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Cubs Park in Mesa


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#1 Spriggs

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:27 PM

I see a lot of questions about the new park and notes from people who are going to be visiting and what they can expect, etc...  Though the facility and the fields are awesome, and some things are still being tweaked (I hope), I am very disappointed in the fan experience to date.

 

There are 7 practice fields in the complex, plus the half field.  The 4 practice fields (fields 4 - 7) on the west side of the grounds are accessible to fans when practices are going on.  This is the area that is almost equivalent to the Fitch Park setup.  4 adjacent fields with a large® observation deck in the middle.  As I write this on Monday, 2/17, at 11:15 am, the Cubs have been in those accessible practice fields for a total of 2 hours.  It has pretty much been all locked up outside of those 2 hours.  Of course, I expect this to change as the camp gets full and the position players report. 

 

Besides those 2 hours of drills in the Fitchlike area, the players work out in the non-accessible fields, which are much closer to the non-accessible clubhouse (locker room) & office building in the center of the complex.  The 3 1/2 non-accessible fields are also close to the non-accessible batting cages and non-accessible workout facilities.  This weekend the practices took place in the non-accessible fields where fans can only see one field.  There were no concessions, no water, and no restroom facilities in that small area that fans were reduced to.  A 10 or 12 foot high fence and a tiny bleacher seating area.  Clearly they were just allowing people to hang around and never thought anyone would actually want to watch under those conditions. But these are Cubs fans.  There were a hundred or so fans, most from out of town, many of whom I am sure came thinking things were going to be very different.

 

Over the weekend, I may have seen more security and green jacket employees than Cubs players.  Even in the Fitch-like practice fields on the west end, the players do not have to get within 30 feet of the fans (unless they want to - and they don't).  It is a far less intimate and far less cozy environment.  Autograph hounds are livid, non Cubs fans joke about it, and real Cubs fans are just bummed so far. 

 

More really disappointing news was given to me over the weekend.  If you've been here before for Spring Training, you have probably witnessed the practices in HohoKam after they moved over from Fitch toward the end of February. Those practices are going to take place in the main (non-accessible) practice field, not at the stadium.  So none of that this year.  And people seeking autographs or just a close by view while the players boarded the bus... that will all take place in the Cubs (non-accessible) parking lot by the clubhouse/locker room.

 

Personally, I am appalled with what I have seen and with the way people are being treated so far.   A couple of sad incidents and confrontations have already occurred.  And to think that in addition to all the good things we've heard about the new park, we are getting this, PLUS another 100 loss type season.  Thanks, Cubs!  And to think how excited we all were about this just a couple weeks ago.

 

 



#2 miggy80

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:51 PM

Interested to hear how the rest of spring training goes. It seems like such a nice place I thought about trying to get out there sometime. 


You better Dance, you better live, you better love with a sweet romance. While you still have the chance, I think you better Dance.


#3 FFP

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 05:30 PM

Been missing reading your posts, Spriggs. Your quick, keen recall of names, dates and stats in all things Cubs history and Coach's 104 Reasons book are my main sources for learning over a century of Cubs baseball. I haven't needed too much help with 1918, but the rest of this team's lore only comes to life with real fanatics' pumping blood; even when that blood may be starting to boil.

It is good to hear from you, in all cases.

Here's hoping for a better balance between the fan experience and our team's baseball preparations logistics. In the meantime fans are a little more empowered and informed because of your thoughtfulness. Thank you.

#4 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

Been missing reading your posts, Spriggs. Your quick, keen recall of names, dates and stats in all things Cubs history and Coach's 104 Reasons book are my main sources for learning over a century of Cubs baseball. I haven't needed too much help with 1918, but the rest of this team's lore only comes to life with real fanatics' pumping blood; even when that blood may be starting to boil.

It is good to hear from you, in all cases.

Here's hoping for a better balance between the fan experience and our team's baseball preparations logistics. In the meantime fans are a little more empowered and informed because of your thoughtfulness. Thank you.

 Thanks, man.  Hey, your avatar drives me crazy because I can't tell for sure who it is.  I want to say a young George Scott.  But then maybe Joe Foy... It's Scott, right?  Too bad about him passing a few months ago.



#5 miggy80

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:42 AM

Spriggs, lets say one wants to come see the Cubs in their new Spring training facility. Is there also a ski resort within driving distance? 


You better Dance, you better live, you better love with a sweet romance. While you still have the chance, I think you better Dance.


#6 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:14 PM

Spriggs, lets say one wants to come see the Cubs in their new Spring training facility. Is there also a ski resort within driving distance? 

 Miggy, I don't know of anything other than up in the northern part of the state near Flagstaff.  But I have never cared about that, so I might be wrong. 



#7 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 04:58 PM

All practice today was closed to the fans.



#8 FFP

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 08:47 AM

All practice today was closed to the fans.

Wow. They are really dropping the ball at business ops and at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. I hope they (and who is point man on these kinds of details? CK? I hope not) fix this fast.

Yes, that is George Scott in the day. In my browser I labeled that pic 'Handsome George'--lots of photos I passed up for an avatar look like he is about to break up a secondbaseman, not just a double play. I liked that about him as a kid, but I wanted something less off putting for this site. Sad his passing, but he seemed to have had a full, emotionally rich life. His style certainly gave me a lot of joy and some lessons.

Joe Foy. There is a great guess and a blast from the past. I think his first season was my first season as a fan. I can still hear Ned Martin calling out his name on the radio in my dad's old Rambler. I am sure he called him 'Joey Foy', and I was too young to wonder then about how he quietly slipped off the team (and then somewhat noisily slipped into the history books--It had become a Mets thing --not my team and not my league-- and I was a pure homer.

One of the great things about learning about the Cubs is it doubles my baseball world. It does it so much more effectively than interleague play or all-star games. I have to care about a team , even though that is a bit painful now.

#9 Spriggs

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:04 AM

 

All practice today was closed to the fans.

Wow. They are really dropping the ball at business ops and at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. I hope they (and who is point man on these kinds of details? CK? I hope not) fix this fast.

Yes, that is George Scott in the day. In my browser I labeled that pic 'Handsome George'--lots of photos I passed up for an avatar look like he is about to break up a secondbaseman, not just a double play. I liked that about him as a kid, but I wanted something less off putting for this site. Sad his passing, but he seemed to have had a full, emotionally rich life. His style certainly gave me a lot of joy and some lessons.

Joe Foy. There is a great guess and a blast from the past. I think his first season was my first season as a fan. I can still hear Ned Martin calling out his name on the radio in my dad's old Rambler. I am sure he called him 'Joey Foy', and I was too young to wonder then about how he quietly slipped off the team (and then somewhat noisily slipped into the history books--It had become a Mets thing --not my team and not my league-- and I was a pure homer.

One of the great things about learning about the Cubs is it doubles my baseball world. It does it so much more effectively than interleague play or all-star games. I have to care about a team , even though that is a bit painful now.

 

 Great photo of Scott.  I love it.  I tend to think of him more in his later days.  More filled out and a big pork chop type sideburns or a beard. 



#10 scorecardpaul

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for the info Spriggs,

That is very sad to hear.  Spring training used to be the ultimate place to relax.  I was strongly considering a retirement to the area.  I may now start leaning to Tennessee.    I can only hope that things lighten up as the days go on.  

 

Please keep us informed.



#11 Spriggs

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 03:05 PM

With all the non-pitchers reporting, there is now a lot of activity at the 4 practice fields on the west end (the Fitch Park like area).  And I must say, WOW - Javier Baez is a hitting machine!! Whenever I watch him take BP, it makes me a very happy guy.  There is no other hitter like him. (period)



#12 jh03

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 03:33 PM

With all the non-pitchers reporting, there is now a lot of activity at the 4 practice fields on the west end (the Fitch Park like area).  And I must say, WOW - Javier Baez is a hitting machine!! Whenever I watch him take BP, it makes me a very happy guy.  There is no other hitter like him. (period)

Woah, you just got me all sorts of excited.  



#13 Spriggs

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:15 AM

All weekend and thru yesterday, practices and workouts of nearly all major league players has been closed to the public.  For an hour or so each day, some of the minor leaguers are on one or two of the 4 accessible fields on the west. 

 

Yesterday, most of the major leaguers practiced and took batting practice at the big stadium, which of course was closed to the public.  Some of the practices take place on a field (directly adjacent to - and across the street from the big stadium) where you can see the action from the right field side, but there are no restroom facilities, no drinking fountains, no seating to speak of --  but many security guards.

 

There was apparently a car accident outside the Cubs parking lot exit where autograph seekers have their only chance of actually having a player sign for them or their kids.  So the Cubs gestapo  has put an end to autographs outside the parking lot.

 

I have talked to several out of town visitors, families and older couples, who have traditionally made the trip for the pre-spring training game practices.  They will not be coming back.  There are many disappointed people so far.  They have obviously put a lot of time in designing the complex in such a way that the players could have a lot of privacy.  I guess having people watch them was a big problem all this time.  Who knew?






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