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Mesa: Cubs, ASU need to agree on ballpark lease

Chicago CubsWith Arizona State University threatening to walk away from an agreement to share the new Chicago Cubs spring-training facility, Mesa officials are urging the two sides to set aside their differences and come up with a deal.

ASU is committed to leaving Packard Stadium in the future — the school is already marketing the ballpark site for commercial development that will eventually fund improvements at Sun Devil Stadium — and had a deal to move to the new Mesa spring-training facility for the Chicago Cubs, which opens in 2014. The two sides thought a deal was at hand, but ASU officials walked away, saying the Cubs were dishonest and changing the terms of a deal. With a new home for the program needed, ASU officials are looking at a move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium (assuming the Oakland A’s move to Mesa) or HoHoKam Park (assuming the A’s are not moving to Mesa).

However, Mesa officials would rather not see any move past the Cubs facility, and they are now initiating talks designed to work out differences between the two sides.

There is some precedent for an off-campus move being a success: the University of Arizona moved the baseball program to Hi Corbett Field, where the team drew well and eventually won a national championship.

For spring-training fans, either path for the Sun Devils is a winner. If the Sun Devils move to the Cubs training facility, there will be more chances for fans to see the new ballpark. But if the Sun Devils move to Phoenix Muni, the 50-year-old ballpark will have a new lease on life and avoid the wrecking ball.

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