Pima County hoping to bring back baseball spring training

Pima County hoping to bring back baseball spring training

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pima County is reaching out to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball organization, offering it a place to hold its major league spring training games.

The Brewers are looking for a place to play in Arizona following a contract issue with Glendale and a stadium proposal that failed in Gilbert.

Still, the effort to bring major league spring training back to Tucson is a long shot at best.

The Chicago White Sox abandoned Kino Sports Park on Tucson's south side in 2008, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks two years later. The teams were offered stadium deals in the Phoenix area that Tucson could not match.

The teams said they wanted to move closer to other teams in the Phoenix metro area to reduce travel time and costs.

For the past seven years, Pima County has worked to replace the revenue lost when the teams left and to find use for its $38 million stadium.

It has done that by hosting foreign baseball teams, soccer teams, the Tucson Gem Show, and other community events.

The money raised now replaces the money lost with the benefit of a community sports facility. But the lure of professional spring training still looms.

District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias could not hide his hostility when the teams left, but especially because of the White Sox - Glendale deal.

"When a community in our state takes away a major economic driver tool away from you, like Glendale did with the White Sox, it's the ultimate in bad business," he said in 2008.

But a softer Elias would now welcome spring training back to town.

"If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out," he said. "But I think we know baseball is an amenity that our community longs for."

The chances are slim to almost non-existent.

"1 percent," is the chance proffered by Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

Still, you can't win the game if you're not in the game is the attitude of the county.

The county fired off an 18-page fact sheet with pretty pictures to the Brewers front office.

Tucson News Now called to ask if the Brewers would take the offer seriously.

We're both waiting for answers.

MOBILE USERS: Download our app on your Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.