Cubs aim to have spring complex ready by '14

Cubs aim to have spring complex ready by '14

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs have not yet picked an architect to build their new Spring Training complex, but the club expects to break ground in the fall and hopes to have it completely ready by February 2014.

Todd Ricketts, one of the team's owners who is coordinating the Cubs' Spring Training efforts, stopped by the team's facility on Friday for an update. Last November, Mesa voters overwhelmingly approved plans for an $84 million complex in the Riverview Park area.

The Cubs might be able to use the new complex for the 2013 Arizona Fall League season, but it will not be ready until the following Spring Training.

Ricketts has met with the Cubs' athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and Minor League coordinators to get their wish list for the 50,000-square foot facility. The team is still deciding whether to combine the Minor League and Major League complex, or have them separate.

A 15,000-seat stadium will also be built on the site. The Cubs' current ballpark, HoHoKam Park, seats 12,500.

Ricketts has toured all of the Cactus League facilities and taken notes. This spring, the Rockies and D-backs open their new shared complex.

"There has been a 'Keep up with the Joneses' mentality with all these Spring Training facilities," Ricketts said. "We're less about the glitz and we're more about the business.

"We want a facility that will be able to help us win. That's what we're looking for. I don't know if that means having a state of the art hydrotherapy table or not. We'll have some of those things, but at the end of the day, it's simple -- getting your body in shape and getting the players ready to play. It's a simple thing -- you just need a little space to do it."

The new stadium may have the same dimensions as Wrigley Field. However, 368 feet to the gap in Chicago will play differently in Arizona, where balls tend to carry.

"The thing that is going to be different with our [complex] is we're taking a little different approach in how we integrate that retail component with the stadium and the fan experience," Ricketts said. "There are a lot of things that have been done."