Mesa, AZ, USA; A general view of the stadium grounds during the game between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics during a spring training game at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-US PRESSWIRE
The A's have been battling for years to move to San Jose. Soon, though, they'll be making a different kind of move.
While the Oakland Athletics continue to wrangle with Major League Baseball and the San Francisco Giants over Oakland's desire to relocate their regular season games to San Jose -- hey, it's been only three years since this all started, so what's the rush? -- the A's are on the cusp of announcing another move.
Baseball Nation has learned that the A's will soon announce that they will move their spring-training headquarters from Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where they have trained since 1984, to HoHoKam Park in Mesa, beginning in 2015.
HoHoKam Park has been the spring-training home of the Chicago Cubs since 1979 -- the original HoHoKam was torn down and replaced in 1997 -- and the Cubs will move to a new complex, now under construction in Mesa, for the 2014 season.
A's officials spent time during spring training this past March at HoHoKam, examining the facilities and how the operation worked, and now are close to signing a deal. The stadium would possibly be closed in 2014, as construction work would be done to reduce capacity. HoHoKam Park currently seats about 13,000 -- more seats than the A's want or need (their current spring home seats fewer than 10,000 and rarely sells out). Bleacher sections on the left- and right-field sides would be demolished and one of them could be replaced with a party deck.
The state of Arizona has a fund that helps teams renovate existing spring-training facilities. The city of Mesa is working on finalizing the state funding already allocated for HoHoKam improvements, and also to fix up Fitch Park, about a mile south of the stadium, which currently serves as the Cubs' minor-league facility and extended-spring-training home.
Moving to Mesa would be a distinct improvement for the A's; Phoenix Muni, though renovated in 2006, is still the smallest and least-liked stadium for spring attendance, and Fitch Park would be a huge upgrade for the A's minor leaguers. They currently train at Papago Park in Phoenix, which hasn't been updated in many years.
While this isn't official yet, it's close and could be officially announced soon. If only getting the A's to San Jose were as easy.