Pima County Commissioners accepted Chicago’s offer of $5 million to break the team’s spring lease in Tucson, freeing the way for a White Sox move to Glendale next spring.
In the end, county commissioners decided not to keep the White Sox to their Tucson Electric Park lease, which ran through 2012. The White Sox had no legal out to the airtight agreement, so persistence and the prospect of doing the bare minimum to fulfill the lease (like training in Glendale and playing a minimum number of games in Tucson) caused Pima County officials to decide unanimously to let the White Sox go.
The White Sox will now be able to shift spring-training operations to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale for Spring Training 2009, where the team will share a new complex with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Realistically, Pima County officials threw in the towel on spring training as a whole. With the White Sox gone, only Colorado and Arizona are set to train in Tucson in 2009 and beyond. But both teams can walk away from their leases if only two teams are left in Tucson, and we hear it’s only a matter of time before some entity — like an Indian gaming community — announces plans for another spring-training complex designed for two teams. And a river runs through it.