The Phoenix tribe joins Mesa in pitching the Chicago Cubs on a new spring-training facility.
The Gila River Indian Community, which has sought to host a spring-training complex in past years (most recently for the Diamondbacks and Rockies), is making a play to land the Chicago Cubs as a tenant in a new facility.
The Cubs currently train at Mesa's HoHoKam Park and Fitch Field, but have indicated they'd prefer to seek a new spring facility before the lease expires. That is OK with Mesa officials, who say they will pass along potential sites for a new facility to the Cubs next month.
The Gila River Indian Community has the potential to upset this relationship, however. Tribal land is located on the south side of Phoenix (off I-10 at Casa Blanca Road; you've driven by there if you've driven between Phoenix and Tucson), and the vision pushed by tribal officials encompasses a larger development anchored by a Cubs spring ballpark and other development. Not a new vision for spring training in Phoenix, to be sure.
The tribe may have one big advantage over Mesa: as a private developer with its own extensive land holdings and essentially raising its own capital, the tribe can probably outbid Mesa. But Mesa does have one big advantage of its own: the Cubs have been there for a long time, with a lot of Chicago fans residing in the city. Naples (Fla.) officials have made some noise about wooing the Cubs, but we've been told by folks in the organization there's virtually no chance of a shift to the Grapefruit League.
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