Programming note: Get your fill of spring training coverage tonight at 6:30 p.m. when Raising Arizona airs on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Complete with a full report from the A's camp, Raising Arizona re-airs at 10 p.m.
The Oakland Athletics have secured their new spring training home. Starting in 2015 the A's will begin a 20-year agreement to play baseball at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona and practice at nearby Fitch Park.
The team and the city of Mesa, Az. also have two five-year options that could extend the deal until 2045. The Chicago Cubs currently call the Mesa facilities their home, but will be moving to a new complex after 2013. After the Cubs leave, Hohokam Stadium and Fitch Park will undergo $20 million in renovations in anticipation of the A's arrival. The city has agreed to pay $17.5 million toward the renovations, and the A’s will contribute $2.5 million.
“We are extremely excited about our future spring home and want to thank the City of Mesa for all their hard work and cooperation in making this agreement possible,” said A’s Owner and Managing Partner Lew Wolff in a statement released on Tuesday. “With the improvements planned over the next two years, we believe Hohokam Stadium and surrounding facilities will rival any in Major League Baseball. Our players and coaches, as well as our great fans, will be the beneficiaries. Today we begin a new chapter of our spring training history in Arizona."
According to a team release, the renovations at Hohokam Stadium will include complete re-seating of the venue, a remodeled home clubhouse, remodeled and expanded weight rooms, two new rehabilitation pools, field replacement, an expanded team store and a new scoreboard. Fitch Park will get an expanded, remodeled training building and clubhouse, as well as upgraded playing fields.
The negotiations between the A's and Mesa were first announced in a team release on November 28, 2011. Oakland's baseball franchise previously called Mesa their spring home from 1969-1978. They have played baseball in Phoenix for the past 31 seasons, and 2014 will be their final year at Phoenix Municipal Stadium and Papago Park. Arizona State University Baseball will take over Phoenix Muni after the A's leave.
The histories of the A's and ASU remain intertwined. When the A's last called Mesa their home they won three-straight World Championships (1972-1974). Two of the key players on those A's teams, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando attended ASU.