The State of Arizona wants to impose a "Cubs tax" on all the Cactus League teams

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The deal to keep the Cubs’ spring training home in Mesa, Arizona was contingent on the State of Arizona finding the money to help them build an $84 million new complex.  Their idea: impose a surcharge on spring training tickets to help cover the cost. But not just Cubs spring training tickets: they want to impose a fee on tickets sold by all of the teams that train in the state.  The other teams aren’t fans of this plan:

“All 14 other Cactus League teams oppose House Bill 2736 as introduced.
We are working persistently with legislative leadership in the House to
construct an alternative plan that will work for everyone, including
the Cubs,” said John Kaites, a Phoenix attorney and lobbyist who
represents the Mariners and White Sox. He would not provide details,
however.

I’m against this sort of thing too, but I do find it extremely rich that the owners of baseball teams who have made billions by making other people pay for their stadiums are suddenly aghast that someone would do it to them.

In other Cubs news, whoever is in charge of the cover of the new Cubs’ annual may want to re-think the placement of Derek Lee’s head, because some people — not me, of course — giggle and snork when they see stuff like that.

[giggle]

[snork]

(Thanks to Robert T for the link to the Cubs annual, and sympathy to his wife and children for having to live with a guy with smut on his mind).

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.