Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keep the Cubs in Mesa!

Although President Obama is a White Sox fan, perhaps he could put in a good word with the other Chicago team about staying in Mesa. One of the big question marks that surrounds the change in ownership for the Chicago Cubs is if they will stay in Mesa for spring training. Their current contract allows the Cubs to opt out of their current contract as soon as 2012.

In case you didn't know, the Cubs have consistently been the highest grossing Spring Training team bringing millions into the Mesa Economy despite playing in an aged park that has no other commercial or other attractions near by.

Now, if I were the new owner of the Cubs and I came to town and saw the new digs for other teams that are popping up in Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise and others, I would already be making demands. I have said before that more than one team should be practicing in Mesa, but if nothing else, our number one priority must be keeping the Cubs in Mesa. Not only are they an institution, but they are a cornerstone of our economy.

Part of that solution, however, is likely going to involve a new park. I am still a fan of the new and old Hohokam parks, but they don't hold a candle to some of these new places and in some ways, Mesa is not realizing the potential of spring training because there is no shopping, retail or dining nearby. The only things close by are homes, a cemetary, and neighbors with cars parked in their yards.

As I have said before, if Waveyard falls through, perhaps that would be a good place to go. Maybe try to attract the A's or the D-backs into a facility. Or as some of the commenters have mentioned, why not East Mesa? Imagine a Gaylord hotel full of people flying into Gateway Airport to see their favorite team. I know that the economy is tight, but Mesa should do what it takes to keep these opportunities.

1 comment:

Heath Reed said...

I think you are on to something here. The Cubs organization is a huge part in Mesa history and its economy in spring time. First off, keep the cubs near downtown! It is a great location for the city and to bring people into the area. But I also think if a private investor could somehow bring something spectacular to the gateway area, and mesa could assist by not paying for a new stadiums etc, I think that would be great. Mesa is big enough to anchor at least two teams. I think a baseball stadium or so could fit in with the urban fabric of the area if done right.

I think the cubs and the city should look at ways to bring the cubs closer to downtown, do a public private partnership to some sort and somehow bring some flare to the area. However, Mesa tax dollars have been invested into hohokam over the years and the city needs to find a way to get the best deal out of it. Its not an attractive location and will not grab top dollar. Why not look at MCC and doing a joint use between the school and the cubs.
I hope they are prepared and looking outside the box of some exciting ideas.