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Sloan Park Preparing For Cubs Spring Training

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The Cubs are putting the finishing touches on their newly-named spring park, which will host its first 2015 game in 15 days.

On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, I got a tour around a quiet (that is, until they started playing the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" very, very loud to test the sound system) Sloan Park, the spring-training park in Mesa, Arizona previously known as Cubs Park, where the team is putting the finishing touches on some changes for the 2015 season. We are today just 15 days away from the first Sloan Park game of 2015, Thursday, March 5 against the Athletics.

The first thing you'll notice in the photo gallery above is the Sloan Park logo and "Spring Home of the Chicago Cubs" painted on the press box, which was all painted the white color you see above the logo last year. This gives the press box a completed look and also sets off the roof from the seating; last year with the all-white paint job it looked vaguely unfinished.Something I had very much wanted to see was added to the auxiliary scoreboard which is located on the third-base facade -- a ball, strike and out tally system (photo 4). Last year this board didn't have this and since the Sloan Park video board is not visible from the left-field berm (because of the party deck you can see in photo 2), this is something useful for fans in the outfield.

The hitters' background shown in photo 5 is new this year as well. The Cubs had considered simply putting those trees you see behind as the background, but they didn't do well and there was a smaller fence put in front of them a year ago. This larger fence will protect the trees from the wind and also provide a better background for hitters.

Photo 6 shows the new Sheraton Hotel that's just east of the ballpark. It's expected to open either later this month or in early March. Even with the hotel there, though, there are still views of the Superstition Mountains beyond right field (photo 9).

And, even though we're a couple of weeks away from crowds coming to the ballpark in Mesa, the gift shop is open.

You'll be pleased to know that if you are coming to watch the team work out in the two weeks between the player reporting dates and the first game, all the practice fields will be open to the public including the two closest to Sloan Park itself.

The Cubs are holding a rededication ceremony to officially rename the park Sloan Park, next Tuesday, February 24. I expect to be there and will have a report and more photos then.

Finally, the Cubs have started a website specifically dedicated to the park and Cubs spring training at SloanPark.com. They say they'll have updated information there including, potentially, practice schedules once they are determined.