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Arizona taxpayers to give the Cubs a new spring training facility

Nov 3, 2010, 11:03 AM EDT

In an election year that allegedly stood for the proposition that government needs to stop its careless, spendthrift ways, the citizens of Mesa, Arizona decided to give the Chicago Cubs a total blank check for the construction of a new spring training facility:

On Tuesday, Mesa voters overwhelmingly approved of the City of Mesa’s $99 million investment in a new spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs. The referendum passed with a “yes” vote of more than 63 percent.

$99 million is just the estimate of what the facility — paid for by the city, not the Cubs — will cost to build. It could be more. Just last February they thought it would be $84 million.  The actual referendum language said the amount would be “more than $1.5 million.” There is no binding limit to the amount taxpayers will have to fund.

The facility will certainly help the Cubs.  Yes, because that’s where their pitchers can do fielding practice and stuff, but also because it will serve as an anchor for a big shopping complex the Cubs’ owners plan to build called Wrigleyville West that would “attempt to recreate the atmosphere surrounding Clark and Addison with shops, bars and restaurants.”  Which sounds absolutely horrifying in its synthetic cynicism.

In other news, Forbes ranks the Cubs as the fifth most valuable franchise in baseball, putting their net worth at nearly three quarters of a billion dollars and estimates their revenue to be in the ballpark of $250 million a year. If there was a non-baseball playing business with that financial profile, and it asked the taxpayers to give them a hundred million dollars to construct an office building, its leaders would likely be checked into an insane asylum.

Ah, the things we do for baseball.

  1. easports82 - Nov 3, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Jan Brewer didn’t sign off on it until every Cubs player showed her their work visas

    • hep3 - Nov 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM

      And I say good for her!

  2. ThatGuy - Nov 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Atleast it was a referendum vote where the Citizens themselves got to decide as opposed to the legislature voting for it. If the Mesa citizens obvioulsy felt they wanted to keep the Cubs there.

    • Mauer's Sideburns - Nov 3, 2010 at 1:25 PM

      Or atleast it wasn’t buried in a “save the cute, furry bunny wabbits” bill. Thay actually got to make a choice, which is what a Representative Republic is all about, right?

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2010 at 2:29 PM

      Well I’m sure they had a choice such as A) New spring training facility for the Cubs or B) new wallpaper and toilet seats at the capitol bldg with a wonderful array of lobster and Filet mignon on golden platters being served at the commencement ceremony for the wallpaper and toilet seats.

      • Mauer's Sideburns - Nov 3, 2010 at 3:15 PM

        Gotta spend that per diem on something. Bet they don’t hit up Wendy’s too often.

  3. Charles Gates - Nov 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Them there are gonna be expensive, temporary government created jobs.

  4. Utley's Hair - Nov 3, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Nothing quite like hypocrisy.

  5. BC - Nov 3, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Does anyone actually GO to Mesa to see spring training games? I mean really, it’s not exactly Clearwater.

    • Bochy's Head/Timmy's Bong - Nov 3, 2010 at 1:59 PM

      Um, yes. Thousands of baseball-loving Southern Californians who can’t wait for Opening Day (and have suffered thru the deluge – you know, 1-2 inches – of rain that March usually brings) head for the Phoenix area where its nice, sunny, and not yet ungodly hot. If not for spring training, I’d never visit my in-laws.

  6. chipmaker023 - Nov 3, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Has any ballpark ever had the always-claimed and promoted “shopping village” actually built? Hicks claimed great plans for the region around The Ballpark — now he’s gone, and there’s nothing developed in the immediate area (I don’t think Cowboys Stadium should count — and my goodness, that thing is HUGE). The Cardinals were going to put something near Busch III — nope. And those would have six months’ worth of fan traffic (seven if they make it to the postseason). A spring training park is used for six weeks; maybe more traffic if a minor league team takes up residence.

    Nope, I no longer buy into this line of PR BS. If the citizens of Mesa voted for it, fine for them, but don’t think you’re EVER going to see a retail zone nearby.

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