A's to return to Mesa in 2015 with 20-year deal

The Mesa City Council has unanimously approved a deal between the city and the Oakland A's that will allow the team to train in Mesa for 20 years, starting in February 2015.

The Athletics also hold two, five-year options that could extend the contract to 30 years.

The A's will practice at Fitch Park and play Spring Training games at Hohokam Park, the ballpark that's being vacated by the Chicago Cubs after the spring of 2013.

"We are excited to renew our relationship with the Oakland A's," Mayor Scott Smith said. "We look forward to them being a part of Mesa's Spring Training family for decades to come."

A week ago, the city of Mesa announced that the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority approved an advance of $8.2 million to the city to defray costs of stadium improvements at Hohokam.

"This agreement is really a win-win situation for both the City of Mesa and for the Oakland A's. We get to bring the A's back to Mesa for Spring Training and keep Hohokam Stadium and Fitch Park at the forefront of Major League Baseball training facilities," District 1 Councilmember Dave Richins said.

The Oakland Athletics trained in Mesa from 1969 to 1978, a period in which the team won three consecutive World Series Titles. (1972, 73, and 74) The A's were actually the first team to use Hohokam Stadium back in 1977 and will now enjoy a newly renovated ballpark when it re-opens in 2015.

"We are extremely excited about our future spring home and want to thank the City of Mesa for all their hard work and cooperation in making this agreement possible," A's Owner and Managing Partner Lew Wolff said.

"With the improvements planned over the next two years, we believe Hohokam Stadium and surrounding facilities will rival any in Major League Baseball. Our players and coaches, as well as our great fans, will be the beneficiaries. Today we begin a new chapter of our Spring Training history in Arizona," said Wolff.

Mesa will now host two Spring Training teams with updated and new stadiums, making it a premiere destination for Cactus League Spring Training baseball.

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