Chicago Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training today (many Cubs players are already in Arizona), so yesterday was a good day to cut the ribbon on the team’s new ballpark and facilities in Mesa. In attendance, per those who made it out: Tom and Laura Ricketts, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Rick Renteria, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (who is running for governor).

Folks gave speeches, nice things were said, and, by all accounts, the place looked fantastic. I can’t wait to get out there, myself, in the first week of March. HoHoKam was a fine park, but I have a feeling that the new park is going to immediately strike you as state-of-the-art.

“This new ballpark and player development facility will allow our players to better train and compete,” said Tom Ricketts, per a Cubs release. “To achieve our goal of winning a World Championship, we must be able to provide our players with the world-class facilities they deserve.”

The undercurrent of struggle in getting the same thing done in Chicago is fair to read into Ricketts’ comments, even if he didn’t make it explicit. At least the spring facilities are done, and will be available to help Cubs players and prospects all year long.

Carrie Muskat has a more robust write-up on the event and the park, as does Mark Gonzales, which are worth a read as Spring Training gets underway. Some picture tweets from those in attendance:

  • Cizzle

    Looks great. Can’t wait to see it in a few weeks.

  • Jon

    “We have something special…No more excuses. If we can’t get better here we can’t get better anywhere”

    Except maybe:

    The New CBA
    Payroll Restrictions
    The Yankees
    The Rooftops
    The amusement tax
    Jim Hendry
    The competitive balance draft picks
    The Dodgers
    Soriano’s albatross contract
    The new posting system
    The TV deal
    Day Games

    • 1ski

      You forgot the goat!…haha

  • brainiac

    to revisit the Sam draft one last time. a perfect statement from a great newscaster:

    • Jon

      “to revisit the Sam draft one last time”

      Let’s not and say we did :)

      • brainiac

        respectfully disagree

      • DarthHater

        Let’s not and also not say we did.

  • Internet Random

    “We have did what was right for Arizona.”
    —Jan Brewer

    • TWC

      ::insert 15 seconds of fumbling silence here::

  • B_Scwared

    My awesome wife booked a trip to the opening game for my birthday. I’ve always wanted to go to Spring Training but never did. Any recommendations for things to do in the area are appreciated. We are bringing my 2 kids (under 3 years old) so family oriented things are preferred.

  • Cheese Chad

    It seems to go a little unnoticed in the public eye how much the Rickets have done to improve the things that players think are important. They haven’t spent a lot on free agents, but they’ve spent plenty on improving the quality of the facilities (which players REALLY appreciate) and have done as much as possible to improve the ballpark and all it’s surroundings in Chicago which the fans Should appreciate more.