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Cubs vs. White Sox Preview, Thursday 3/7, 2:05 CT

It's the only Mesa visit by our South Side friends this spring. And, given the weather forecast in the Phoenix area, it could be the Cubs' last game for a couple of days. So, enjoy.

Jonathan Daniel

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The news this morning doesn't come from Arizona, but instead from Chicago, where there was an announcement by the Ricketts family regarding a major tenant in the planned hotel across from Wrigley Field:

The Ricketts family announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Chicago Athletic Clubs to open a 4O,OOO-square-foot "state-of-the-art" athletic club in the boutique Sheraton hotel the family hopes to build on the northwest corner of Clark and Addison.

Included in the article were some comments about how much economic impact the hotel and the Cubs' renovation project would have. This was seen by some as "pressure" on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to push the Cubs' project through, by lifting some or all of the restrictions on the Cubs. The article said if that were the case, it "failed".

Seriously, I don't understand why these parties can't sit down and hammer out a deal before Opening Day, which is now just 24 days away. Mentioned also was the issue with the rooftop clubs and their deal with the team, signed while Tribune Co. still owned the Cubs, back in 2002. It seems to me that these clubs and Ald. Tom Tunney need to drop their opposition to the Cubs' plans. They don't seem to have a reason for opposing, other than "we're against this." The Cubs don't have a huge amount of leverage, given their stated preference to renovate Wrigley Field and stay in the city, but the city's opposition is beginning to border on intransigence for intransigence's sake.

It's time for these people -- the Ricketts, Tunney, the clubs, the mayor -- to finalize an agreement that would benefit everyone. Like, yesterday. There's a good summary of the entire situation here.

Also -- and it might even be done by the time you see this post at noon CT -- SB Nation is rolling out a new commenting system today. Details here -- among the details:

The one new thing that this release will bring to the full network is the new touch bar on mobile and tablet devices. This allows for comment navigation on those devices, which is probably in the top 5 of all-time most requested items for SB Nation.

Sounds good to me. Let them know what you think in the comments to the post linked above. Now, on to today's game.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus CF, Barney 2B, Schierholtz RF, Soriano LF, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Nelson 1B, Maysonet SS, Villanueva P

White Sox lineup:

Wise CF, Beckham 2B, Keppinger 3B, Dunn DH, Konerko 1B, Viciedo LF, Ramirez SS, Flowers C, Mitchell RF

Those of you who wanted to see the Cubs sign Jeff Keppinger this past offseason get a chance to see him play today.

This afternoon, the Cubs will send righthander Carlos Villanueva against the White Sox' Jose Quintana. Gameday

Today's game at Mesa is a webcast on (and via the MLB At Bat app) with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The webcast will be online starting approximately 1:50 p.m. CT. The game can also be heard on WSCR radio in Chicago with the White Sox announcers.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today.

For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.