11/30/09 12:53 PM EST
Ricketts to Florida to talk spring sites
Cubs exploring training options in Sunshine State
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Ricketts, whose family took over ownership of the Cubs in late October, and Kenney reviewed several locations in Collier County in September. They narrowed the list to three possible sites for the team, which has called Arizona its Spring Training home since the 1950s.
The Cubs can leave Mesa, Ariz., after the 2011 Cactus League season through an escape clause in their contract that would require a $4.2 million buyout.
Ricketts and Kenney met with Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and other Arizona officials in early November to discuss other sites in east Mesa along the Loop 202 freeway to relocate the Cubs.
The team currently plays in Mesa at HoHoKam Park, which seats 13,100. The Cubs have played in that city since 1979. The Collier County proposal includes a 15,000-seat stadium with six practice fields on 120 contiguous acres.
Smith is hoping the Cubs' longevity in Arizona is considered during the decision process.
"Over 60 years it has become a tradition for fans to come down here," Smith told The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.