Yesterday, the City of Mesa and the Chicago Cubs, including Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts, did a little pageantry about the new Spring Training facilities and ballpark opening in time for Spring Training in 2014. From Cubs.com:
“This is a big win for the team to get this started,” Ricketts said of the new facility, scheduled to be completed in December. “It’s a big win for our fans who go to Spring Training, it’s a big win for the city of Mesa, it’s a big win for economic development for the whole area, to be honest, so everybody’s winning.
“It also translates into literal wins,” Ricketts said. “When I look out, I see ‘W’ flags. We have to build a foundation of first-class facilities throughout our organization.”
The 144-acre site is located at the intersection of Highways 101 and 202 in east Mesa, and for now, is called Wrigleyville West. Mesa voters approved spending $84 million on the project, which includes a 15,000-seat stadium and a 70,000-square foot clubhouse. The Cubs currently have a Minor League facility at Fitch Park; HoHoKam Stadium is just north on Center Street where Spring Training games are played.
The new site will combine the Major and Minor League operations, although they will have separate clubhouses. All players will share the 9,000-square foot weight room, which will be the largest of any Major League team in either Arizona or Florida.
On Wednesday, Ricketts, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and other Cubs officials took the media on a tour of the new site. There are actually three separate projects combined: commercial space, the Cubs space and city space. Part of the area will be a park to be used by Mesa residents.
The Cubs’ Mesa facilities, you’ll note, are actually in use year-round, for training activities, minor league activities, rehab activities, and more. Although Spring Training is, and will be, the most visible function, the Cubs’ organization as a whole will be improved by having this kind of place to use. It’s a reminder of the importance of getting the much-needed player facility upgrades at Wrigley Field, too. The media joked that the facilities in Mesa are going to be better than the facilities at the big league level, and they’re right. It’s embarrassing.
But it’s also a credit to the caliber of the facilities being put together in Mesa, so let’s just focus on that positive for now.
The media in attendance got a little video of the progress on the new facility, including this Jesse Rogers Vine:
Here's a look at stadium under constr http://t.co/i5R8NSjBMy
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 14, 2013
The Chicago Tribune also had a slightly longer video, scanning over the construction area (which was previous embedded, but the Tribune can’t stop doing the autoplay thing – so now you’ll have to click the link to see it).