is fun and, if it's fun, it ain't allowed in Sarasota.
Despite what looked like a sure victory with the scheduled start of spring training to begin here in a few weeks, this "citizens group" made a spectacular leaping grab at the wall off a carom, wheeled and unleashed a strong throw to home where several attorneys were blocking the plate, just itching for a collision so they could all fall down holding their necks and writhe around in pain until the ambulances came to take them to the bank of their choice.
The Sarasota Citizens For Responsible Government hope to hold a gala 'veiling' of the Ed Smith stadium sign when they ceremoniously drape a big, blue tarp over the "Welcome Orioles" sign.
The Sarasota Citizens For Responsible Government (herein to be known as SCFRG as a cost savings measure) contends that their duly-elected representatives from the city and the county threw a spitball to strike out their efforts to get baseball banned from Sarasota and are protesting the called third strike. Like any sore loser, they have resorted to name calling and kicking dirt on the umpire's feet and when that didn't work, the SCFRG is now trying to mount a full-scale, bench clearing brawl by involving all the citizens of Sarasota to vote in a referendum to determine the outcome of the game.
Taking your case directly to the people instead of going through regular legislative channels for your pet project is a time-honored tradition here in Florida, ie, our 2002 'pregnant pig' constitutional amendment and our 2000 'bullet train' constitutional amendment. Both of these grass-roots citizen referendums worked out so well, what could possibly go wrong with this one?
The commissioners are still smarting from the beating they took at the hands of the Boston Red Sox this past off-season. Believing the sultry promises whispered in their ears from Red Sox owners about the two of them hooking up for a good time, the commissioners rushed out to buy their hot date a present of $3 million worth of parking lot, run-down strip club and other sundry businesses to show them the county was serious about building their dream date a beach-front McMansion we're famous for, only to be left jilted when the Red Sox did not get a divorce and, in fact, renewed their vows with Lee County when they promised the Sox a bigger, newer house, just like the one they had back in Beantown.
The commissioners, on the rebound, sobered up, changed their shirt, showered and shaved and went out looking for love in all the wrong places and brought home the Orioles, who had been in an unhappy relationship with Ft. Lauderdale for some years. Not the trophy babe that was the Red Sox, but, at least, Sarasota wouldn't have to go through spring training alone and looking foolish after the Cincinnati Reds walked out on Sarasota last spring to go live in Arizona, after threatening to do for some time.
Only now the self-annointed 'parents' of the commissioners--the SCFRG--absolutely do NOT want those rich, under-achieving Orioles in their house and refuse to recognize this unholy union, laying down the law to prevent its consummation by holding a voter referendum on the issue. They are also demanding two public meetings to discuss the "pros and cons of spending public funds for baseball" after seeing the erudite civil discourse that occurred during all those health care reform town hall meetings this past year.
The SCFRG also demands that neither the city nor the county be allowed to lobby against the referendum, essentially imposing a gag rule on their elected representatives. No word on whether or not any other groups besides the SCFRG would be allowed to lobby voters.
And the county must establish a permanent oversight committee to make sure they don't talk about issues behind closed doors since, as everyone knows, that's the only way things get done in politics.
And, most importantly, the county must pay the estimated current legal fees of $50,000 racked up so far by the SCFRG. Good God, don't forget about paying the lawyers!
Buoyed by this recent success in throwing a monkey wrench into the already sputtering, oil-leaking, smoke-spewing 4-cylinder economic engine that is today's Sarasota, SCFRG is gearing up to revisit another area hot button issue, namely the new Ringling Bridge, which replaced the outdated, unreliable drawbridge that connects downtown to St. Armand's, Lido Key, Longboat Key and other tourist destinations where they are wont to spend their vacation dollars.
The oft-photgraphed span, which opened to traffic in 2003, has become a stunning additon to Sarasota Bay's already-bulging portfolio of glamor shots and is widely praised for its beauty and grace, as well as its utilitarian nature.
But, back in the day, there were those stick-in-the-muds that liked that old 1959 drawbridge just fine, thank you very much, and fought tooth and nail to keep it. Now, with the apparent success of the likes of SCFRG, there is hope anew to mount a referendum campaign to tear down the new Ringling Bridge and re-build the old Ringling Bridge.
Working to bring back "Old Florida" to Sarasota.......