Mesa Mayor John Giles sees sunny days ahead with spring training around corner
PHOENIX – The return of a full schedule of spring training has Mesa Mayor John Giles as giddy as a kid waiting for Santa Claus.
“We call it Christmas in March,” Giles said Wednesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
“Our sales tax, it literally spikes to Christmastime levels [during spring training],” he said.
After several years of spring slates disrupted by the COVID pandemic or labor issues, Cactus League games are set to run Feb. 24-March 28.
“We’re so excited. It’s been since 2019 that we’ve had a normal spring training,” Giles said.
“We are very well prepared. All, the restaurants, all the hotels have been looking forward to this for years.”
Giles’ city is home to two teams – the Chicago Cubs, who play at Sloan Park, and the Oakland Athletics, who play at HoHoKam Stadium.
Baseball is a big part of the history of the city, Giles said – the Cubs have trained there since 1952 – and besides the economic impact, there’s the simple fun of going to a game.
“I grew up in Mesa, I have amazing memories of sitting with my dad at spring training games as a young man,” he said.
“If you live in Arizona, if you live in Mesa, if you live in Phoenix, for heaven’s sakes, take your kids to a spring training game. They’ll remember that for the rest of their lives.”
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