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Mesa Trying to Keep Cubs from Leaving Arizona
MESA, Ariz. (AP) -- Mayor Scott Smith says the city needs to build a new stadium to keep the Chicago Cubs in Mesa for spring training.

The Cubs informed Mesa last month that they may leave if the city can't improve its spring training facilities and add more seats at Hohokam Park.

The Cubs can leave Mesa in 2012 because of an opt-out provision. That means the Cubs could move to another part of the Phoenix metropolitan area or leave Arizona entirely, possibly relocating to Florida.

Smith was in Illinois for meetings Monday and Tuesday with Cubs officials. He says a new stadium would likely cost up to $80-million based on similar spring training facilities built recently.

A recent study commissioned by Mesa showed of the 14 Cactus League teams, the Cubs are by far the most popular with nearly double the attendance of the average team.

The study also showed the Arizona would lose out on more than $52-million annually if the Cubs were to leave.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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