There has been a great deal of talk about the Chicago Cubs heading to Florida for Spring Training starting in 2012, but in the end, it may be just talk.
While a Collier County, Fla., group may well be serious in its effort to lure the Cubs away from Mesa, Ariz., the chances of the Cubs leaving the greater Phoenix area in the foreseeable future appear to be slim to none, based on the logistical headaches already driving major league teams away from Florida, the Cubs’ centerpiece position in Arizona’s Cactus League and common sense.
The Cubs are using a looming deadline for opting out of their contract with Mesa to court other offers while seeking upgrades to their existing HoHoKam Stadium and Fitch Park facilities to bring them more in line with newer, grander facilities in the Phoenix area such as the one shared by the White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale.
Cubs officials have met with groups proposing relocations to both Collier County and Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, but Mesa mayor Scott Smith is betting a 50-year relationship with the Cubs and statewide support that the Cubs aren’t going anywhere.
”We view this as a regional issue, not simply Mesa,” Smith said. ”We’ve got support across the board, from city officials, regional officials and state officials. Obviously, we have to make sure we do what we need to do to successfully keep the Cubs.
”I’m confident we’ll be able to come up with a package that will be very difficult for them to turn down. It’s all here. They have the best chance to succeed here, and Arizona will give its best to provide them with that opportunity.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
The city has already agreed to upgrade the facilities made available to the Cubs, and HoHoKam Park is going by the wayside.
The Cubs do not have to decide on whether or not to opt out of their current agreement until February, so this process will be ongoing for some time.