SBD/February 23, 2011/Facilities

Cubs Plan To Build Spring Training Park Before Working On Commercial District

Todd Ricketts says ballpark will have Wrigley features, but will not be a replica
The Cubs said that they "plan to build their spring training complex in Mesa before they work on a commercial district that's part of the project," according to Garin Groff of the EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. The Wrigleyville West component was "key to what the team and the city pitched to voters who approved the project in November," but Cubs co-Owner Todd Ricketts said that the team "needs to make the stadium its priority." Construction "should begin late this year, with an opening sometime in 2013." Ricketts said that it is "unclear if the stadium will debut in time for spring training that year." He noted that the recently opened Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., that is shared by the D'Backs and Rockies "was built in 15 months, but he said the Cubs don't want to rush the project." Ricketts added that the complex in Mesa "will include a field with the same dimensions of Chicago's famed Wrigley Field." He said that the team "may use some design cues from Wrigley ... but won't build a replica." Groff noted the facility "won't be as lavish as some new Cactus League parks because the Cubs want to focus more on the fundamentals: training the team to win." Mesa City Manager Chris Brady said that the city "will build the project and expects to select a design team in March that will turn a conceptual plan into something specific." Mesa "could break ground by year's end on roughly 100 acres that is now Riverview Park." The city "has $84 million for the complex and $15 million for related infrastructure work." The Cubs are "responsible for any costs beyond that," and the Wrigleyville West component will be financed by the Ricketts family (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 2/22).

TRAINING IN STYLE: ESPN's Karl Ravech said "everything that Yankee Stadium is for a major league team during the regular season," the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex is for the D'Backs and Rockies for Spring Training. It has "every amenity possible." ESPN's John Kruk noted the facility has a 100-seat movie theater and a two-story weight room. Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki: "We're pretty spoiled now, but we had to wear a little bit being in Tucson for all those years. Being here is nice" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 2/21).
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