Mesa mayor expecting ‘noticeable’ effect if spring training delayed for Cubs, Athletics
PHOENIX — Mesa Mayor John Giles wants Major League Baseball and its players to remember that the lockout will affect more than just them if it causes a significant delay or cancellation of spring training.
“There’s a reason that we invest in these stadiums and it’s not just because we’re baseball fans,” Giles told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday. “It’s because this is a major source of tax revenue for our city. And not just tax revenue.”
Giles, whose city is home to the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics for the annual monthlong exhibition season, that the monetary impact “would be noticeable” in the state’s third-largest city.
“Think of all the small businesses, the hotels, the folks who work at restaurants,” Giles said. “You know, the trickle-down effect of this is very significant.”
The Cubs have especially been a boon for the city’s economy.
The iconic Chicago team hosted the five largest crowds in Cactus League history during the 2019 season, the last full one before the COVID pandemic.
The Cactus League had an economic impact of $644 million that year, boosted by popular teams like the Cubs.
MLB and the players met Thursday for negotiations, but it’s hard to imagine Sloan Park, the Cubs’ home, teeming with fans when the season is scheduled to open Feb. 26 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pitchers and catchers were supposed to report to camp earlier this week and Thursday marks the 78th day of the lockout.
“What I would urge [MLB] to do is just to remember that this is about more than just the owners and the players,” Giles said. “There’s people that park cars, sell hot dogs, pump gas and clean hotel rooms.
“I hope that they’re mindful of how impacted a lot of other people are by the decisions they’re making today.”