Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Smith to Valley: Back off on the Cubs

The Republic says that Mayor Smith fired a "warning shot" at any interests in Arizona who would seek to steal the Cubs. We'd say that he "laid the smack down." By basically telling everyone else to back off and challenging the fact that any efforts to move the Cubs elsewhere in the valley would be strengthening their move to Florida, any team looking to pilfer the team should have some second thoughts.

First, it's clear that the Mayor is going to fight very hard for this team. This is, in fact, a big test for the Mayor. He has has a lot of successes, thus far, making a big difference in some major deals that were started before his time. However, this will be done completely under his watch, and how it ends will have implications on his legacy. By standing up and speaking out, the Mayor shows that he understands the gravity of the situation and expresses his desire to lead.

Next, Arizona financial situation plays a big role in this debate as well. Mesa is going to have a challenge finding a revenue source that doesn't include taxes. For the most part, all of the cities are in the same boat, especially since the state budget is far from fixed. However, with the D-Backs deal and other tribal groups looking to bring other team to their communities, there are different revenue sources that can be tapped. However, locating a team on Indian land is frought with its own perils, not to mention the negative reaction to the potential use of stimulus money to fund a stadium.

Finally, the rest of the Valley needs to realize what the Cubs do to the overall Cactus League. The commenters who say that the Cubs should leave because they "stink" have grossly underestimated the dedication of their fans and the drive they have to bring people to the valley. Spring Training works as an event because people make the Valley their spring break destination. For a lot of those people, it is the only time in the year that they will get to see some of these teams. When Cubs fans come to town, they not only see games in Mesa, but they usually travel around the valley and watch the Cubs play other teams as well. Before these other places step up and try to steal the Cubs, they should ask themselves, should we risk all that we have for the chance to get more?

That sounds a lot like gambling, and if the Cubs are really into gambling, you can bet they will locate near one of these giant casinos. We're sure the Cubs faithful who are used to bricks and ivy are going to want to come out to the desert to sit in neon and concrete. Meanwhile, the folks behind the drive in Naples, Fl, are just hoping that someone else in the Valley takes on Mesa for the bid. It's the only way they become a legitimate contender. Otherwise, it is going to be much easier for the Cubs to use Naples as leverage to get more from Mesa.

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