Spring Training Location Update

I promised I would write something on this topic when a substantive event occurred that affects where the White Sox train in the spring.

The Arizona Republic reports that deals have now been struck regarding two facilities in the Valley of the Sun. One is in Glendale, the other in Goodyear. Both are formerly barren cotton-farming communities that have now been absorbed into the metastasizing megaloplolis known as the Phoenix metropolitan area. Some of you may know that Glendale just got through building state-of-the-art facilities for the Arizona <cough> Cardinals and the Phoenix Coyotes.

I live in Tucson, and I'll be blunt: I'm writing this just as much as a Tucsonan as a Sox fan. Phoenix sucks. Tucson and Phoenix have a bitter rivalry. UA vs. ASU. Liberal vs. Conservative. Cool vs. Dorky. Poor vs. Rich. Small vs. Large. Soon-to-be-without-the-Sox vs. Soon-to-be-with-the-Sox.

The Sox had signed a memorandum of understanding with Glendale stating their intention to abandon Tucson pending funding for new facilities in Glendale. The rub was that the Maricopa Sports and Tourism Authority, which allegedly only had funds for one new ST facility, was looking at Goodyear, which had been courting the Indians. Of course, when it came to finding a way to screw Tucson, the MSTA came up with the $$ for both facilities, which are now scheduled to open in 2009.

Glendale plans to host the White Sox and the Dodgers. Goodyear gets the Tribe and whatever other team it can scrounge up. Meanwhile, Tucson loses the Sox, and due to a quirk in its deals with the D-Backs and Rockies, maybe them as well. (The Rockies require that Tucson have at least 2 other teams to stay in their lease at Hi Corbett field; the D-Backs require 1 other team. You can see the potential domino effect.)

Now, the Sox' lease with Tucson runs through 2013, and the city has vowed to fight. It is obvious that the land of urban blight is growing its spring training operations at the direct expense of Tucson. The MSTA is funded by a hotel tax in Maricopa County, to which countless Tucson (Pima County) residents have contributed. Incoming State Senate President Tim Bee (R-Tucson) has vowed to introduce legislation blocking such cannibalism.

Furthermore, the Sox' lease requires them to find a replacement team should they bail on the lease early- or face a large penalty for stadium construction costs. However, I don't think Reinsdorf cares either about finding another team for Tucson or the penalty. He seems intent on moving, as he maintains a residence in the Phoenix area. It is my experience that when teams in this situation want to move, they move, especially when it's "just" for Spring Training.

Personally, I don't really care if the Sox find someone else. I very much enjoy having the Sox here every spring and really really really really don't want to drive to friggin Glendale to see them.

That's just me. For many Sox fans in Chicago, it may seem like a good move, as the Phoenix area has more teams, which allows a fan to see more games in a smaller area, and traveling to Arizona is the same either way. I would caution, however, that the traffic in Phoenix is ghastly, and Phoenix is, as previously stated, pretty damn horrible.

In conclusion, absent something unusual coming out of the state legislature (which is dominated by ultra-conservative a-holes from Maricopa County anyway), you can count on the Sox leaving Tucson for spring training in 2009 in beautiful, cheesy Glendale.


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