Baseball is apparently dying in Tucson.
Next season, the White Sox are moving operations to Glendale from Tucson Electric Park. That will leave the Rockies and the Diamondbacks as the only two MLB teams who train in Tucson. Tucson is roughly two and a half hours southeast of the greater Phoenix area, which is currently the spring home of nine MLB teams in seven venues. In 2009, the Phoenix area could be host to as many as thirteen teams in nine venues. The Dodgers will join the White Sox in Glendale and the Indians and Reds may share a facility in Goodyear.
The teams in Tucson still play all the other Cactus League teams, despite the long commute. The greater distance means more expenses for the southern teams. The White Sox might not be the only team to heading north in the near future. The Arizona Daily Star has a story about possible renovations to Hi Corbett Field that may take place in order to keep the Rockies in Tucson. The most recent idea calls on the University of Arizona to take charge of the facility and spearhead the $10-20 million renovations. The problem is that UA already has excellent baseball facilities in Kindall/Sancet Stadium. Kindall/Sancet is said to be one of the finer parks in the Pac-10, with recent $2 million renovations of its own.
Tucson benefits from a $30 million economic impact brought on by spring training. However, this figure will plummet if no team replaces the White Sox at TEP or if the Rockies or Diamondbacks find a more viable spring venue. This may be the year to take the trek to Tucson, as the future of spring baseball in the Old Pueblo is uncertain.