Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

baseball

Spring training attendance grows

Major League Baseball says spring training games drew a record average of 8,078 fans, up 7.3 percent from last year’s 7,527.

The previous mark of 7,793 had been set in 2008.

Overall attendance for 447 dates was 3,610,738, baseball’s fifth-highest total, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The Chicago Cubs drew 213,815 fans and an average of 14,254 for the first season of Cubs Park in Mesa.

poker

W hosts annual Spring Training Charity Poker Classic

The fourth annual Spring Training Poker Classic benefiting the Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund returns to W Scottsdale on Saturday, March 1. The grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 seat to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Registration is at 6:30 p.m. with tournament starting at 8 p.m. Guests must be 21 years or older to attend.

Celebrity athletes and guests join in a friendly game of poker in support of the Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund. Current and former professional sports athletes from the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers and more will be attending the event. *Subject to change

The Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund was formed in memory of Mike Coolbaugh who passed away in July 2007 after being struck in the head by a line drive while coaching his team, the Tulsa Drillers. Friends and family of Mike will honor his passion for life and commitment to living each day for others and living life to the fullest.

Guests that would like to participate in the poker tournament can register for a pre-event buy-in starting at $200. Walk-up buy-ins will be available for purchase the day of the event starting at $250.

To purchase your ticket to the fourth annual Spring Training Charity Poker Classic, please visit www.wscottsdaletickets.com.

For VIP table reservations, call 602.405.0099 or contact vip@triyar.com.

rsz_tempe-marketplace-01

Famous Chicago Restaurant to Open at Tempe Marketplace

 

With the Chicago Cubs set to open a new Arizona spring training facility just a mile to the east, one of the Windy City’s most famous restaurants has just closed on property at Tempe Marketplace, Arizona’s largest open-air retail center.

Vestar, owner of the 1.3 MSF retail center, announced it sold a 2.38-acre parcel on its SWC to Portillo’s. The Midwest institution plans to open a 7,000 SF eatery this summer.

“We have few restaurant sites at the bustling Tempe Marketplace left and it’s hard to imagine a better fit for one of those spots than Portillo’s,” said David Malin, Vestar’s Director of Acquisitions and Development. “Whether you’re a Chicago native living in the Phoenix metropolitan area, a visitor from the Midwest or just someone who loves great food done right, you’ll feel right at home at Portillo’s.”

Portillo’s expanded outside the Midwest when it opened its first California location in 2005. Tempe Marketplace is the most notable of Arizona sites yet announced.

 

Chicago Cubs - Riverview Park - City of Mesa

Chicago Cubs, City Of Mesa Break Ground On Team's $99M Baseball Facility

The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played Tuesday night in Kansas City, but there were plenty of heavy hitters present Wednesday morning as the Chicago Cubs and the City of Mesa broke ground on a new, $99M year-round facility — Riverview Park.

Chicago Cubs - Ground BreakingThe project, at the SEC of the intersection of the Loop 101 and 202 freeways, was approved by Mesa voters in 2010. The park will feature a 15,000-fan main stadium with a video board, shaded seats and luxury suites as well as improved concessions and restrooms. Construction is scheduled to be completed before the 2014 spring training season.

“A stadium is a stadium; the beauty is the game,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. “This has been a community effort. It’s all about the Cactus League and what it means to the Valley and Arizona.”

Added Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President Mike Lufrano: “This facility will provide the best fan experience in spring training and offer world class training and development facilities for our players year round. We look forward to bringing this new ballpark to Mesa and continuing our commitment to work together on a stadium which will make the community proud.”

Dignitaries who addressed the crowd of about 200 people included Jody Davis, a former Cubs catcher; Tom Ricketts, team chairman; David Bower, principal of architectural firm Populous; Robert G. Hunt, president and CEO of general contractor Hunt Construction; and several Mesa city officials. A tribute was given to Robert Brinton, a longtime advocate of the Cactus League who passed away last October at age 60.

When completed, Riverview Park will feature four MLB fields, which the Chicago Cubs will use during spring training; team training facilities, which will provide the team year-round player development; and the 15,000-seat main stadium.

Other amenities will include multiple entrances to the park, heavily landscaped grounds, a large, open concourse, a seating bowl with 70% of the seats in the shade, and features that will capture the intimacy of Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“Congratulations to Mesa, this will be a knock-dead facility,” said Bower, who added that the Phoenix office of DWL Architects-Planners will also be a part of the design team. “It will be second to none in the Cactus League.”

The Arizona State University baseball team is scheduled to play its games at Riverview Park once it is completed, but negotiations are still on-going.

For more information on Riverview Park, visit the City of Mesa’s website at www.mesaaz.gov.

Cactus League - Spring Training is Back

Cactus League Baseball Is Back In Arizona

February in Arizona means two things – gorgeous weather and spring training baseball.

What initially began as minor league exhibition game in the early 1900’s has evolved into Major League Baseball’s conglomerate of Spring Training stadiums within the Phoenix area.  A long-­standing tradition for the Grand Canyon State, MLB’s Spring Training begins again later this month as the Cactus League kicks off its 65th season in Arizona.

Salt River Fields, Colorado Rockies - Image Provided by Flickr

As spring reveals itself, so do players from a four‐month baseball hiatus. More than 15 teams will compete within the coming months in 10 local fields — drawing over 1.5 million spectators, according to a 2009 study of the games.

2011 has the same expectation of past years and brings out potential  collegiate and minor league players the opportunity to showcase their skills, in hopes of generating talk around Major League management for upward promotion to the “big leagues.”

RBI’s, home runs, batting average, chin music and injury reports reenter the vocabulary of sports talk radio hosts and give vitality back to baseball geeks nation.

With several stadium locations throughout the Phoenix area, it’s easy to catch at least one of these 15 teams at a fraction of regular season ticket prices. With lawn seating available from $5, it’s a perfect excuse to call in sick from work and plan a family picnic in Arizona’s weather.

Diamondback News

Coming off a dismal 65 – 97 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks enter 2011 with hopes to compete with NL West rivals, 2010 World Champions San Francisco Giants.

Recent management addition and legendary Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson has full control of the team this year and brings a sense of urgency to the Diamondbacks office.

Reds Pitcher Aroldis Chapman - Image Provided by Flickr

Flashback to 1988; the Dodgers won their fifth title in the City of Angels and have yet to repeat since as the Dodgers later went on to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in the series. Gibson and the 1988 Dodger team were underdogs to say the least, disproving the expectation of failure.

Professional sports, now more than ever, demands pure physicality in a 162 game season.

Since the D-Backs World Series run in 2001, D-Back fans have been subjected to playing and management decisions far below par. It takes as much a mental toll as a physical one — and Gibson encapsulates experience in both. Gibson’s presence in Diamondback management will hopefully spark the same inspiration as it did in 1988.

Everyone begins the season undefeated and has the ability to prove sports analysts and naysayers wrong. Near rock bottom at all-statistical production, the D‐Backs need inspiration and who better to give it to them than manager Kirk  “Gibby” Gibson. Let’s hope Gibson can effectively command his troops  — or at least clean off the shame of 2010.

For more tickets and schedule information on Spring Training in the Valley, visit cactusleague.com

It appears the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility will remain in Mesa - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

A Threat By The Cubs To Leave Arizona Has Cactus League Sites Scrambling

Update:
It appears the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility will remain in Mesa. Team officials recently notified a group from Naples, Fla., attempting to lure the Cubs to the Grapefruit League that they plan to continue to negotiate exclusively with the city of Mesa. Mesa, meanwhile, reportedly is looking at four sites for the new facility: Recker Road and the Loop 202; the Riverview area; a downtown site; and near the Gaylord resort, planned for the GM Proving Grounds site. According to published reports, the Riverview area appears to be the leading contender for the facility.Spring training baseball in Arizona, a cash cow for Valley communities, is in need of another source of revenue to build new stadiums and refurbish existing facilities. The estimated 1.47 million fans who attended games played by the 15 teams that trained in Arizona this year contributed more than $300 million to the state’s economy, according to Cactus League Association estimates.

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that owners of the Chicago Cubs, the biggest draw in the Cactus League, have threatened to move their spring home from Mesa to Naples, Fla., if they don’t get a new stadium and training facility.

Adding to the financial dilemma is that funding from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which among other things supports spring training baseball, has virtually dried up, due in some measure to the economic downturn. The agency receives most of its money from tourism-related taxes on hotels and car rentals.

A legislative proposal to add a surcharge to all Cactus League tickets to help pay for a new Cubs stadium was as welcome as a blazing fastball from Randy Johnson in his prime. Efforts to push House Bill 2736, sponsored by House Majority Leader John McComish, basically struck out.

“We need to find ways to not only keep the Cubs in Maricopa County, but use those creative funding mechanisms to preserve and expand other spring training facilities in the entire West Valley,” says Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “Keeping the Cubs is important, as well as making sure a funding mechanism for the Cubs can be applied, as necessary, in the West Valley.”

Stepping to the plate, Peoria officials proposed a possible solution — the creation of special bonding districts. John Schell, intergovernmental affairs director for Peoria, explains his city’s interest.

“Without much discussion with the other teams or other affected entities, they (key legislators) added a surcharge to tickets and rental cars,” he says. “The ticket surcharge got us more involved because of the adverse impact it would have to our revenue-sharing agreement with the two teams that train in Peoria, the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres. It was not feasible for us.”

The Peoria agreement, not unlike those of other Valley cities that host spring training teams, including Goodyear and Surprise, provides that if the state or some other entity puts a surcharge on tickets, Peoria would have to make up the difference.

“That would have cost us close to $300,000 a year to build a stadium in Mesa — with no ownership,” Schell says. “Imagine how the taxpayers in Peoria would have felt about that. So we were drawn into the discussion to try to identify some sort of funding solution.”

Schell notes correctly that the Arizona Legislature doesn’t have much of an appetite for new taxation, especially in the current economy. He and Peoria City Attorney Steve Kemp met with other host cities throughout the Valley and representatives of Major League Baseball to discuss options.

“It’s not a complete solution and it doesn’t involve any public funds,” Schell says. “We worked closely with the bond counsel for Major League Baseball and came up with a concept we called the revenue allocation authority.”

It was too late to be introduced at the Legislature this year, but Schell says there likely will be discussions on the topic even before lawmakers reconvene next January. It calls for the establishment of a district to issue bonds to pay for improvements or new construction of spring training facilities. Each district would have to be approved by voters living in the district and would not have taxing authority, Schell says.

“It’s a very strong tool,” Schell says. “It would use increment financing. It would capture the growth in the district. It would not become a general obligation of the city, and it won’t affect property taxes. People won’t feel the impact. It’s a unique way of financing.”

Schell says Major League Baseball, which helped prepare the proposal, is supportive.

Baseball insiders say they don’t think the Cubs will follow through with their threat and move to Florida. Although relocating to an Indian reservation, which is what the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies will do next spring, is an option, the Cubs have not expressed an outward interest in going that route. Others say if a deal with Mesa falls through, other Valley cities will make their pitch for the popular Chicago team.

Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett bluntly says the ticket surcharge proposal was a disaster and that he is adamantly opposed to such a scheme. On the possibility of the Cubs leaving Arizona, Barrett says he hopes they remain.

“They ought to talk to the tribes,” he says. “But, if they do leave, the world will continue to turn and the Cactus League will not disappear. The 14 other teams will survive.”

www.cactusleague.com | www.peoriaaz.com

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010