As of late yesterday afternoon, reports were flying around the Internet and in private emails that the Cubs had decided to remain in Mesa for spring training. Even this morning’s Tribune ran a headline on the first page of the Sports section that said “Cubs keep spring home.” The article, by Dave van Dyck is not totally accurate, and I take issue with inaccuracies, such as in this case.
The real story is that it appears that the Cubs will remain in Mesa. The team has been given a “Memorandum of Understanding” by the folks in Mesa. In it, the location of the new stadium will be in the Longbow area of Mesa about seven or eight miles from HoHoKam Park, according to information obtained by www.bleedcubbieblue.com In a nutshell, the Cubs would have a state-of-the art stadium with seating for up to 15,000 fans. They would be given naming rights to the stadium and would run all stadium operations. It is unknown at this time whether the Cubs will retain the HoHoKams to run day-to-day operations at the new ballpark.
The Mesa City Council is expected to vote on the Memorandum Monday night and then turn it over to the Cubs for approval. The Memorandum calls for both public and private money to be used. The public portion of the agreement is then subject to approval by the citizens of Mesa. There are no problems expected in that vote.
As was stated in the Tribune article, key highlights from the memorandum include at 15,000 seat stadium (including berm seating), an approximately 50,000 square foot clubhouse and at least 16 batting tunnels and 16 pitching mounds.
The facility would also include a locker room, meeting room and nutritional and language centers. Also discussed in the Memorandum are: space for a training and administration facilities, including housing for team offices, dining and class rooms, meeting spaces and indoor training areas for major and minor league baseball players. A minimum of two Major League sized practice fields would be built.
Other than the actual stadium, the issue of practice fields is also addressed. According to the Memorandum, four full-sized practice fields will be built no farther away than 1/4 mile from the new stadium. That facility would include “a minimum of four Major League-sized practice fields with instructional and viewing capabilities; 100 public parking spaces and Major League quality lighting,” among other amenities. This is a vast improvement over Fitch Park, which is where the Cubs practice fields are currently housed. The entire Memorandum can be found here.
Cubs fans should be rejoicing today. Their voices were heard and the City of Mesa is stepping up to the plate, as it were.