Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
There's going to be some shifting around in Arizona spring baseball. And the Cubs appear to be the losers.
That's an all-encompassing headline for an update on the spring-training situation that could have had the Cubs and Arizona State University sharing a spring-training complex. Instead, ASU is initiating talks with the city of Phoenix for use of Phoenix Municipal Stadium:
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said ASU President Michael Crow called him shortly after talks with the Cubs came to a halt last week, asking if Phoenix would be interested in housing the team. Negotiations between ASU officials and city management soon started. "Phoenix has a long-standing partnership and relationship with Arizona State University," Stanton said on Friday. "If Phoenix Municipal is the right location ... we’re happy to partner with them."
Phoenix Municipal Stadium was built in 1964 and extensively renovated in 2004, and:
It is currently the spring-training home of the Oakland Athletics, but Mesa and the A’s expect to wrap up a deal soon that would move the team to Hohokam Stadium beginning with the 2015 season.
This is all happening because a deal between the Cubs and ASU fell through; according to the Arizona Republic, it was because the Cubs changed terms that ASU thought had been agreed to:
And in the end the Sun Devils abandoned an excruciatingly detailed "facilities use agreement" that Mesa crafted for ASU and the Cubs after the city — which at first wasn’t even invited to the table — stepped in to mediate what had become acrimonious negotiations. The acrimony continued after Mayor Scott Smith told both ASU President Michael Crow and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts last week that the city was suspending its mediation efforts because a final agreement seemed impossible.
It's really too bad that this deal couldn't get done; it would have put money in the Cubs' pocket -- money that presumably eventually could be used on baseball budgets -- yet it appears, based on that link, that the talks broke down over things that could have and should have been easily negotiable, such as:
Each document specifies a 30-year lease. The original memo allowed ASU to cancel after 10 years, paying the Cubs a penalty of no less than $500,000. The proposed final agreement added a provision that allowed the Cubs to notify ASU, 15 years into the deal, that they needed to leave with five years’ notice. If for some reason the Cubs were no longer using the stadium, some scenarios would have resulted in ASU having to find new facilities within 2½ years.
The original memo gave ASU the right to its own branded retail outlet at the stadium entrance. The proposed final agreement would have put all merchandising under the Cubs’ control. This included food vendors, including those operating portable stands outside the stadium itself.
So -- the A's will have HoHoKam to themselves, likely beginning in 2015; ASU will have Phoenix Muni all to themselves, possibly the same year; and the Cubs will have their brand-spanking-new complex all to themselves beginning in 2014. Too bad the Cubs and ASU couldn't work out this deal.