SBD/March 6, 2013/Facilities

A's Ink 20-Year Deal With Mesa; Set To Take Over Cubs' Spring Training Home

Renovations in the $20M range will be appropriated for the A's two facilities
The A's and the city of Mesa, Ariz., have reached a 20-year deal for the team to move its Spring Training home to the city beginning in February '15. The deal includes two five-year options for the A's to further extend the contract to as much as 30 years. The team will conduct workouts at Fitch Park and play preseason games at Hohokam Stadium. The two facilities are slated for a combined $20M in renovations next year after the Cubs vacate the ballpark. The A's previously held Spring Training in Mesa from '69-78 (A's). In S.F., John Shea notes the new deal means the A's will be "ending a 33-year run in Phoenix." Hohokam "is not as centrally located in the Valley of the Sun as Phoenix Municipal Stadium, but it'll be a far better complex, especially after" its renovations. Phoenix Municipal in '15 will be "taken over" by Arizona State Univ.'s baseball program (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/6). In Arizona, Daniel Quigley notes the agreement "requires the city to kick in" the first $15M in improvements to the A’s new home. The A’s and the city of Mesa will "equally split" the next $5M in renovations, "leaving the city responsible" for a limit of $17.5M. Any renovation costs exceeding $20M "would be paid by the A’s" (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 3/6).

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote of A's Owner Lew Wolff and the ongoing attempt to build a new ballpark in San Jose, "To say that Wolff has tried to play nice is being polite." Wolff has been "strung along by Major League Baseball, which formed a committee to study this issue so long ago that you might need carbon dating in examining some of the documents it has generated." But "even if the Athletics got the OK to move today, it would be years before they would play their first game in San Jose." The A's "need a game-changer, to push things along." Wolff "probably needs to stick his elbows out and start pushing" (ESPN.com, 3/5). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote of the A's potential move to San Jose, "If this is ever decided, it will be decided in only one way, the one way the A’s seem so reluctant to try. To work the other 28 owners the way politicians actually do work." Ratto: "In hallways. On the phone. At meetings. By showing them the money they can all collect if the A’s were allowed to move. You know, by actually WORKING THE DAMNED ROOM." But the A's have "hitched their wagon to the laughable strategy" of letting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig do the "heavy lifting, which he doesn’t want to do while he is still in the corner office." The A’s "aren’t showing the urgency to get anything done at all" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 3/4).
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