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Major League Baseball

Arizona-Cubs spring deal jeopardized; Naples still interested

TBO.com The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 11:16 PM

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MESA, Ariz. -

Mesa's status as the Chicago Cubs' spring training home is in jeopardy now that the state Legislature has adjourned without passing legislation needed to keep the team in Arizona.

An agreement between the team and Mesa officials allows the Cubs to negotiate with other cities if Arizona lawmakers don't pass legislation by July 12. Lawmakers ended their session Thursday, and a special session is unlikely.

The move could reopen the door for Florida to lure baseball's highest-drawing spring training team.

Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors and Chicago-based Esmark Inc. teamed up last year to try to bring the team to Collier County and have said they are still interested in pursuing the team. The groups were attempting to put together a private-public partnership to build a 15,000-seat stadium. The pursuit had the backing of Gov. Charlie Crist.

Arizona lawmakers considered adding surcharges to car rentals and spring-training baseball tickets. But the plan faltered after Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig came out against it.

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