Will Cubs Stay in Mesa?

There has been a lot of talk out here this Spring about if and when the Cubs will leave Mesa.

I think it's 100% likely the Cubs will leave Mesa after 2016 (when their contract expires), 80% likely they will leave after 2011 and pay the $4M+ buy-out, and 75% likely that whenever they do leave Mesa they will stay in AZ and move into a new one-team state-of-the-art facility, probably somewhere in the East Valley

The Cubs want out of Mesa because Fitch Park is limited to only 4-1/2 fields, and has less-than-satisfactory practice facilities (the Cubs want a large enclosed batting cage complex and an enclosed ten-pack bullpen) and a smallish clubhouse that cannot be expanded without adding a second floor, and because HoHoKam Park is a 1/2-mile away from Fitch Park.

The Giants (Scottsdale) and the A's (Phoenix Papago Park) have similar-type inferior arrangements as the Cubs, and so the Giants & A's will probably want to move to a combined facility ASAP, and it's only a matter of a short period of time before the Rockies and Diamondbacks move from Tucson to Maricopa County, and when they do, they will want new state-of-the art facilities (or a combined facility), too.

So the Cubs have to make sure they get the best deal out there, and if they wait until 2016, it might be too late, and the Cubs will get the left-overs.

Gilbert's "Field of Dreams"--a retro softball park that features recreations of Wrigley Field, Ebbets Field, Fenway Park, etc--is on a large track of land near the old Williams AFB in close proximity to the new east-side 202 freeway and would be a definite possible site for a new facility, as would a location on the Salt River-Pima Indian Reservation, possibly near where the 202 & 101 freeways intersect near the Arizona Casino on McKellips Road east of Scottsdale and north of Mesa. 

I have talked to several people connected with the Ho Ho Kam and the Cubs over the past year, and it is pretty clear that the Cubs are dissatisfied and want a new facility with a minor league complex that includes at least six full fields, and where the main Spring Training stadium & the minor league complex are on one site, and the Cubs would probably also like a larger Spring Training Park (perhaps 15,000 capacity) with some ultra-premium seating. That just won't work in downtown Mesa.

The one "wild card" is what the new Cubs owners (presumably the Ricketts people) will want to do. It's possible they might prefer a Florida Minor League Complex & Spring Training deal, probably somewhere in the middle of the state near Orlando. Nobody knows what they're going to want to do about that yet, but keep in mind that GM Jim Hendry, Scouting Director Tim Wilken, and Player Development Director Oneri Fleita are all Florida people (Hendry and Wilken were HS buddies in Dunedin, and Fleita is a Cuban-American from Miami), so if they are asked, they would probably much prefer to move the Cubs ST & Minor League operations from Arizona to Florida.

Moving to Florida would also put the Cubs Minor League complex & Player Development HQ in closer proximity to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, where the Cubs have expanded their scouting & player development tentacles in the last few years (adding a second team in the DSL and a Dominican Instructional League team).

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Comments

Cubs might be the only MLB team worthy of following the Dodgers at Vero Beach, where they were an institution and helped define the entire idea of "spring training."

Plus it's close to where my in-laws live.

Thanks for the info, Phil.

Does this mean we may have to look for insight from Florida Phil?

Say it ain't so.

Pretty sure Rob is required to pay relocation costs.

Harden scratched from today's start with the "flu". Atkins gets the call instead.

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/1664

Shoulder flu?

My thoughts exactly....

who doesn't get the flu in ST.

i'd check his hotel room for golf bags, honestly.

i know for a fact this excuse is used by too many who are spotted on the greens the same day they're supposed to be playing.

you'd think 1/2 of ST got valley fever or something the second april rolled around...that or ST clubhouses are a bastion of viruses.

They're all sleeping with the same groupies and got the clap.

Only in the movies?

Cubster has brought up what I would deem to be the most important aspect of this whole issue. If the Cubs move to FL, we may very well lose AZ Phil's valuable reports from Fitch... We could start a 'move Phil' fund... Maybe we better get started on that soon, so we have time to build it up....

I wouldn't be getting too worked up about it yet. Right now it's a leverage ploy like any other franchise who has threatened to leave town if a new stadium isn't proposed. The Cubs know how many transplanted mid-western Cubs fans are in that area, they're not going to toss that out just because a few of the Cubs brass are from FL. There's a decent chance that Hendry/Fleita/Wilken aren't even going be around in 2012. Hendry's 4 year deal also expires in 2012.

Atkins' first inning: FO, FO, E4, 2-run HR, BB, BB FO. He's not missing by much but he still is having trouble finding the zone.

Bradley RBI double (single but the OF slipped but fell) to drive in Theriot, 1-2 Cubs bottom 1st, ARam infield single but Bradley caught off third. Sori also got CS earlier in the inning.

Bottom 3: Hoffpower drives in Sori on a sac fly, 2-2.

Bottom 4: ReJo 2-run HR, 4-2 Cubs

Too bad about the whole premium seating thing. I know it's the way things are trending because of the massive salaries and the need to keep generating new revenue streams, but I'm going to Mesa at the end of the month and have some great seats right behind home plate for something like 20 bucks (can't remember exactly). The other game I hitched up to is right on the first base line up close for about the same price. Since it's late in the ST season I'll probably get to see D Lee ground into a couple plays instead of watching HoffPower slug a few out, but overall it's cool cuz I'll mostly see starting line up guys for a fraction of what I'd pay at Wrigley. Price doesn't matter too horribly much, especially since I no longer live in Chicago, but it's just nice to know that I'm paying so little and it's good that people who might be a bit low on bucks can see a game for cheap, and up close at that.

Regarding Florida, it seems to me that the trend has been leaning towards AZ for most teams, but maybe that's my imagination. Florida would be good for me cuz I'm in Austin. Spring training is a tradition for me no matter what, and you can definitely understand why they want to upgrade their facilities. Let's just hope they don't decide to outsource it all to India. That's a long flight.

Len and Bob mentioned that Fontenot will appear on an episode of the TV show called "My Boys."

Here's something in the Trib:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

Reed testing positive for PECP...

Performance enhancing chin pubes.

Wow, Kevin Gregg is neat.

This guy is very "articulate".

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