11/4 Ricketts to tour Mesa sites

The Ricketts family was to tour Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday by helicopter to look at potential sites along the Loop 202 freeway for the Cubs’ Spring Training home. Last month, new Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was in Collier County, Fla., to do the same, looking at three sites near Naples.

The Cubs want 120 contiguous acres where they can build a 15,000-seat stadium, have at least six practice fields, and upgraded facilities for player development. The team has outgrown its current site in Mesa.

On Tuesday night, Arizona officials delivered their sales pitch to the Ricketts family at a dinner at the Red Mountain Ranch Country Club. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer attended, and the session included a video message from Sen. John McCain, who wished the Cubs a World Series victory, according to the East Valley Tribune.

“Please stay with us,” McCain said.

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who is president of the Phoenix Greater Economic Council, also made a presentation.

“We’re really committed to make sure we can address all your issues,” Bidwill said.

The Cubs’ contract with Mesa and HoHoKam Stadium allows the team to buy out of the deal after 2012. The team has practiced in Mesa since the 1950s, and called its current site home since 1979. The Cubs are the top draw in the Cactus League, and a recent survey showed they provide $52 million to the state’s economy.

– Carrie Muskat 

4 Comments

That is really encouraging to hear about the Ricketts’ involvment in improving the spring training facilities. I believe they will improve more than just that. I almost feel like giving Hendry a hug….

Yeah, this was one of the issues that we heard about before. Very smart move in already checking out Naples. They are going to force the hand in AZ. Are they willing to lose that $52 mil? We’ll see. It was also reported that the facilities at Wrigley are an issue. I do believe that the current structure will only allow minimal upgrades. Does anybody else remember this? And if so, what actually can be done to improve the player facilities at Wrigley?

The so-called Triangle building will have an impact on the player facilities, because it could house a weight room and trainer’s room. Moving all of that out of the clubhouse would help create a larger locker room. The Ricketts are going to take the first year to look over their options, and hopefully get started as soon as the 2010 season is complete. You can’t finish a project like that by Opening Day. As for Wrigley, expect improvements to the restrooms and concourse area before the regular season starts.

Maybe an underground tunnel from Wrigley to the Triangle building can be arranged? Except of course Daley is a Sox fan???

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