The Cubs May Spring in Naples

Goodbye Cactus League, hello Grapefruit League? It’s been discussed for several months now, and it looks like it really could happen.

Mesa officials met this week with incoming Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and team officials to discuss possibly building a new stadium and training complex. If the Cubs don’t get their demands, they may move to Florida, and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith called the city of Naples, Fla., a “serious threat.”

Smith led the delegation from Mesa to Chicago for meetings Monday and Tuesday. The Mesa contingent concluded the city needs to match Naples’ bid by building a new stadium and training complex.

“This is the marketplace,” Smith told the Arizona Republic. “Our competition is very serious. I think it’s a serious threat. We need to match the competition.”

The city of Mesa would like to build a new stadium and training complex near the former General Motors Proving Grounds but would need a private-public partnership to finance a $70 to $80 million facility. The Cubs feel their facility at Fitch Park is antiquated.

How important are the Cubs to Mesa? A recent study shows Cubs fans contribute $31.1 million in direct Cactus League spending, and $52.2 million to the state economy.

Mesa’s 25-year lease with the Cubs expires in 2016, but the team can pay $4.2 million next spring to opt out early and leave in 2012. Muskat Ramblings.

It wouldn’t quite feel like Spring Training if the Cubs weren’t in Mesa.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

7 responses to “The Cubs May Spring in Naples”

  1. Butcher

    Wow. That would be awful beyond belief.

    The Cactus League is awesome. All of the stadiums are within a few miles of each other (not to mention my cousin lives within walking distance of HoHoKam and I get free room and board when I hit Spring Training).

    This would be a great way for Ricketts to get off on the wrong foot with this particular Cubs fan…

  2. John

    I hope they move! Florida is a much better place for the players plus I prefer the beach over the dessert during the time off I take to catch a few ballgames.

    Ricketts if your listening, please MOVE THE CUBS to FLORDIA for Sprint Training!

  3. Chuck Divine

    Cubs will only be a few miles from the Red Sox, Twins, Rays, Orioles. And to the North are the Pirates, Yankees, and Phillies as well as Blue Jays. Bring the Cubs to FL. Am a Cubs season ticket holder living in Fort Myers.

  4. Butcher

    I will seriously cry if they move to Naples.