Rox fielding proposals for spring home
Lease at Hi Corbett Field runs through 2011, but could end sooner
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Rockies have fielded six different proposals from entities outside Tucson -- mostly in the Phoenix metropolitan area -- to move their Spring Training home, Rockies president Keli McGregor said Monday.
"We've had different levels of discussion -- some very serious -- and we've actually seen designs on several," McGregor said. "We're pretty advanced. But we haven't gotten to the ultimate punch line yet."
The Rockies' lease at Hi Corbett Field with the City of Tucson runs through 2011, but language in the contract allows the team to leave before it expires if there are less than three teams training in Tucson. With the White Sox moving to Glendale, Ariz., this year, only the D-backs and Rockies continue to train in Tucson.
McGregor said various entities will be working over the next three weeks on financing plans and a timetable for having a center ready. Then the Rockies can study the plans, and in about 45 days they can begin talks toward completing an agreement.
McGregor said he has kept the door open for a proposal from the greater Tucson area, but it must overcome local economic conditions and the fact that 12 teams this year and 13 next year will be training in the Phoenix area. The nearest stadium in the Phoenix area is a little more than two hours from Tucson.
"In terms of the priority of this community, it may not make sense," said McGregor.
McGregor added the Rockies' priority has shifted from greater Tucson to the Phoenix area over the past 12 months.
"I know they want us to stay," McGregor said. "We love this community. But we're looking more now toward opportunity of a new facility.
"Most leases are long leases in Spring Training. You're probably talking 15 years. We're looking for a situation that really fits for the next 15 years. With all the new teams moving up into the Phoenix area, it makes it even more difficult."
McGregor would not identify the communities, citing confidentiality agreements the club has signed in all the cases. But Casa Grande, Ariz., roughly at the midpoint between Tucson and Phoenix, and the Gila Indian Community just south of Phoenix near Chandler, Ariz., have been mentioned in reports.
The D-backs, also looking to move their Spring Training operations to the Phoenix area, have said publicly that they're considering new complexes in east or northeast Phoenix, or in the southern part of the metro area near Tempe, Ariz., or Chandler. McGregor acknowledged that sharing a training complex with the D-backs is an idea both teams look upon favorably.
Hi Corbett Field opened in 1947 and has been the Rockies' spring home since their inception in 1993.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.