Monday, August 28, 2017

Brewers Exploring New Spring Training Facility

(above: photo from my visit to Maryvale in 2011)

It was reported a few weeks ago that the Milwaukee Brewers are considering another alternative for their spring facility in the suburb of Gilbert, which is southeast of downtown Phoenix.  Initial reports were that Gilbert was going hard after the Brewers, throwing them over $90 million for a promise for a new state-of-the-art complex including a brand new 7,500-seat ballpark.  The Brewers would supposedly contribute $20 million under this proposal and more than likely make a long-term lease commitment to the area.

This isn't the first news of the Brewers exploring a new spring alternative and it won't be the last.  With only incremental improvements being made at Maryvale Baseball Park over the years (most recently in 2014), it is clear the team is not happy with its current situation.  It was floated around the time of their last renovation that Mark Attanasio was considering a move to the Grapefruit League and the Brewers decided at that time to settle for $1.6 million in upgrades and another short-term lease, so this may very well be a negotiating ploy.  It's just another example in a long line of teams holding communities at ransom for the promise of a new facility at the threat of packing up and leaving, and unfortunately it almost always works based on speculative and over-exaggerated promises of economic development.  Milwaukee has already seen this twice in its own city in the last 2 decades with Miller Park and the upcoming new Bucks arena, so our fans should be all too familiar with how this game works.

With Maricopa County tied up in a legal dispute with the Diamondbacks over Chase Field repairs at the moment, it could be interesting to see how the Brewers situation plays out.  Gilbert has since cooled in its efforts and I doubt Phoenix has any interest in upgrading a facility in such a "rough" part of town.  One thing is for certain, whatever your thoughts are on the politics of sports facilities - Maryvale is nowhere near the standards of other facilities in the Cactus League, particularly the lack of amenities in the surrounding area.  The Brewers ownership may have other more pressing issues at the moment considering the constant minor league shuffling and the large renovation just completed at Miller Park this past year, but this will become a front burner issue sooner rather than later.

Brewers 68-63, -2.0, -3.5 WC (2 v. Cardinals, 4 v. Nationals, 3 @ Reds)
Reds 55-76, -15.0, -16.5 WC (3 v. Mets, 3 @ Pirates, 3 v. Brewers)
Twins 67-63, -6.5, +1.5 WC (3 v. White Sox, 3 v. Royals, 3 @ Rays)

Erik - 12 (+29 worked)
Peter - 32

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