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.