Results tagged ‘ Naples ’

12/19 Spring update – Mesa

Mesa city manager Chris Brady said a meeting Friday with Cubs officials went well and the team assured him that the Arizona city is still a serious candidate for its Spring Training site. The discussion went well enough that Mesa will likely spend $684,000 on improvements to Fitch Park, where the Cubs currently have their Spring Training headquarters.

The Cubs told Brady they will likely make a decision on whether they’re going to move to Florida or stay in Arizona by mid January. On Monday this past week, the Naples, Fla., group got the Collier County community involved and launched their campaign, “Project Home Run.”

— Carrie Muskat

12/17 Spring training update

A delegation intent on keeping the Cubs’ Spring Training site in Mesa, Ariz., was headed to Chicago Thursday to meet with the team’s management. The East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune reported that the Arizona contingent needs the Cubs to identify one or two potential sites so Mesa officials can work with landowners and develop a more specific financial plan.

The delegation was to include Mesa city manager Chris Brady, deputy city manager Bryan Raines and economic development director Bill Jabjiniak. They were expected to meet on Friday in Chicago.

“We’ve traded ideas and some details and hope that by going to Chicago we can tie down some of those details,” Mesa mayor Scott Smith told the Tribune.

— Carrie Muskat

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

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

12/10 No decision yet re: Spring Training

The Cubs Thursday denied a report that the team has made up its mind about Spring Training, and is relocating to Florida. An official decision was expected next month. The team is looking at two sites near Naples, Fla., and two sites in Arizona, including one in Mesa. The city of Mesa, meanwhile, has proposed building additional batting cages at the Cubs’ Fitch Park complex at a cost of $750,000. They would be ready in time for Spring Training this year.

— Carrie Muskat

12/9 Spring Training

The Cubs are expected to announce next month where they could relocate for Spring Training in 2012. GM Jim Hendry has some input, but said ultimately, it will be the Ricketts family’s decision.

“There’s a lot of intangibles that, as a general manager, I don’t have a right to weigh in on,” Hendry said. “There’s going to be a huge commitment of dollars and land and things like that. Those things are way out of my realm of expertise, as they should be. Tom [Ricketts, chairman] has to do what’s best for the organization, and I don’t have any doubt he will. I think every decision he’ll make with his family will be designed for the Cubs’ future.

“My 15 years in Arizona have been outstanding and the people in Mesa have been great to us. The financial end and long-term commitment are things I’m not privy to.”

The Cubs are believed to be considering two sites in Arizona, including in Mesa, which is their current location, and two sites in Collier County near Naples, Fla.

— Carrie Muskat

12/4 Ticket prices, Spring Training, skating & more

The Cubs recognize these are tough economic times, so ticket prices for 2010 home games will essentially be flat for 50 percent of the seats. The “bronze” and “silver” level ticket prices will basically stay the same, while the “gold” tickets on average will increase about $2 and the “platinum” level will increase on average about $5.

“This isn’t the year to go crazy on ticket price increases,” Cubs president Crane Kenney said Friday. “The Ricketts [family] made it clear in their opening press conference that all of the profits in the business stay in the business.”

Kenney addressed some other Cubs topics at Wrigley Field:

* SEASON TICKETS: Attention anyone on the waiting list: There’s hope. Right now, there are about 120,000 people on the waiting list. The Cubs will have 700 new tickets available for 2010. Kenney said existing season ticket holders will be allowed to relocate to the now available locations if they chose. Stay tuned for more information on that.

* SPRING TRAINING: The Cubs should have an announcement in January about whether they will keep their Spring Training headquarters in Arizona or move to Florida for the 2012 season. The team has narrowed its list to two sites in Collier County near Naples, Fla., and two sites in Maricopa County, Ariz., including one linked to the Gila River Indian Reservation.

“The way we’re sizing this up is we’ve had a great 50 years in Arizona and they’ve been great partners,” Kenney said. “What [Cubs chairman] Tom [Ricketts] and the family is looking at is where should we spend the next 50 years.”

Naples has become a very viable option, and the Cubs do recognize that travel will be an issue in Florida. The closest teams are in Fort Myers, where the Red Sox and Twins both train. Kenney said he is considering all factors, including the demographics of the two states, to determine the best place to make a sizable investment.

“From the attractiveness of the business offers, it’s certainly even,” Kenney said.

The Cubs aren’t looking to build a smaller Wrigley Field, but replicate the Wrigley experience, he said. They want fans to be able to walk to the ballpark from their hotel and have restaurants, retail and golf nearby. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has said he hopes the Cubs’ long tradition in the city will count, and Kenney said it does mean something to the Ricketts family.

“The deciding factor will be training for the players,” Kenney said. “Tom [Ricketts] has said at the end of the day, if it’s a push on all other fronts, where we can train the players to perform the best is where we’ll go.”

* WRIGLEY FIELD: The Ricketts family took a tour of the ballpark from top to bottom, examining everything from the washrooms to the players’ lounge to the scoreboard. There is currently some work being done to upgrade. Kenney said the family told him to “think long-term” in terms of improvements. Fans should notice better washroom facilities and concessions. Part of the process has been Kenney taste-testing hot dogs to find the best one.

The players should have a better weight room when they report in 2010. The umpires’ dressing room is being relocated. The back of the scoreboard is being repaired and updated. There are no plans for a video scoreboard, but the team is looking into having replays and stats available for fans at the ballpark to use on their iPhones and other hand-held devices.

The team is negotiating with businesses to find a sponsor for the billboards projected for left field. Kenney said the goal is to preserve the culture of Wrigley Field but also bring in revenue.

The team hopes to create a club on the mezzanine level where Suites 1-6 are currently located. About 80 tickets will be available for that location, and fans will have access to their own concessions and a bar. The tickets will be sold as season tickets. Expect an announcement sometime after Christmas.

* TRIANGLE BUILDING: The Cubs are interviewing architects and engineers to get the project going. The building, which will be located on Clark Street, west of Wrigley Field, could house offices, a restaurant and retail options.

* ICE RINK: The Cubs are building an ice rink in the parking lot west of Wrigley Field which will be open this winter. More details to come. It’s being done in conjunction with the Chicago Park District, and because of the interest created by the NHL Winter Classic played at Wrigley on Jan. 1.

— Carrie Muskat

12/1 Cubs brass visit Florida governor

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and team president Crane Kenney were in Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and other state officials. The topic of discussion is the Cubs’ possibly relocating their Spring Training facilities to the Sunshine State and Collier County near Naples. Ricketts and Kenney looked at several sites in September, and were believed to have narrowed the list to three. If the Cubs did re-locate in Florida, the project would primarily be privately funded.

The Cubs have not ruled out staying in Arizona, and looked at some possible locations in early November. Ricketts and Kenney also met with Arizona state officials at a dinner.

— Carrie Muskat


11/27 Spring Training

Some members of the Ricketts family will travel to Naples, Fla., this coming week to review possible Spring Training sites in Collier County. Meanwhile, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith told the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune that the city should know within a few weeks whether the Cubs will keep their Spring Training facility in Arizona. The Ricketts family, who took over ownership of the Cubs in late October, toured Mesa the first week of November during the Cubs’ organizational meetings and looked at possible sites.

According to the East Valley Tribune, Smith said the Ricketts family seemed pleased with several sites along the Loop 202 freeway in east Mesa. A new facility would likely cost $80 million and the project would be funded with yet to be determined mix of private and government monies.

— Carrie Muskat

11/18 Mr. Ricketts meets the owners

New Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts will have a chance to meet the other Major League Baseball owners at a dinner Wednesday night. Ricketts, whose family took over the team in October, was not taking part in any of the owners committee meetings at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. Team president Crane Kenney was at the hotel Wednesday for committee meetings on finance and revenue sharing.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig will address the owners on Thursday.

Kenney did say the Ricketts family will meet with Florida officials after Thanksgiving week as they continue to explore Spring Training options for the Cubs. The Ricketts family looked at several sites in Collier County, and were believed to have narrowed the list to three possible options. The Cubs have the option of buying out their contract in Mesa, Ariz., and moving after 2011.

— Carrie Muskat