Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are the Cubs staying or going?

When it comes to economic development in Mesa, nothing is more important than the boost Mesa gets from the Cubs every spring training. So the question of the moment is: are they staying or going? According to blogger Joanna Allhands, it depends on who you talk to.

Mesa officials say that things are going well, and the Cubs are making reasonable requests. Florida says that the Cubs can't wait to get out of Dodge and they are ripe for the picking, reversing the trend of Florida teams heading west. A reader recently pointed out that there are now 15 teams in Florida and 15 teams in Arizona. This uneven numbers makes a pain for scheduling, leaving someone forced to either have an off day or split their squad. Basically, something has to give.

Obviously, it would be best for us if another team came from Florida to Arizona. It would be great if they came to Mesa, say near the Gaylord Project, but anywhere in the Valley would be better than in Florida. However, the real focus here must be on keeping the Cubs in Mesa.

The council let the D-Backs go, and rightly so, keeping their eyes on the real prize. However, if the Cubs leave, leaving Mesa empty handed, this whole deal becomes a fiasco. The Mayor and Council have been able to wisely navigate the landscape, making bold moves which have benefitted them greatly. As we have said before, perhaps it's time to start thinking about alternatives that may be more attractive than just fixing up the old park and training facility.

1 comment:

Heath Reed said...

You beat your that Florida is coming after the cubs and think they can get them to leave. However, if you see the shift the past decade, the chances are that they stay put in Mesa. They have a huge fan base here in the valley and do not have to worry about the rain or humidity in south Florida. I think the Cubs are ours to lose and the city needs to upgrade the facilities, but come up with more than just upgrades. The cubs stadium is not that bad of a place. That is why the city has to step up IMO and come forward with more!

That is why I have always said the city needs to come forward with a bold plan to the cubs. Something that is ambitious, and has not been done anywhere else. Maybe the stadium should only be a component of a grander picture as a year around destination of multiple events. Problem is with most stadiums, they sit empty most of the year and are used for small events and or draw small crowds to the stadium for minor league ball. It has to do more, especially outside of the stadium.

Like I said, Mesa first needs to do the upgrades, but say, “we have a vision of a new, innovative spring home for the cubs”. However, this vision has to be stated and worked with. But for anything to come forward with the city doing much past the upgrades the current facilities, the city will have to go to a vote, and right now, with the current economic environment and the cities financial situation, timing is everything and right now is not the right time to move forward with it. The city and the cubs can look at doing more of a partnership to create something exciting and great. But the ball has to get moving of more than just upgrades. If Mesa is not proactive and innovative, Mesa could lose the best spring training team and economic boost to the city.