The A's might have serious troubles relocating to San Jose, but moving to Mesa, Ariz., is no problem.
In 2015, the A's will begin training in Mesa, ending a 33-year run in Phoenix, after a 20-year deal was finalized Monday night that'll house the A's at HoHoKam Park, the longtime home of the Chicago Cubs.
HoHoKam is not as centrally located in the Valley of the Sun as Phoenix Municipal Stadium, but it'll be a far better complex, especially after it receives a $20 million face-lift.
"Some of our facilities are lacking a little bit, so I certainly understand the move," said A's manager Bob Melvin, who called Phoenix Muni, which still has light standards from the Polo Grounds, "dated."
The Phoenix ballpark, which will be taken over by Arizona State's baseball program in 2015, has a ton of history going back to 1964, when Willie Mays' Giants began training there. The A's moved to Phoenix in 1982, swapping homes with the Giants, who took over the A's facility in Scottsdale.
Legend has it that then-Giants general manager Spec Richardson helped orchestrate the deal so he could be closer to the Pink Pony, the dingy nightclub in downtown Scottsdale.
This won't be the first time the A's train in Mesa. They camped there from 1969 to 1978 before moving to Scottsdale. In two years, they'll return to Mesa and leave behind a facility that reminds them in too many ways of the Oakland Coliseum, long past its prime and not considered functional like other modern complexes.
"We can move (to Mesa) tomorrow and have more amenities than we have today, without any improvements," said A's clubhouse manager Steve Vucinich, whose first year with the A's in Mesa was 1971. "We had a great relationship with the city in the past, and I expect it to be the same."
A's new spring home to be Mesa, Ariz.
San Francisco Chronicle | Mar 6