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Mesa mayor says he backed out of talks between Cubs, ASU

MESA, Ariz. – The deal between Arizona State University and the Chicago Cubs to share a new baseball stadium has collapsed.

Whose decision was it to end negotiations? That depends on who you ask.

ASU issued a statement on Thursday saying that it pulled out of the deal because it was far too costly for the university.

But Mesa Mayor Scott Smith argues the new stadium wouldn’t have cost ASU a thing, and that the new stadium would have been a perfect fit for the Sun Devils.

“It was close to the ASU campus,” Smith said. “We could arrange the practice facilities so there was complete separation between the ASU facilities and the Cubs facilities. They literally would have had to go out of their way to interact with each other. It was a perfect situation.”

Appearing on KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News Weekend” show on Saturday, Smith said moving to the new stadium wouldn’t have cost ASU anything, and, in fact, the university would have received the first one million dollars in revenues from the stadium.

Smith said that ASU had become increasingly difficult to deal with.

“We had sent out a recent draft that the city had prepared and didn’t get a positive response from them,” Smith said.

That’s when the mayor said he took action that led to negotiations being stopped.

“I informed both ASU President Michael Crowe and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts that I wasn’t going to spin my wheels as a mediator, and, therefore, wasn’t going to act in that capacity anymore.”

ASU wants to move its baseball program out of Packard Stadium, and said it is exploring other stadium options.

Smith said there’s little chance of the Sun Devils moving into Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium once the Cubs leave there to head to the new ballpark.

He said Mesa is in negotiations with the Oakland Athletics to move their Cactus League games to Hohokam from Phoenix Municipal Stadium.