Cubs to Keep Spring Training in Arizona - NBC Chicago

Cubs to Keep Spring Training in Arizona

Florida Governor Charlie Crist's personal pleas ignored



    Cubs to Keep Spring Training in Arizona
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    The Cubs have played spring training in Arizona for more than 50 years.

    Word is the Chicago Cubs will keep their spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona for the forseeable future.

    The championship-starved North side team is close to signing a deal with the city to keep them there for the next 25 years. They've been training in the desert for more than 50 years.

    But they won't play at HoHoKam Park anymore.

    Part of the bait to keep the team in Arizona -- and away from Florida -- is the pledge to build a new $84 million facility that would include a 15,000-seat ballpark, making it the largest such facilities in the majors. The facility will also include four full-sized practice fields, something the team has lacked.

    The Cubs received the proposal Thursday, and a decision is expected from new owner Tom Ricketts by the end of the month.

    The team said "The Cubs are interested in reading through Mesa's proposal and having our board take it under review."

    Part of the deal includes giving the Cubs control over the design, naming rights and control of signage. There's even an idea to make it look like venerable Wrigley Field, although no designs have been submitted.

    The tentative deal is bad news for Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

    He wanted the Cubbies to agree to a deal with a group in Naples, Fla., that tried to lure the Cubs to the panhandle.

    Crist said Thursday it's a golden opportunity for the state to land a cherished professional sports franchise that would bring jobs and boost the economy while providing entertainment at the same time.

    The governor met with Cubs' officials last fall about the move, but he appears to have failed to sway them.