Dodgers, Glendale await key meeting

In what seems to the casual observer to be a never-ending process, the Dodgers, White Sox and city of Glendale, Arizona, could have their deal for a two-team spring training facility locked up in the next few weeks and construction can begin on the new complex.

?   Laurel Scheffel of the Arizona Republic, reports that plans are being finalized and agreements negotiated since entering the understanding in November. However, they still need final approval from the Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority, which will be paying for about two-thirds of the $80.7 million project.

The proposal could go before the AZTSA board of directors the soon.

If the board of directors signs the deal, Glendale city officials and the two teams can move forward with plans for breaking ground on the facility, which could be set for the beginning of October. The facility is expected to open in January or February of 2009, making the 2008 spring training season the last in Vero Beach for the Dodgers.

The AZTSA Cactus League subcommittee unanimously approved the proposal, despite one committee member requesting a clarification in the documents regarding outside use of the facility. The committee asked the teams, which will be responsible for operating the facility, to offer guarantees that community groups, such as youth teams and non-profit organizations, would be able to use the facility at discounted rates.

However, Dodgers vice president of communications Camille Johnston said the clarification is not an issue and did not create anymore hurdles. "We have always been a big part of the communities we have been a part of, and we have absolutely made that priority clear with our plans in Glendale," Johnston said.

White Sox Plans
The Chicago White Sox have a lease with Pima County (Tucson) to continue training there through 2012; however, they still are hopeful to join the Dodgers in Glendale for the first season the new facility is open.

The White Sox do not have any buyout options to get out of their lease, so the only way to exit early is to find a replacement the county finds suitable. The hunt for a replacement has been ongoing, and the White Sox have had conversations with other teams.

The Dodgers and White Sox must combine to play 20 home games in the first season, assuming the facility is ready for the start of spring training. If the teams do not reach that total, the White Sox owe Glendale $250,000 for each game that falls below the target.

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