December 17, 2009, 6:51 PM
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and the team’s front office executives met with corporate sponsors and skybox lessees on Thursday at Wrigley Field for an informal luncheon at the Stadium Club.
This was Mr. Ricketts first meeting with corporate sponsors in a group setting. Ricketts and general manager Jim Hendry had some give-and-take with the crowd and according to one source who was there, at one point Hendry was asked whether Milton Bradley would be with the team next season. Hendry was said to have told the audience that he plans on having Kosuke Fukodome in right field and a new center fielder, therefore answering the question without directly mentioning Bradley.
The team has yet to announce what corporate advertiser will sponsor the new 60-foot-high billboard that will go out on the back of the left center field bleachers this season. Once source said Bud Light was a leading candidate to take over the advertising.
Meanwhile, conversations continue with the team and representatives for Mesa, Arizona and Naples Florida, who want the Cubs to base their spring training operations in their respective cities after the present contract runs out. The team has said that the announcement will come sometime in January. The group from Naples Florida is said to be throwing $80 million toward a state-of-the-art complex and entertainment area that would house the Cubs and their fans in the future. The team hopes to be in their new spring training home by 2012 or 2013 at the latest. The Cubs are considering two sites in the Phoenix/Mesa area and one in Naples for their new spring training home.
By: Bruce Levine