Could Arizona's Issues Force Chicago Cubs' Spring Training to Florida?
When the Ricketts family started the process of deciding between sites in Naples, FL and Mesa, AZ for the Cubs' new spring training site, it really didn't matter to me which one they chose.
I've spent most of my life living in the Tampa Bay area (about 150 miles north of Naples), but I was born in Mesa and return there every year to watch the Cubs in spring training.
To me, it was a win-win scenario.
Either the Cubs stay in my native land or I swap out airfare for gas money.
Then the process began to unfold:
There was unnecessary tension from Mesa after the Gila River Indian community visited with Cubs officials in hopes of submitting their own bid.
There was the refusal to build covered batting cages (that had already been agreed upon and unanimously approved) unless the Cubs announced they were staying.
There was their inability to submit a complete proposal by the deadline that the Cubs set.
If nothing is passed by the July 12 deadline, set in their agreement with the Cubs, which would require a special session that is considered unlikely, the Cubs could re-open talks with Naples.
And now there's the human rights arguments over Senate Bill 1070 that is causing backlash towards the state and anything associated with it.
The MLB Players Association and the Arizona Diamondbacks are two notable organizations that have already spoken out against the bill.
Now, calls are being made by protesters and politicians, to deny Arizona major sporting events (i.e. the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, next year's BCS National Championship, their bid for the 2015 Super Bowl, etc.) until the law is rescinded.
It doesn't directly affect the Cubs and their decision to stay in Arizona right now, but it is causing some additional headaches, such as the protests that occurred outside Wrigley Field before each game against the Diamondbacks this past week.
Since the Naples proposal is still on the table and is a very strong deal in its own right, Arizona might be digging their own grave.
If they want to keep the Cubs in Arizona, the whole state will need to get their act together.
Otherwise, Go Cubs Go will be the theme song for more than just Cubs wins.
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