1/12/10 Naples, Fla., Spring Training update

Want to know more details about the Cubs’ possible move of their Spring Training facility to Florida? On Wednesday, the investor group leading the “Cubs to Florida” effort will meet with the editorial board of the Naples Daily News, and the session will be broadcast on the newspaper’s website.

The Cubs could make a decision as early as next week as to whether they will stay in Mesa, Ariz., or move to Florida.

Craig Bouchard, co-founder and vice chairman of Chicago-based Esmark Inc., and Gary Price, managing partner and principal of Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors, will take part in the meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. Also attending the session will be Craig Lyon, managing partner and principal with Fifth Avenue Advisors.

The investor group will review its proposal to bring the Cubs’ Spring Training complex to Collier County and present a detailed overview of the many local and state benefits its plan would offer.

The Cubs are the top prize in the Cactus League. A recent study showed they bring $52 million to the state of Arizona. Florida officials say out of town Red Sox fans directly spend $23.9 million into the Lee County economy in Spring Training.
 
Here are some details of the Florida group’s proposal regarding the Cubs:

* The facility will be leased and maintained by the Cubs under a 20- to 30-year contract. Private investors will build the Wrigley Village commercial district.

* The facility will consist of a 15,000-seat stadium, practice fields, Major and Minor League clubhouses and the Cubs baseball operations headquarters.

* Collier County taxpayers will not pay for the facility. Funding is proposed to come from private sources, fees paid by tourists, and state funds set aside for baseball.

* No county sales tax or ad valorem (property) tax is proposed to fund this project.

* Outside of Spring Training, the complex will host adult and Little League baseball and softball tournaments, concerts, art festivals and special events.

– Carrie Muskat

22 Comments

The Cubs need to stay in AZ. Why would you want the extra bus travel to get to games. In addition a lot bigger threat of rainouts and such. Just keep the Cubs where there supposed to be, in AZ!

Better facilities, not less travel, will make the Cubs more competitive, plus playing better competition (Red Sox, Twins and Rays are all close by) will give the management a more realistic idea of the talent level of the team. Higher humidities will allow pitchers to come out of Spring Training with a better feel for their pitches and rainy season doesn’t begin until mid June in Naples, so the likelihood of rainouts is relatively low. All you native Chicagoans would love the weather for Spring Training, much more like good summer weather in Chicago with highs in the 70’s and 80’s and lows around 60 degrees.

I hope that the new owners consider the fact that many of the cubs fans are located in the midwest (exp) – Sioux Falls, SD, not far from their homes. Moving the spring training to Fl would make it a hardship to travel and support our team. By keeping the spring training in Az. it would be much easier and less expensive for the average income fan to be able to make spring traing.

thank you for listening — GO CUBS 2010
Charlie C – SFSD#1CUBFAN

I really hope the Cubs stay in Arizona. So many people from the midwest retired to Arizona in part because the Cubs were there and they are the anchor of the Cactus league. Putting them in Florida just mixes them up with all those East Coast i.e. New York teams. The new Cubs owners are native Midwesterners. I am sure they understand how tied Arizona, the Cubs and Midwest are.

Please, please stay in Arizona. We go there for spring break and attend many ball games. All the parks are relatively close together making the experience totally enjoyable. In Florida, theer are hefty travel times between parks making the experience very taxing, definitely not enjoyable. Also, what about the Cub fans that retired to Arizona just to be there for spring training? Stop being so selfish. Negotiate what you need and stay in Arizona. Enough already.

I am a bit skeptical about the Cubs moving out of AZ. They own the Cactus League. Mesa and the greater Phoenix area are going hard to keep the Cubs part of the local color. While there may be some drawbacks in terms of weather and competition, the overall appeal and established fan base makes moving impractical. A move, if it occurred would cause more than a few fans to switch allegiance to the White Sox. It just makes more sense both economically and culturally to remain in AZ.

The CUBS need to stay in AZ. I will be there for spring training the first week of March. I am three years away from retiring and my dream is to move to AZ and be around my CUBS that I have supported since 1956. I will not ever move over to the dark side (White Sox) or move to Florida, to many East coasters, Yanks, Red Sox,Mets fans etc.
If AZ is not great then why are the Reds and Dodgers coming out there? Must be something wrong in FLA. To the Ricketts Family Please leave the Cubs where they are, its a perfect world. Thanks.

The CUBS need to stay in AZ. I will be there for spring training the first week of March. I am three years away from retiring and my dream is to move to AZ and be around my CUBS that I have supported since 1956. I will not ever move over to the dark side (White Sox) or move to Florida, to many East coasters, Yanks, Red Sox,Mets fans etc.
If AZ is not great then why are the Reds and Dodgers coming out there? Must be something wrong in FLA. To the Ricketts Family Please leave the Cubs where they are, its a perfect world. Thanks.

The CUBS need to stay in AZ. I will be there for spring training the first week of March. I am three years away from retiring and my dream is to move to AZ and be around my CUBS that I have supported since 1956. I will not ever move over to the dark side (White Sox) or move to Florida, to many East coasters, Yanks, Red Sox,Mets fans etc.
If AZ is not great then why are the Reds and Dodgers coming out there? Must be something wrong in FLA. To the Ricketts Family Please leave the Cubs where they are, its a perfect world. Thanks.

I think the cubs should move to florida. If you want to be the best you should practice against the best for example the yankees, and red sox are in florida. Its also alot closer to florida from chicago than to arizona. The last time i checked it was at least 500 miles. There are plenty of cub fans in florida already who would welcome them here. Why not give the cubs a fresh start in florida with the new owners. They have been in arizona too long and still have not made it to the world series. The ball moves better due to the humidity in florida so better practice against the curveball as well. Go cubs!

The cubs should move to fl for sure! So sorry to the loners that retired to Ariz so they could watch cubs spring training for two months out of the year. Fl is a much more desireable place for people with money to live (aka players) than AZ. There have been 3 top free agents/contracted players with no trrade clauses that have either only talked to or would only wave their ntc to go to a team thats spring training was in FL. The teams are much better in fl and I live in fl. People, IT DOES NOT RAIN IN FL UNTIL JUNE! So get off that. the weather is perfect during spring training. Every team here plays outdoors!!!

I’m way more concerned with the Cubs winning a World Series than where they hold their spring training. Go Cubbies!

The Cubs organization will do what’s best to forth a quality product on the field. With that being said I do believe that Florida is the best destination for them. Within the Ft Myers/Naples area they will have the opportunity to compete against quality teams such as the Red Sox, Twins, and Rays. Not to mention the Yankees and Phillies in the Tampa area quality teams surround the Gulf Coast. Until recently the Orioles even showed interest in Ft Myers moving to the Red Sox’ old facility.
People have made comments about the weather in March I guess if you want to complain about 80 degree temps and cool evenings you have an argument, but rain season doesn’t begin till June!
The Cubs are due a change maybe a relocation of the ST facility is a start to it all.

I have the solution. The Cubs stay in AZ for all spring training games, facilities, re-habbing etc. and they send Jim Hendry to FL making him the GM of a “fantasy league” Cubs team. This way Hendry can remain employed allowing the Ricketts (for whatever reason) to honor his contract but he would no longer be in the way of a new, more competant GM (Maddux??) for the major league team.

Personally, I dont really give a damm as to whether the Cubs move there spring training to Florida or stay Arizona. To why there making this a big deal is dumb. Its Spring Training! As far as Cubs fans myself included (2 cubs tattoos and season tix holder) I can bet they could care less. All spring training is is just a 1 month tease of games and gets the fans amped up for the start of the season. Believe me, once the Cubs return to Wrigley in April this will be long and forgotten. The only people who are probably going to complain and moan about this are the residents in Arizona and Florida which is normal. Otherwse who cares, get this team ready in Mesa this year and lets hope for a long great season in 2010. Go Cubbies!

Stay in Arizona!!

Boston and New York win sometimes because they spend more money than everybody else, it has nothing to do with the spring training competition. The starters only play a few innings and often face AAA pitchers or AA pitchers, or pitchers who are working on a new pitch, or are just trying to build arm strength. The real competition comes during the season when teams are actually trying to win games and the Cubs can’t do anything to change that. They should stay in AZ. They have built an incredible fan base and I have gone to AZ several times for Spring Training to see the Cubs and catch a few other games because they are all so close. I will be one of the many who will never go to Florida to see them because drive times are so long between stadiums. Also, other teams are leaving Florida to go to AZ, if everybody else is getting out, why are we trying to get in.

I do hope the Cubs indeed move to Florida. The Florida Winter/Spring is much more similar (i.e. humid) to the Chicago Summer than Arizona’s dry climate. Additionally it is not always best to be the top team. If you want to get better, you need to play against people that are better than you. As a fan we cannot be selfish about our own wishes. This is a team effort and we should all want what is best for our team. The end goal of the season is not how many Spring training games we all make it to, but rather celebrating victoriously OUR team bringing the World Series to Chicago and winning for the first time in over 100 years. Can’t we all delay our gratification, let them go to a better Spring league, and hopefully celebrate like mad in Fall?

Why would the cubs even think of leaving AZ. when they keep moving teams from FL. to AZ. Leave the Cubs in AZ. From long, long time Cub fan

There are good reasons to stay and good to go. One reason, and a very important one, to stay is the weather. The very dry Arizona weather is probably better for the players health. I would suspect that the pitchers in particular their arms, would do much better in the dry weather. In Florida there is much more rain to deal with. Looking all that Florida is offering it of course must be looked at as money talks in the final analysis. Could be that the Cubs are using the Florida offers to jackup the benefits for the Cubs in Arizona.

Cubs have a lot of loyal fans in Arizona as well as every where else. They will bring the fans to Florida as well. But it is not about the fans its about the team. I would like to see the Go Cubs Go all the way to Florida. Weather is the same you got better teams to play a good change for the team to improve their game. Yes Arizona is nice and and the fields are closer to each other but the weather stinks their. Cubs fans will always be Cubs fans and they will not switch to the sox or any other team.

How could anyone suggest that the talent level faced during spring training is directly related to getting to the World Series? That has to be the most ridiculous argument for re-locating. Playing “better” teams in FL will make Soriano a better fielder? Fukodome stop screwing himself into the ground when batting? Fontenot hit .320?, Soto get in shape and hit 25 homers? Hendry stop signing players past their prime to long term contracts? Some things that give a team the best chance to get to, let alone winning a World Series is proper training, astute player evalution, SMART general managing and flat out TALENT. Hendry hasn’t done much of any of these things LATLEY. But to argue that a team will get better by playing against people that are better than you is insane. The Cubs have faced MANY teams both in spring training and regular season games over the past few years MUCH better than them and show no signs of dramatic improvement. In fact, Hendry has “played against” quite a few GM’s MUCH BETTER than him and he certainly hasn’t picked up anything to make him better!!!

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