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Arizona State walks away from Cubs, will explore Phoenix Muni lease

Arizona State Sun DevilsArizona State University athletic-department officials say they’re done negotiating with the Chicago Cubs to share the team’s new Mesa spring-training complex and will instead look to other potential homes for the Sun Devils baseball team.

The following statement was issued late yesterday:

“After many months of negotiation, ASU regrets that the effort to have the ASU baseball team play in the new Cubs stadium in Mesa has failed. The university approached the talks enthusiastically and readily accepted the deal as originally outlined. But as the new Cubs management changed the original deal points and added new issues to the negotiation, the new terms became far too costly to the university, imposed too many restrictions on ASU’s use of the facility and exposed the university to too great a level of financial liability for the entire complex. We wish to thank the City of Mesa, in particular, Mayor Scott Smith and his staff for the enormous effort the city made to bring the two sides together. We also want to assure ASU baseball fans that the university will immediately start pursing other stadium options.”

Mesa officials pushed public funding of the new spring-training complex, set to open in 2013, under the assumption that it would be shared by the Sun Devils, as ASU officials decided to look for a new baseball home after putting the Packard Stadium land for bid. It would seem to be a marriage made in heaven, but early on ASU officials said the Cubs front office was changing the terms of an original deal.

With Packard Stadium on its way out, ASU will need a new home — and that’s where Phoenix Municipal Stadium comes in. The Oakland A’s currently train at Phoenix Muni and Papago Park but are negotiating to play/train at HoHoKam Park after the Cubs depart to the new facility. If the A’s move, that opens the path for the Sun Devils to play at the Muni. It’s not a bad plan: the University of Arizona did rather well after moving Wildcats baseball to Hi Corbett Field, and the Sun Devils are hoping the blueprint works in Phoenix as well.

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