Mesa city officials say they're ready to work with the Chicago Cubs on a new spring-training facility and will pass along a list of proposed sites in November.
Alas, poor HoHoKam, I knew thee well.
But not well enough to prevent Mesa and the Chicago Cubs from casting covetous eyes toward a new spring-training facility within the city. 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, as city officials return from meetings in Chicago and map out a strategy to keep the Cubs in Mesa.
And who wouldn't? As it is, there's nothing wrong with HoHoKam Park. It is what it is. But it will never fuel additional development in Mesa, it will never generate too much more revenue for the Cubs, and it's probably not enough to spur the Cubs to make a long-term commitment to Mesa.
So city officials, we're told, are abandoning talk of a HoHoKam Park renovation in favor of a new spring facility, probably on the west side closer to the airport. There, the Cubs can pursue additional development and finally unite the training camp with the spring ballpark (currently the Cubs train at Finch Field and play games at HoHoKam Park). Pursuant to this new strategy the city is putting together a list of possible training sites within the city, but father away from downtown Mesa.
One thing is for certain, we're told by insiders: there's very little chance of the Cubs moving to Florida, no matter how bad Naples officials covet the team. And give the Cubs some credit: they're not out (yet, anyway) playing cities against cities for the best spring-training deal.
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