From Japan to Tucson?
According to the Tucson Citizen newspaper (story here) there is some movement on a professional Japanese team possibly coming to Tucson to play games against MLB teams during spring training possibly beginning in 2010. This is Tucson’s attempt to keep the Rockies and Diamondbacks from moving closer to the Phoenix area and to keep from losing 30 million plus in revenue for the city. Will it work? Who knows? There is interest from Japan in the proposal, and it seems the Rockies too like the idea. How long will this last and how long the Rockies will remain interested is to be seen. Could Tucson have not tried to draw another MLB team from the Phoenix area or even Florida? The Cincinnati Reds will begin holding spring training in Arizona, moving from Sarasota, Florida in 2010. I’m not suggesting that reacing out to Japan is a bad idea but it certainly can’t be the only one. Why not try to attract 2 teams?
The idea of a Japanese team playing on a Cactus League schedule is intriging to say the least, especially with the increased talent that has come into Major League Baseball over the last few years. Fukudome, Suzuki, Taguchi, Matsui, to name a few. Would I like to see the Rockies move closer to the Phoenix area? Sure, but if Tucson can pull this proposal off then staying in Tucson may not be such a bad thing. And in the current economy, staying put is their best bet and incurring travel expenses to and from Phoenix to play other team, rather than building a new spring training complex or even sharing one with another team.