10/25 Cubs look at Naples sites

Could the Cubs move their Spring Training site to Florida? A Naples, Fla., newspaper reports a group was formed four months ago for the purpose of making Collier County the Spring Training home of the Cubs. The Florida group has met with Cubs chairman Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts, whose family is taking over as the team’s owner.

“The Chicago Cubs are exploring Naples, Fla., as a potential Spring Training venue and have been working with Chicago-based Esmark and Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors in that regard,” Kenney confirmed in a statement to the Naples (Fla.) Daily News. “Our site visits and discussions confirm that Collier County has a number of suitable locations for a world-class Spring Training facility.”

Cubs officials toured the area by helicopter to see what locations may be suitable. Craig Bouchard, who is a co-founder of Esmark Inc., said it was clear after their meeting that Ricketts and Kenney’s “objective is to do what is best for Cubs fans. They want to win a World Series. And they want to build the very best organization they can.”

The Cubs are believed to be looking for 120 contiguous acres. The Sports Management Division of Esmark is a principal sponsor of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Bouchards are principal owners of the Naples Tennis Club. Craig Bouchard, is a Cubs fan, and was an official with First National Bank of Chicago. He still has a home in the Chicago area.

The price tag for the venture could exceed $80 million, the newspaper reported. Bouchard said they are pursuing every avenue, public and private, to finance the project and not raise property or sales taxes of the residents of Collier County.

“I committed to Crane that Esmark will invest and take a leadership role in the stadium project,” Bouchard said.

The Cubs’ 25-year lease with the city of Mesa expires in 2016. The team has an escape clause, which allows the Cubs to pay $4.2 million to the city next spring in order to leave Mesa in 2012. Recent studies have shown that the Cubs bring in more than $52 million to Arizona, and more than $30 million to the city of Mesa.

The Cubs have called Mesa their Spring Training home since the 1950s, and permanent home since 1979.

“We are still a long shot,” Bouchard said of Naples as a site for the Cubs, “but I agree with the mayor of Mesa that we are a serious threat. We offer an outstanding destination for families, award-winning beaches and a belief we can put together a proposal that is favored by the Cubs. Sometimes, long shots win.”

Collier County has never had a Spring Training team. The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins play nearby in Fort Myers.

Ricketts was expected to tour four sites in Mesa in November during the Cubs’ organizational meetings.

— Carrie Muskat


But it rains in Florida……:-(

This has to be the BURNING issue on all us Cubs fans minds…oh my God where is our multi-billion dollar beloved Cubs going to train all the Jim Hendry flunkies? Arizona or Florida? Cue the dramatic music and stay tuned for more episodes of “As The Cubs GM Turns Our Stomach”. Today’s episode brought to you by Soriano’s 8 year contract and Bradley’s FREE money. Next week’s episode: Will Jaramillo reunite with his long last love Milton? Or will Hendry trade Milton to Baltimore for Rich Hill….?
Note to Tom Ricketts: While you’re touring some towns can you squeeze in a few interviews for a new GM??? PLEASE??

I am a Chicago Cubs season ticket holder who lives in Fort Myers. I also am a spring training season ticket holder with the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. February and March are the dry months. In the past 5 years, there have been very few rainouts. The Milwaukee Brewers have been approached to take over City of Palms park which will be vacated with the new Red Sox training facilities. Very possible to have the following teams on west coast of FL for spring traing in 2012: Rays, Red Sox, Twins, Orioles, Pirates, Blue Jays, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs and Brewers

DON’T MOVE!!! I live in Chicagoland and have traveled out to Arizona for Spring Training the last few years and LOVE IT! Can’t say I love Florida. Been there many times and no matter when you go, the humidity sucks. No humidity or rain issues in Arizona. CACTUS LEAGUE RULES!!!

Upgrade Ho Ho Kam if you must, but STAY IN ARIZONA!!!!

I moved to So Cal years ago and have enjoyed going to spring training at Mesa. There are thousands of Cubs fans out here and I would hate to see us miss out on seeing our beloved Cubbies. If Mesa truly wants the Cubs add another couple thousand seats and we will still sell out!!! Just think when its cold in Chitown you can go to Mesa for a couple games and then scoot up to Vegas for a couple days!! Gotta Love It!!

move! it’s better for teams to train in FL as Lou pointed out at the end of this past spring. it’s harder to get a feel for players in spring in AZ. with the weather then the ball doesn’t spin well and you can’t tell how pitchers are doing. it’s just really not good for the players to get ready either. if Ricketts is serious about winning he’ll move to FL.

Oh for (no) cryin’ (in baseball) outloud…now we have to listen to people telling us that to be SERIOUS ABOUT WINNING the Cubs need to train in Florida? Are YOU serious? How about we start with a friggin’ PLAN? Scout, sign, develope and promote TALENTED players (that could train anywhere), sign QUALITY free agents to shorter deals instead of PRIMA DONNA, OVER-RATED, CRY BABY free agents to long term, no-trade deals that handicap the organization for years to come AS THEIR ABILITY DIMINISHES???? I’d be hard pressed to believe the 2009 season would have been any better, Bradley any “less miserable”, Miles would hit his weight, Gregg wouldn’t have lead the league in homers allowed for a closer, Zambrano would have won 18 games, Fukodome would stop spinning in the batter’s box, Soriano would swing at pitches IN THE STRIKE ZONE and Soto wouldn’t have let himself go…if they trained in Florida. The only way training in Florida would be advantagous would be if their was a training facility for GM’s that Hendry could attend that taught common sense.

it sure would be nice if Hendry would quit signing bad attitude players.

So to go along w/ the you can’t win if you train in AZ idea… The Angels play in Tempe. They do pretty well, the Sox play in Tucson, they aren’t too bad. The Dodgers moved to the Phoenix area this past spring, made it to the NLCS. There are a lot of Cub fans in the Mesa area and I for one have loved leaving my W. Michigan home for the last 10yrs for the desert south west in March. Every time I have gone to Florida it has sucked, it rains, the humidity sucks and also, if they move down there, it is really hard to see a couple of different games w/o driving for more than an hr at a time. In the Phoenix area, everything is within a half hr. with the exception of the few teams that play in Tucson. They need to stay in Mesa case closed.

Do the math…it’s no fluke…85% of all World Series winners train in Florida.

This is a ploy to get the HoHoKams to refurbish HoHOKam Park. If Ricketts is serious about Florida, he’s nuts. More teams are leaving Florida and going to AZ. than the other way around. The Bus rides between spring training sites are long, tedious and tiring. It takes time away from training. Stupid move.

I hope for the sake of the fans that invested time, money and resources in AZ the Cubs stay there, that’s about the only thing I could care about…for those fans.
By the way, Hendry’s tri-fecta of dissappointing outfielders are stilL Cubs, right? AZ or FL, it’s still is what it is until MORE THAN THE SPRING TRAINING LOCATION CHANGES.

Naples is good choice, Miami is even better!


This would be a dream come true. Anybody that attends the Cubs games against the Marlins in Miami knows it’s like a home game for the Cubs. There are tons of fans down here and the weather during spring training can’t be beat anywhere in the United States.

Big Deal! What about Soriano’s deal or the lack of a left-handed bat (again), or a closer, center fielder, second baseman, and on and on. Mesa is a nice dry location and a good place to go for Spring Training. Why waste the time or money. Oh yeah, they signed a new hitting coach. Break out the bunting!!! The World Series is right around the corner. Or was getting the Texas Ranger’s hitting coach just a smoke screen so they can bring Milton back cause he had success in Texas.

What have the Cubs done since being in Meza for over the past fifty years! Naples is a beautiful place. those of you who think humidity and rain dont have a clue of seasons in Florida. From December through March is the best weather in Florida. I have been a cubs fan for forty years and their are too many cub fans young and old that are afraid of breaking traditions. the only tradition that I want to break is to win a World Series!!!!!

First of all, Mesa is spelled with an “s”. Second, anyone who thinks where a team holds Spring training influences the outcome of the team’s season is high. Please. The percentages thrown out there are largely because of the Yankees! Yes, the Yankees. You’re right. They win because they train in Florida. Give me a break.
Then why are so many teams, including the Dodgers, leaving Florida for the Cactus League? Because the Cactus League is better? For fans and players?
It’s no secret the Cubs want a new ST facility. Even though they OWN the ST attendance record, for years, they are not happy. But this issue is one of combining their workout field, currently Fitch Park, with their ballpark (even though Fitch is two blocks away). The main reason, of course, is money. How much money can they get for some municipality or Indian Reservation to build them a new home? What, so they can have a fish pond for the players to fish in?
I’m disappointed that it has come to this. The Ho Ho Kams in Mesa have been the ultimate hosts for ST for the last 11 or so years. They have done everything asked of them, and believe me, they do not make money. All they do is welcome the fans, day in and day out, all through February and March, with a warm and hospitable manner. Shame on you Ricketts for listening to that worm, Crane Kenney. Get rid of him before you get rid of Hendry, or even Bradley, which all of you know is tough for any Cub fan to say let alone think.
There are still lots of options in AZ, and the Cubs would be hard pressed to leave the Phoenix area. I’ve travelled to ST every year for the last 12, but I guarantee you I will not go to Florida to see them. It was lame enough to go in 2003 for the NLCS and I was still able to get a ticket to Game 5 that day. And we couldn’t even find the ALCS game on the radio on the way to the stadium! (Note, I said stadium and not ballpark.) Baseball is NOT loved in Florida; football is. Arizona is the place to be. I realize you want to court these other offers to raise your stock in AZ, but knock it off, for the love of the game. Please.

IF the Cubs move to Florida I will never go see another spring training game again! The Arizona atmosphere is next to none-constant sunshine-NO RAIN. We deal with rain outs enough living in the midwest during the regular season, now we may have to fight the humidity and bugs in the spring-NO THANKS!

Insobaseball you are correct, there are so many more pressing issues for the Cubs getting to the World Series
than just increasing their profit, or running the business.
Sometimes I think the “simple folk” of the world get it better than the “higher ups”. WORLD SERIES appearance first all this other crap can wait. Kenney, Hendry and Bradley??? I’d rather have Howard, Fine and Howard!!!

I have been a Chicago Cubs fan ever since I knew what the game of baseball was. I have been going to Phoenix for Spring Training for the last 20 years. I do not wish to go to Florida and would not if the Cubs move their training season to FLA. I think the new owners need to think about improving the team, not looking for a new place to play. Next thing you know, they will change Wrigley Field. It’s not the fans that aren’t doing their jobs.

Whoa..cigreen…nicely said, we fans certainly are doing are job just by remaining loyal to the CUBS TEAM if not the owners, management, GENERAL MANAGER (yeesh.), etc.

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