Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011
Centennial Series: Photos Then And Now — Mesa, Ariz.
The saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” aptly describes the relationship the city of Mesa and the Chicago Cubs share.
Major League Baseball first came to Mesa for spring training in 1952. Back then, the Cubs made Rendezvous Park their home until it was razed in 1976 and replaced with a new stadium at Hohokam Park. In the almost 60 years since the Cubs starting playing in Mesa, the city has evolved dramatically. But one thing hasn’t changed — Downtown Mesa remains a buzz of activity on days when the Cubs play, and the streets around the stadium are lined with carloads of die-hard fans.
Just how popular are the Cubs in Mesa? In 2009, they set an MLB spring training attendance record of 203,105. Average per game attendance was 10,690, leading all of baseball.
Big changes are on the horizon, however. In 2016, the light rail is expected to make its way to Downtown Mesa. And by the end of 2011, Mesa and the Cubs hope to break ground on a new spring training facility and retail area known as Wrigleyville West at Riverview Park at Dobson Road and the Loop 202.
Besides the light rail and the Cubs’ new home, Mesa continues to expand its residential and business base.
Incorporated in 1883, Mesa has a population of almost 470,000, making it the third-largest city in Arizona and the 38th-largest city in the United States.