Rockies seek improvements in Tucson
Club, county to meet on Wednesday regarding spring home
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rockies president Keli McGregor will meet with city and Pima County, Ariz., officials on Wednesday as part of ongoing discussions regarding the team's future in Tucson, either at an improved Hi Corbett Field or new complex.
The Rockies have trained at Hi Corbett since 1993 and their lease with the City of Tucson runs through the next three years, but they can leave if there are fewer than three teams training in Tucson. The situation is percolating because of the uncertainty surrounding the White Sox, who share Tucson Electric Park with the D-backs but have a lease at a new complex in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix, starting in 2013.
The Sox TEP lease with the Pima County Board of Supervisors does not allow them to leave before then unless they are replaced with a Major League team. The Sox have proposed alternatives that do not include a Major League team, but the county board has the full power to accept or reject such a plan.
McGregor, however, said that the number of teams in Tucson is not a factor immediately because there is no complex in the Phoenix area that has an opening, and it would take about three years -- a year to complete a contract and two to have the stadium built -- for such a move to become a reality. McGregor said the focus is trying to solidify Spring Training in Tucson "15 years out" before Tucson before looking elsewhere.
McGregor is calling the current meetings and previous meetings this winter with Tucson-area public, private and volunteer groups "critical." Wednesday's meeting is part of an effort over the next week to 10 days to pull various ideas into a concise plan that ownership can study.
"Charlie [Monfort, Rockies CEO] and I have spent as much time on this as we have anything throughout the course of the spring, gotten to know a lot of the stakeholders here," McGregor said. "There's widespread support in place in the private business community. The public sector, whether it be the county or the city, have been very supportive."
McGregor said the Rockies have been approached by private-sector interests about moving to Phoenix-area complexes, although he didn't identify which ones. As it stands, the White Sox and Dodgers will share the Glendale complex. The Indians are heading to a new complex in Goodyear, Ariz., and there is public discussion whether to approve an additional $33 million in funding to attract the Reds.
Wherever they train, the Rockies prefer not to share a complex.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.