Not good enough for Ricketts
Will Cubs stay in Mesa?
There's been lots of talk about the Cubs wanting a new spring training facility. As Spring Training Online reported:
The issue: the team practices at Fitch Field and plays at HoHoKam Park. While HoHoKam Park is a perfectly fine facility and the Cubs are a great draw -- perennially leading the Cactus League in attendance -- the ballpark lacks the luxury amenities you find in the new spring facilities
One of the rumors
Had the Cubs leaving Mesa
The surprise contender in all of this: Sarasota. Really, on one level it's not a surprise: Sarasota's demographics are absurdly strong, there's already interest in town for spring training, and the city has a location -- Payne Park -- already in place.
But recent reports
Say the Cubs won't be going
Far from HoHoKam
In past months Mesa officials had held out hope that the Cubs would be happy with additional renovations to HoHoKam Park, but apparently the new owners of the Cubs have indicated they'd prefer a new facility ... One thing is for certain, we're told by insiders: there's very little chance of the Cubs moving to Florida
This is great news for baseball fans - and Cubs fans in particular. With so many teams playing in the Phoenix area fans can see games every day in different ball parks without having to travel too far. The city is the fastest growing in the country, so there's lots to do after the games. And the big Cubs fan base in town doesn't hurt. Local residents and officials have been campaiging for the Cubs to stay in Mesa.
Although the Cubs-HoHoKam deal runs through 2016, it looks like an opt-out clause allows the team to leave (at a modest price) as soon as 2011, making this spring possibly the Cubs' last at HoHoKam.
I've only been to Arizona once for spring training, but had a great time and look forward to seeing the Cubs there again soon. Some of the other facilties (particularly in Aurora) are quite impressive, and it will be fun to see the Cubs play in a nicer ballpark. But I'll miss the "friendly confines" of HoHoKam Park.