After this weekend’s statements from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig that he had “taken over” the plans to finance new Spring Training facilities for the Chicago Cubs, which would keep them Springing in Mesa, Arizona, there were some reasonable concerns about whether the Cubs would indeed remain there. New owner Tom Ricketts is trying to ease any concerns.
“It’s been a terrific spring training season, we’ve had great attendance and a lot of fun out here,” he said.
Ricketts, Gov. Jan Brewer and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith all spoke at the rally, held outside of HoHoKam Park before Monday’s Cubs-Reds game. Brewer also threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Ricketts thanked all the politicians for “trying to find a good solution to our issues here in Arizona.” The Cubs are hoping to build a new spring training complex with funding from the city and state.
“I’m highly confident that with all the people rolling in the same direction, as I think we are now, that we’ll have a great solution and something we can be proud of pretty soon,” he said.
Afterwards, Ricketts declined to address commissioner Bud Selig’s comment that the so-called “Cubs Tax” — a ticket surcharge on all Cactus League games — was dead.
“We’re confident that we’ll get a solution,” he said. “We’re working hard. So we’ll just play it through … and we’ll get it done.”
Smith said Selig “didn’t say anything that he hasn’t said for a long time” about his opposition to the Cubs tax.
“The commissioner, a month ago, said he was against the surcharge,” Smith said. “I think what everyone realizes is there is widespread opposition (to the tax) and the fact is we’re talking about alternatives to that.”
But Selig said for the first time on Saturday that the Cubs tax is dead and will not be part of any legislation. But the surcharge is still in the bill, which was sponsored by Ariz. Rep John McComish.
Smith was asked whether the Cubs tax was indeed “dead.”
“I think that needs to be answered by the legislative leaders, since they’re the ones that are running the bill,” Smith said. “But I think the reality is certainly, even Rep. McComish has said he’s not moving forward with the bill that’s in the Senate right now.
“Until there are some changes, or something is done, he’s not moving forward with it. So I don’t think Commissioner Selig was saying something that isn’t already out there.” Chicago Breaking Sports.
So maybe Selig knew that the “Cubs tax” was not moving forward anyway, and now he gets to look like the hero that stopped it. Of course, it’s also possible that he’s the reason it isn’t moving forward anymore.
In any event, things will get more difficult for the people of Mesa and Arizona to finance new facilities for the Cubs, who’ve said all along that they don’t care how the facilities are financed, as long as they come.