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O's mull spring home

The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles continue to examine their remaining options for a spring training home, with Vero Beach, Fla., apparently becoming their most likely destination if they are forced to vacate their current facility.

Indian River County administrator Joe Baird told the Vero Beach Press Journal on Wednesday that he has crafted a draft agreement with a team that would replace the Los Angeles Dodgers, though a spokesman would not confirm or deny a report that the Orioles are negotiating with Baird.

The Orioles are expected to remain in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for 2009, but they could opt out of their option for the next year. The decision hinges on the Federal Aviation Administration's willingness to back off a demand last week that the club or the city agree to commit $1.3 million into the airport fund - a significant increase over the $70,000 to $120,000 usually required.

An FAA spokeswoman said last week that the increased figure is deemed fair market value for the property.

The Orioles want to tear down and rebuild the 48-year-old stadium, which has served as their spring home since 1996. They need FAA approval because it sits on executive airport land.

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