Saving spring training in the Old PuebloPosted: Updated:
From the friendly confines of Hi Corbett field, a group of more than 4,000 fans take in the Rockies and Diamondbacks at the stadium's final spring training game of the season.
"It's nice to come out here and enjoy the weather and see some great plays," said George Kiefer of Tucson.
George Kiefer's been watching great plays at Hi Corbett for 19 years
"I like this much better than TEP [Tucson Electric Park], I'm sorry to say," Kiefer said.
But as much as he likes Hi Corbett, he says it's time for a change.
"I'd certainly support a new stadium," he said. "It's needed."< /p>
But time could be running out on spring training baseball in Tucson unless the legislature and Pima County voters approve new taxes on retail sales, restaurant and bar sales, and car rentals and hotels.
It's all part of a proposal approved Monday by the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority to build a $125 million baseball stadium in Marana.
"It calls for a practice facility in Marana, and for stadiums to be in Marana, at Hi Corbett Field, and at Tucson Electric Park, all hosting spring training games," said Tom Tracy, Chairman of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority.
The proposal would save spring training, yet most of the games would be in Marana.
Marc Blodgett has sold concessions at games all across Tucson, and he says Marana is the wrong place for spring training.
"It's proven that if you build a stadium in a downtown area that it will draw more people," Blodgett said.
In the meantime, baseball fans such as George Kiefer says even with the recession, he'd support the Marana stadium.
"Absolutely," Kiefer said. "Yeah if it's going to keep a couple more teams here and continue with spring training, that's what it's all about."
Officials with the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority say the vote has to happen by the middle of next year, otherwise the Rockies and Diamondbacks will likely move to another city.