Sox should soon know Spring home
Pima County board to vote on latest proposal at Tuesday meeting
CHICAGO -- By the time dinner rolls around Tuesday night in Chicago, the White Sox should know if they are moving from Tucson, their Cactus League home since 1998, to Glendale, Ariz., for Spring Training 2009 and beyond.
Pima County's board of supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday to vote on the latest proposal negotiated by both sides, which includes a $5 million cash payment made by the White Sox. Basically, the board of supervisors has three options when they discuss the White Sox spring venue change.
They could turn down the White Sox proposals all together, which wouldn't necessarily mean the team returns to Tucson for 2009, but would put a further crimp in the franchise's plans. That alternative seems rather unlikely, with the two sides negotiating in good faith to find the best alternative for both sides.
Turning the White Sox portion of the Kino Sports Complex into a state-of-the-art facility to host year-round youth baseball competitions also remains an option. But that choice means extensive changes would have to be done within the Complex and would erase the chance of bringing in another Major League Baseball team to take over for the White Sox.
The third possibility, which seems to be the most attractive proposition, involves the $5 million cash payment. According to an online report Friday from the Tucson Citizen, the White Sox also would attempt to find a replacement to play in Tucson through 2016 or continue to try to bring an MLB Academy into the county's facility while promoting the area for youth tournaments.
A Tuesday vote in support of this proposal would allow the White Sox to join the Dodgers in their new shared facility, breaking their contract with Tucson that was scheduled to run through 2012.
"We have been negotiating with Pima County over the last few weeks and were hopeful our proposal would be on the agenda Tuesday," said White Sox vice president of communications and team spokesman Scott Reifert. "We've absolutely looked for the best resolution for the White Sox and Pima County and worked with the County over the last few weeks to come up with the proposed agreement."
"It's probably the best financial arrangement for the county," County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry told the Tucson Citizen on Friday, referring to the third option involving the $5 million payment to the county.
This White Sox move from Tucson to the Phoenix Valley area should benefit the team in regard to revenue from attendance, taking advantage of all the transplanted Chicagoans or vacationing residents in the area. The commercial partnership with the Dodgers, including the proximity to their fan base in Los Angeles, also can't be overlooked.
"With the supervisors voting on Tuesday, we are excited to know where we will be in 2009," Reifert said.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.