12/16 Spring training update
The city of Mesa is rushing to install $750,000 worth of new batting cages at the Cubs’ Fitch Park facility in time for Spring Training. The City Council will consider the bids to build the cages on Thursday. It delayed a vote Monday after councilman Dave Richins objected to how quickly the city was trying to get a deal done, according to the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune.
City manager Chris Brady said Cubs officials were talking to city about improving the batting cages before the Ricketts family took over the team in late October. The batting cages are not tied to negotiations over the team’s Spring Training plans.
“Hopefully, it continues to demonstrate our ongoing relationship,” Brady told the Tribune.
Meanwhile, Naples, Fla., community leaders gathered Monday night to officially launch “Project Home Run,” which is their bid to lure the Cubs to the Sunshine State. About 70 to 80 people attended a private gathering at the home of Craig Bouchard, vice chairman of Esmark Inc.
“This was the first step towards taking our private transaction into the public forum,” Bouchard told the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press.
Cubs president Crane Kenney said he expects an announcement regarding the team’s future Spring Training headquarters next month.
— Carrie Muskat