Cubs owner calls Memorial Stadium 'below standard'

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said the organization needs "a better place to train our young players" than Memorial Stadium, home to the short-season Class A Boise Hawks.

Memorial Stadium, the Hawks' home, was built in 1989. Ricketts, in his first visit to Boise as the Cubs' owner, took a quick tour of the facility Monday. He planned to attend Monday night's game between the Hawks and Tri-City.

"The facility here is below standard. We would like to see it improved and we would like to see our relationship with Boise continue," Ricketts said.

Ricketts said there is a significant gap between Memorial Stadium and the home parks of the Cubs' other minor-league affiliates.

"It's in pretty bad shape," he said.

Boise recently paid for a feasibility study for building a new multi-purpose stadium in the city. The Better Boise Coalition is working to fund another survey to find a location for the park, which would host the Hawks.

"In each of our minor-league partners we need to have a certain level of quality with our facilities. We'd like to see that improved here," Ricketts said. "We're very, very supportive of the efforts here in town. It would be a good thing for the Cubs organization to have a better park here for us."

Todd Rahr, president of the Boise Hawks, made it clear during his remarks that it is up to the club and the community to fund the new park — not the Cubs, who do not own the Hawks.

The Hawks have been affiliated with the Cubs for 11 years and have a contract with the Cubs through the end of the 2012 season.

You can follow Murph's Turf on Twitter.

You can find links to stories, photos and video by being a fan of Brian Murphy on Facebook.

Show us the money then

If you want to play, ya gotta pay. Get the checkbook out Mr. Ricketts.

MLB Clubs DO NOT OWN/FINANCIALLY SUPPORT MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS.....

....I am not aware of one single MLB club that has added finacial support to any of their minors league operations.

If the people of Boise would visit those minor league cities where new stadiums have been built, you would find that yes the club increased ticket sales and in most cases those new stadiums are SOLD OUT for 3-5 years after being built. Oh, did I mention that tickets are taxed? More revenue for the markets they are in come in the form of not only taxes gained but businesses move in and around the new parks adding JOBS, TAXES, etc. Are we hearing today from both political parties that we need JOBS? We need the privite sector (who will build businesses around a new park to CREATE JOBS??

There have been many, many new minor league parks built around the country -- look at the revenues these parks have created, the jobs they've created. It's a proven fact that 'if you build it, they will come.' Concerts? Pro Soccer? Quality venue for High School Sports? This new park would generate far more business, school and community event centers than just a minor league ball park. If you take the time to visit any of these newer parks around the country you'll see that in every case there are thriving busineses and other huge benefits generated by the new park.

Also understand that Ada Country owns Memorial Stadium. Not the Boise Hawks. But the Hawks must pay for all upkeep, etc. How much could the land be sold for to developers??

Now, this proposed stadium is NOT JUST FOR THE HAWKS! Get all the facts before making a decision. There is no doubt in my mind that this new stadium (if built in the downtown area of Boise/Meridian/Nampa or even Eagle) would create a pool of new businesses, jobs, tax revenues.

Who pays for it all? Well, it will have to be a public/private/developer partnership. And that can be as long as the people of the area understand the true feature/benefit and value it could bring to the area.

I don't think the Cubs leaving Boise would bring ANY VALUE to the area.

Why dream small?

Heck if building a minor league stadium is such a panacea, why not build a pro stadium seating 50,000+? Why stop there? Let's build and fund an NFL stadium! Think of the economic rewards!!!

What a joke! The donkeys can't even sell out their stadium, why would a 'A' marginal team sell out?

As a baseball junkie,

As a baseball junkie, Memorial stadium is the worst place ever to watch a ball game. The intercom doesn't work, the place is falling apart. I've been to several other cities with minor league teams, and going to those stadiums is a fun event. A new stadium would definitely be an improvement for Boise and would generate plenty of revenue.

Reno Aces

in 1st place AAA not sold out... now you are aware

I think the Cubs

I think the Cubs are "below standard." Go CARDS!

I think MLB has been below standard for 20 years anyway.

----------

Stop it y'all. That's freaky.

Maintenance is the problem -

not the facility itself. The money spent on the feasibility study should have gone toward keeping the place fixed up. They've let so many things go - painting the outfield walls and other simple things - that it's easy to believe it's been intentionally neglected.

Developers are the push behind this, and they're greasing the skids with city officials at every turn. Let the developers pay for a new field.

Let's Review

The Chicago Cubs don't own the stadium, but neither does Ada County. All Ada County owns is the land which its leasing for $1 a year until 2039 (who made that deal) to Boise Baseball LLC, stadium owners. The report commissioned by the city clearly states "the Hawks are responsible for all operating costs, maintenance and capital repairs, including major capital improvements."

Using the lowest common denominator on estimated attendance and ticket prices, someone (Boise Baseball LLC) is pulling in somewhere between a low of $635,000 - to a high of $1.5 million a year in ticket revenues. Granted that's not all profit, but dontcha think if someone is going to float this boat as a civic investment the public deserves a few more details on who is behind Boise Baseball LLC and what the financials are for operating the stadium?

The Cubs

need to fork over some money then. I love the implied threat that they may not affiliate with the Hawks if there is not improvement. Really? Then put some money in. They can do all the feasibility studies they want, I seriously doubt that the public is going to pay for a new stadium for a short season single A baseball team. Go to a game, you will see very few people in attendance. And all that talk of how good a new stadium will be for everyone? No way. Stadiums do not increase revenue for anyone except the team owners.

Let's get the Hawks a better affililation...

Ricketts said the organization needs "a better place to train our young players" than Memorial Stadium.

But yet Ricketts isn't offering to help upgrade the facility.

Lets look for a real major league team to affiliate with. One that actually wins games. The Hawks need a better team to train their young players for..

.......did the Angels offer $$??

.......I don't recall the Angels stepping up to offer one single dime for the stadium, or the annual costs to maintain it. They didn't offer a thing.

If you'll do the homework to check which MLB clubs are the most desired to have an affiliation with, you'll find the Chicago Cubs at or near the very top of the list. There are Cubs fans EVERYWHERE. The present roster of the Chicago Cubs features MANY former Boise Hawks .... and many former Hawks are on the Major league rosters of other clubs through trades, etc. The Cubs have supplied Boise with outstanding talent.

cub fans watch the cubs

really do you think that cub fans care one bit who is here. Cub fans watch the cubs on tv and do not go to games here and dream about when these players get called up. It is great to see a call when it happens but it does not drive attendance.

The jerks in the stadium seem to have driven the families away. cater to the jerk and over time you get what you get.

What people fail to realize is that it is high school baseball, and no one is related to the players attendence is tough at this level what are the idaho chuckars drawing?

Show us the money, Ricketts

If Mr. Ricketts or the Chicago Cubs want to build a new stadium or upgrade Memorial Stadium; go right ahead and also provide for any upkeep beyond what revenues support. These kinds of venues need to be self supporting..NOT taxpayer supported.

I'm not paying

If this business isn't viable on it's own then taxpayers should not contribute. These rich guys are always asking for public welfare whenever they can yet those who truly are in need get screwed at every turn.

In St. Louis they have a saying:

Completely
Useless
By
September

If the facilities are too bad to produce a winner, how did Tom Kotchman do it so long?

Cubs and Money

The Cubs won't offer up any money because they don't own the Hawks. The Hawks do. The Cubs supply the players and coaches and that is it. What happens if the Cubs pump $1 million into building a new stadium and then the Cardinals or Brewers decide to offer the Hawks more money than the Cubs do for the affiliation? It is $1 million down the drain to help build a facility for an opponent.

As for TaxMan - Kotchman did it in a facility that was brand new. He hasn't been here since 2000.

Have you seen Eugene's field? Makes us look like Sandlot.

This is Sandlot baseball.

This is Sandlot baseball. There is no reason taxpayers need to contribute money to a new stadium. Boise is not a great sports town, only one team is supported. This is a developmental league, nothing more. Either find the money to fix up what you have, or build a new stadium yourselves. The Hawks don't really drive any revenue into the economy locally, not much anyway.

no new taxes

IF a new stadium is needed and the 50 to 100 fans can't pony up the money, then it should not be built. It is odd that major sports that can pay players millions to play ball can't muster up the will or the way to make it happen. This is not a viable taxable event to be pawned off on the 98% of taxpayers that don't care.

true, this is sandlot baseball and the Cubs aren't happy

I think I can sum up the main reason as to why the Hawks don't bring revenue into the local economy with three words - Location, Location, Location.
People don't go to Garden City top partake in the great american pastime, people go to Garden City to partake in meth, tats, and STD's.
The Hawks only need isn't a new facility, the Hawks need a new identity and an new home in downtown Boise. A new stadium that fans from the North End, East Boise, and the Bench, could all access from a bike or a short 15 minute drive. It would also draw the out of town visitors from their downtown hotel rooms. Bringing the Hawks downtown would be a win-win situation for the organization, the city and the people of Boise

T2

you are correct on location but you got the wrong one..... West end, where the families live. Eagle and fairview. Plenty of room and maybe they could build it so it doesnt bake you for a 3 hour game. I brought a turkey with me last year and when the game was over I had turkey jerkey....

If a new stadium was a great deal

JR Simplot would have built one.

If this is such a great business...

then how about it HP or Micron.. use some of the tax breaks Butch gave you to ship jobs out of state and overseas and get into this lucrative business!

You can even stick your name on the stadium. Hell, write it in Chinese so your employees can understand it.

Not one taxpayer penny should go to this private business. If they can't raise their own money, and pay taxes on their property and business, then let somebody else have em..

Seriously though

I've heard complaints about sun on the first base line seats (sat there, baked, know it's true, Kotchman won though) and that seats are breaking and have to be replaced.

What are the specific problems with the stadium that keep the Hawks from winning, or the Cubs find substandard?

It would be ok with me if they

didnt feild a team here. No love lost.

It is a well-known, trusted online store.

We can supply series of Sport Jersey. (http://www.wowougg.com/) The detail is as follow.: Product features: Heavyweight Mesh Body Printed Name Plate Dazzle Side Slits Drop Tail Authentic Embroidered NFL Equipment Logo on Neck Screen Print Numbers on Front

It is a well-known, trusted online store.

We can supply series of Sport Jersey. (http://www.wowougg.com/) The detail is as follow.: Product features: Heavyweight Mesh Body Printed Name Plate Dazzle Side Slits Drop Tail Authentic Embroidered NFL Equipment Logo on Neck Screen Print Numbers on Front

It is a well-known, trusted online store.

We can supply series of Sport Jersey. (http://www.wowougg.com/) The detail is as follow.: Product features: Heavyweight Mesh Body Printed Name Plate Dazzle Side Slits Drop Tail Authentic Embroidered NFL Equipment Logo on Neck Screen Print Numbers on Front

No room to talk

Wow. "Below standard" he says. Has he seen where the Cubs play? I was at Wrigley Field a couple years ago and it ain't much better. It's just a bigger version of rickety old Memorial Stadium, but in a bad neighborhood with dozens of homeless guys begging everybody for change as you walk out after the game. The Hawks stadium is pretty bad, and I'd go to more games if it wasn't such a dump, but Ricketts doesn't have much room to talk here.

For a good pitcher, or a good hitter,

no stadium is too bad. For substandard players, no stadium is good enough.

If RIcketts wants a better stadium, he can certainly afford one.

Keep it off of my dime.

Poor little taxpayers. All

Poor little taxpayers. All upset about something that is good for the city, pleasurable for many, and that can produce revenue for a lot of people in terms of jobs and wide-ranging economic activity when it's done right. Poor little taxpayers, losing $5 a year--five whole dollars--they could spend at Wendy's. Poor things. It must be awful to live under the terrible burden of tyranny and dictatorship we call the United States of America. Love it or leave it you right-wing cry-babies!

Blow chunks. On to other crap.

----------

Stop it y'all. That's freaky.

BC. OTOC.

Agreed!

The city needs baseball stadium more than the hawks do

The Boise DBA and the CCDC need to jump in with both feet and make things happen for a multi-use downtown baseball stadium. The ideal location would be in the downtown corridor between Front and Myrtle and would be one of the first things commuters would see as they drive in from the connector. If BSU were to ever revivie it's baseball program, they could play there as well. In addition, the stadium could also host regional and state baseball championships.
I'm not certain if the corridor between Front and Myrtle is too narrow, bit I do think it would be an ideal location for a new stadium, even if it required some alterations to some of the existing streets

I think in this ecomomy

Building a field of dreams is absurd. Last I checked nobody goes to a hawks game. When BSU is a sellout every game, the stampede sell some seats and people are interested in watching the worst of MLB then MAYBE we can talk.
Football and hockey. That is what this town will pay to see. And I hate hockey......

The Idaho Center vs Quest Arena

Idaho Stallions vs Boise Burn
Boise Spectrum's Thursdays Thunder vs DBA's Alive After Five
Veterans Park vs Ann Morrison Park
Hawks Memorial Stadium vs a new downtown stadium

do you see a pattern?

money losers

Idaho Center loses close to $1,000,000 per year, Quest Arena loses $300,000 per year.

The Idaho Center was always meant to be the SR Stampede's home.

Why don't you stop knawin' on your boot straps and quit making really stupid comparisons?

It's MANAGEMENT.

----------

Stop it y'all. That's freaky.

source?

notwithstanding a source, and despite the losses, those figure could be viewed as an indicator that proximity to downtown boise has a direct relation to revenue, could it not? The tried and true hawks fans will show up no matter what, but I would imagine that new downtown stadium could potentially spawn a new fanbase, attract the casual fan and draw visitors out from their hotel rooms. wisdomman touched upon a very interesting topic that involved a BSU baseball program. Plus,there's been talk of building a new convention center in between front and myrtle and it could be a win win if a downtown stadium were to be adopted into the convention center project. I think theres a lot of pros and cons of building a new stadium. It's an interesting topic nonetheless, is it not?

Same source his buddies have been burping out for years.

Go fight for fish! HOORAH!!

----------

Stop it y'all. That's freaky.

BSU Baseball?

Would/Could a new facility bring NC2A BB to BSU?

Just throwing it out there...

that would be an interesting conversation

I mentioned a possible revival of BSU baseball in an earlier post and think it's a great conversation to touch upon

Weather

Is an issue, open air stadium. I played BB at Nevada Reno. We were in the GYM throwing in January. At that time, no way to hit indoors. It hurt the teams early performances, IMO.

the problem is that

there needs to be more steroids allowed in baseball. Who wants to go to a park to see a 2-1 game where the fastest pitch is 70 and the biggest hit is an rbi single. Yawn. If I wanted to see that Id just watch girls high school softball for free. The problem is that some of the "girls" can grow a beard faster than our hawks can.

Did your lunch lady commit a sexcrime, Tater?

----------

Stop it y'all. That's freaky.

among many things, baseball needs a 25 second pitch clock

Imagine how much a clock would improve baseball - say the pitcher commits a pitch clock violation, with the penalty being that the batter goes to first and base runners advancing to the next base.

In addition, a team would only have 3 time outs, meaning if they exhaust all 3 and want to make a pitching change, they'd only have 25 seconds to get the new pitcher into the game and throw his first pitch. I've never understood why upon taking the mound, a pitcher needs to throw warm up pitches when he's been in the bullpen throwing for 10 minutes

oh yeah....and free beer during rain delays!

For the love of pete, how the sarcasm is failing emission tests!

----------

Stop it y'all. That's freaky.