County inks D'Backs, White Sox contracts

By Staff and Wire Reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 26, 1996

The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved final contracts last Friday with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, which will officially begin spring training in Tucson in 1998.

The contracts, approved 5-0 at a special meeting, call for the county to build a $25 million stadium complex with full training facilities that the two teams will share over 15 years.

''I think this is a great day for our community,'' Supervisor Ed Moore said.

The county's action clears the way for the city of Tucson to finalize its own agreement with the Colorado Rockies, the only major league team now training in Tucson.

Under that agreement, the Rockies will extend their spring training at Hi Corbett Field for another 15 years, with the city agreeing to pay for renovations to the existing stadium.

The contract with the White Sox and Diamondbacks is for the life of the bond, Supervisor Raul Grijalva said. The 15 years is roughly the amount of time it will take for the two teams to pay off the bond for the stadium.

The agreement with the Rockies had hinged on the new renovations and on having two other major league teams practicing in Tucson.

The White Sox and expansion Diamondbacks had reached tentative agreements with the county in May, but spent the following months negotiating details.

Grijalva said the agreements represent a good opportunity for the entire Tucson area.

Under the agreement, Grijalva said, the White Sox and Diamondbacks will each play one charity game per season and offer mentoring programs for children and youths.

The White Sox will move their spring training camp from Sarasota, Fla., where they have practiced since 1960. The Phoenix-based Diamondbacks begin play in 1998.

Pima County is in the second phase of designing the new stadium with practice fields in the Kino Veterans Memorial Sports Park in Tucson.

Last winter, the city agreed to assume the county's $4.5 million debt for past renovations at Hi Corbett so the county could use its funds for the new stadium. But uncertainty about whether the county would sign two baseball teams stopped the city from starting renovations at Hi Corbett.