PRESS RELEASE – The Oakland Athletics and the City of Mesa have reached a 20-year agreement for the team to train in the East Valley city, beginning in February 2015. The A’s, who also hold two five-year options that could extend the contract to 30 years, will conduct workouts at Fitch Park and play their Spring Training games at Hohokam Stadium, the current home of the Chicago Cubs. Fitch Park and Hohokam Stadium are scheduled to undergo $20 million in renovations next year.
This marks the second time Oakland has trained at Fitch Park and played its Cactus League games at Hohokam Stadium, as the team previously called Mesa, Ariz. its spring home from 1969-78-a period in which the A’s won three straight World Series championships in 1972-74. The A’s played their spring games at Mesa’s Rendezvous Park from 1969-76 before moving into Hohokam Stadium in 1977. From 1979-81, the Athletics played their Spring Training games at the old Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale before relocating to Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 1982. Next spring will be Oakland’s 32nd consecutive and final year at Phoenix Muni.
“We are extremely excited about our future spring home and want to thank the City of Mesa for all their hard work and cooperation in making this agreement possible,” said A’s Owner and Managing Partner Lew Wolff. “With the improvements planned over the next two years, we believe Hohokam Stadium and surrounding facilities will rival any in Major League Baseball. Our players and coaches, as well as our great fans, will be the beneficiaries. Today we begin a new chapter of our spring training history in Arizona.”
The Cubs will vacate Fitch Park and Hohokam Stadium at the end of 2013, which will allow the City of Mesa to upgrade the facilities in 2014. Mesa City Council last night approved the agreement, which calls for the city to pay $17.5 million and the A’s to pay for $2.5 million of the renovations. Mesa has received approval for funding from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority of $8.2 million to help the city with its share of the costs.
As part of the renovation plans, the training building and team clubhouse at Fitch Park will be expanded and remodeled and all practice fields are upgraded. Improvements at Hohokam Stadium are expected to include a complete re-seating of the venue, the installation of a new scoreboard, remodeled home team clubhouse, remodeled and expanded weight rooms, two new rehabilitation pools in the training room, field replacement and a remodeled and expanded team store.
Hohokam Stadium, which currently features a seating capacity of 13,074, is located at 1235 N. Center St. in Mesa. Fitch Park, a 31-acre practice complex which has four practice fields, one practice infield and a 29,733-square foot clubhouse, is situated at 651 N. Center St.
Below is a brief history of where the A’s have trained in Arizona the past 34 years:
|Years||City||Stadium||Minor League Training Facility|
|1969-76||Mesa, Ariz.||Rendezvous Park||Fitch Park|
|1977-78||Mesa, Ariz.||Hohokam Stadium||Fitch Park|
|1979||Scottsdale, Ariz.||Scottsdale Stadium||Coronado Park|
|1980-81||Scottsdale, Ariz.||Scottsdale Stadium||Indian School Park|
|1982||Phoenix, Ariz.||Phoenix Municipal Stadium||Arizona State University|
|1983||Phoenix, Ariz.||Phoenix Municipal Stadium||Phoenix East High School|
|1984-94||Phoenix, Ariz.||Phoenix Municipal Stadium||Scottsdale Community College|
|1995-present||Phoenix, Ariz.||Phoenix Municipal Stadium||Papago Park|