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Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is still trying to decide the Cubs’ Spring Training future, and he’s headed to Florida for the second time to discuss possible training sites, should the team decide to leave Mesa, Arizona.

Ricketts, whose family took over ownership of the Cubs in late October, and Kenney reviewed several locations in Collier County in September. They narrowed the list to three possible sites for the team, which has called Arizona its Spring Training home since the 1950s.

The Cubs can leave Mesa, Ariz., after the 2011 Cactus League season through an escape clause in their contract that would require a $4.2 million buyout.

Ricketts and Kenney met with Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and other Arizona officials in early November to discuss other sites in east Mesa along the Loop 202 freeway to relocate the Cubs.

The team currently plays in Mesa at HoHoKam Park, which seats 13,100. The Cubs have played in that city since 1979. The Collier County proposal includes a 15,000-seat stadium with six practice fields on 120 contiguous acres.

Smith is hoping the Cubs’ longevity in Arizona is considered during the decision process.

“Over 60 years it has become a tradition for fans to come down here,” Smith told The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla. cubs.com.

Spring Training tradition simply feels more hollow than regular season tradition. Look, I like Mesa – I’ve gone a few times to see the Cubs in the Spring. But for me, a move to Florida simply means a cheaper plane ticket and upgraded viewing facilities.

  • Mike

    “Spring Training tradition simply feels more hollow than regular season tradition. Look, I like Mesa – I’ve gone a few times to see the Cubs in the Spring. But for me, a move to Florida simply means a cheaper plane ticket and upgraded viewing facilities.”

    What an uninformed opinion. New facilities are going up whether it be in east Mesa or in Florida. Also, you really think a ticket to Florida in March is going to be cheaper than Arizona? You are probably right, it’s not like it’s Spring Break or anything.

    The fact is if the Cubs move to Florida they will face longer bus trips between sites, stiff competition for the local baseball fans from the Red Sox and Yankees (which account for over 50% of their attendance), and will alienate their massive fanbase in Arizona. The Cubs currently own the Cactus League which is clear considering they have set attendance records the past couple years. Moving to Florida would be a big mistake.

    • Ace

      Wow. What an angry, and probably biased, comment. If you’re flying from the East (yo), it will be cheaper to head down to Florida. I know.

      As for the facilities, all I said is that if the Cubs move to Florida, the facilities will be upgraded from the current ones in Mesa. I’m aware of the proposal on the table from Mesa regarding newer facilities.

  • pygreg

    Looks like Scott Smith found your website. ^

  • slamdog

    The veterans on the ball clubs wont be making that trip of two hours, and the longest trip on the west coast is 2 hours and 1/2 to Dunedin from Naples, not the three hours that you mention. Second, most of the games the Cubs will be playing will 15 to 20 minutes away against those same Red Sox and the Twins. Most of the clubs the Cubs will be playing will be from the American League which lets out fewer secrets to their National League opponets. Naples temps avg 3 to 5 warmer than Mesa in Feb and March and the humidity that time of year is very comparable. The rain is about 2.1 inches a month during Feb and March in Naples to 1.1 in Mesa during the same time. Also the Cubs will have both their Florida State League team and a Gulf Coast which is the equivilant to their Arizona League at the same site which will save quite a bit of money with sending players and traveling expenses overall. Plus I would rather be around the water than the lunar surface.

    • Realist

      There’s a few things that inspire vacations. Split squads, no veterans or star players because they won’t sit on a bud for 5 hours round trip, and watching the Cubs play the same three teams all spring. The humidity is WAY higher in Florida (I’ve wintered in both locations). I can go to the beach anywhere…including Mexico, San Diego, LA, which are all a few hours away. Not to mention my favorite, Las Vegas.

      • Ace

        Shrug. I’m still fine either way.

  • SUSAN JAKUBEC

    Being a life long Cub fan originally from Chicago, sadly it once again seems to be a money issue. What will bring in more money for the owners? I’m sure that Mesa will compete to the extent that they can in what they can offer to the Cubs but does anyone ever take into consideration the fan base of the Cubs and thinking about them for a change.

    • Ace

      While Mesa has historical ties to the Cubs, I’m sure there are Cub fans in Florida, too.

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