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).

Orioles “have begun fielding calls of interest” on Manny Machado

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”

You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.

Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.

Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.