12/14 Naples update
So far, Naples’ efforts to lure the Cubs to Florida for Spring Training has been a private venture. On Monday, Fifth Avenue Advisors and Esmark Inc., the two companies behind the effort, will host an invitation only reception in Naples in an attempt to get some members of the Collier County community involved.
“We’re transitioning from a private company to a community effort,” Gary Price, a partner in Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors told the Naples Daily News. “This is the kickoff for that.”
Neither Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts nor team president Crane Kenney will attend.
Price says the Cubs moving to Florida is still a longshot. “There has absolutely been no commitment from the Cubs that they are leaving Arizona to come to Florida,” Price said. “I think we continue to be a long shot, but every step becomes a better opportunity.”
Ricketts and Kenney have visited the Naples area, and met with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in Tallahassee to discuss moving the Cubs from Mesa, Ariz., to the Sunshine State.
Price told the Naples Daily News his team expects to make a presentation to the Cubs in the next 60 days. Earlier this month, Kenney told Chicago reporters he expects an announcement in January.
– Carrie Muskat