By Brian Murphy
This could be the final summer that Chicago Cubs house their short-season Class A team in Boise, officials with the Boise Hawks said Wednesday.
The Cubs are unhappy with the poor conditions at Memorial Stadium. The Hawks are pushing for a new multi-use sports facility in Boise.
"I'm going to be real blunt about it. (Chicago Cubs' owner) Tom Ricketts made it pretty obvious that if the City of Boise and the Boise Hawks cannot have a major improved facility or plans to do that in the near future or the end of this summer, they were going to go someplace else," said Boise resident and Hawks' hitting coach Bill Buckner, an employee of the Cubs. "That's not a threat. It's just a fact."
The Cubs' affiliation agreement with the Boise Hawks ends this summer. The Cubs have a Sept. 1 deadline to tell Major League Baseball that they want to change affiliates.
"I'm confident we can get significant movement on this thing, if we're going to get it done at all, by the time the Cubs would have to make a decision," Hawks' general manager Todd Rahr said. "If we don't make significant movement, they're moving anyway."
The Hawks' owners are assured of having a team in the short-season Northwest League, so another team affiliated with a major league club would move to Boise. But other teams are likely to have similar concerns about Memorial Stadium.
"If we don't see significant movement on this on this this summer, we may not be a Cubs' affiliate much longer," Rahr said. "... We need significant movement for a solution. This is about the Hawks, not about the Cubs."
For much more on this story, see Thursday's editions of the Idaho Statesman.