Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Smith, Adams, and Brady off to Chicago to save the Cubs

They could title this story, "The Three Amigos go to Chi-town" or "The Three Muskateers and the raid of Florida..." The list could go on and on. Mayor Scott Smith, Speaker Kirk Adams, and City Manager Chris Brady are headed to Chicago to talk to the owners of the Cubs and meet with executives with Boeing.

The connections between Chicago and Mesa have been long and noted, from being the spring home of the Cubs to basically every pizza place in town being Chicago themed. With confirmation that two cities in Florida are now actively courting the Cubs, Mesa must do what it can to keep the team and the revenue that they generate in Mesa. As we have been saying for awhile, now is the time to start looking for alternatives.

The timing for a new facility is not ideal, but it is essential. With the new ownership looking to maximize the earning potential of their new acquisition, we could easily lose the team to a higher bidder with a slick proposal. We all know that the Cubs are the jewell of Spring Training, and now it is our job to make sure they know how much we know. Mesa cannot be the first city to lose a team to Florida in 20 years.

Everyone knows that Spring Training in the Valley is better - shorter distances between stadiums, less humidity, less chance of a rain out. But when it comes down to dollars and cents, we know that a baseball owner will leave town if there is more money to be made elsewhere... look what happened to Tucson.

In the end, we wish good luck to Smith, Adams, and Brady in their endeavor. This is one of the most critical issues for this new regime and how they handle it could define them far into the future.

1 comment:

Heath Reed said...

Great blog and a very important topic for Mesa right now. You said “The timing for a new facility is not ideal, but it is essential.” If the cost of upgrading the practice facility at Fitch Park is needed, do it! Its not $100 million like the Dbacks were requesting. This is maintaining the jewel of the cactus league and making sure the new owners are happy and are patient with the city. That is why I have said over and over again that the city needs to get creative in a long term plan proposal to the cubs. This will let them know that they have long term plans to do more besides just the status quo that has got us in this predicament.

The plan
Now – move forward in providing upgrades to practice facility and stadium in the future.

Future – look to create a public/private partnership for a new entertainment and stadium district. Im not saying this is what needs to happen, but look at the example of what is being proposed in downtown Phx around the stadiums.