Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a billing giving Pima County the power to ask residents if they want a sales-tax hike to fund spring-training facilities. But is this too little too late?
Let's begin with the obvious, as anyone in baseball circles knows: there's virtually no chance MLB teams will move spring-training operations to Tucson any time soon. In fact, we're pretty sure that after the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks pack up shop and move to Phoenix after Spring Training 2010, we'll see an end to the tradition of spring training in Tucson.
Which is why a bill giving Pima County the power to raise the local sales tax to pay for spring-training facilities is such a non-story. Tucson's issue isn't purely facilities-oriented; the issue is that Tucson is 110 miles from Phoenix, which means a long bus ride for every spring game. It also means a lot of bus time for minor leaguers; baseball schedules spring-training games for minor-league squads in groups of four, and we just don't see four teams moving to Tucson any time this millennium.
So Tucson residents probably should succumb to the inevitable: they'll make lots of money from high-school and college teams using Tucson Electric Park facilities all year long. They'll need to drive to Phoenix to see a spring game. And while voters may pass a referendum on the sales tax — probably not until 2014 — most of that money will end up going to fund youth facilities in the county. And it all will be OK.
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