Cubs close to decision on spring training home

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PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — The Chicago Cubs expect to decide within a month whether to keep their spring training home in Arizona or move to Florida.

Cubs president Crane Kenney planned to meet with Mesa officials on Wednesday to discuss options for a new stadium and minor league complex to replace HoHoKam Park. The club also is entertaining an offer in Naples, Fla.

Kenney will present proposals from Arizona and Florida to the Ricketts family, which bought the team last year.

“We’ve been at this now for almost a year with the Mesa folks, and seven or eight months with the folks in Naples,” Kenney said during major league baseball meetings. “So it’s time to kind of put something concrete in front of our board and get their opinion.”

The Cubs first trained in Mesa in 1952 and have been there almost every spring since. As the top draw in the Cactus League, they routinely attract overflow crowds at 12,623-seat HoHoKam Park.

Kenney said the team’s long history in the desert will be a factor in the decision.

“We have 57 years here, I think, interrupted by only one season where we played in California,” he said. “It is very important. In a lot of ways, tradition is what the Cubs organization is about. So it’s a very important factor, and I think that will weigh into the equation as the Ricketts consider everything.”

Kenney said Naples’ location and business climate make it a viable option.

“Naples hasn’t had spring training baseball,” he said. “It’s obviously a very strong — from an economic standpoint — affluent market, an attractive market if you’re talking about business development. Its proximity to the Dominican Republic and Cuba and everything else that’s happening, is also a feature that’s important.”