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Diamondbacks don’t rule out moving without public funding for renovations: ‘We may run out of time in Phoenix’

The Diamondbacks owner insisted this wasn’t a threat

            Matt Snyder

By Matt Snyder of cbssports.com

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have been in Chase Field since their inception in 1998 and their current lease extends through 2027. In the meantime, the Diamondbacks would like to make renovations to the stadium that will cost $400-500 million and they’d like to use public financing to fray some of the cost.

D-backs ownership claims to be willing to put up “hundreds of millions” of dollars toward the final cost, but also wants some local help. And while managing partner Ken Kendrick insisted he isn’t trying to issue a threat to move the ballclub out of Arizona, he didn’t rule out the option either.

“There is likely to be, in time, an expansion of our sport to a couple of additional cities. Cities are letting MLB know their interest; their interest in getting a team is specific. They would be happy with a brand new franchise, but they would certainly be very happy, you know, with, frankly, a successful, existing franchise,” Kendrick said Monday.

“It’s not where we are spending time or energy. We may run out of time in Phoenix. We hope that won’t happen. We’re hard at it; we’re continuing to have meetings. We’ve ramped up the dialogue in every way that we know how and we’ll continue to do that.”

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The renovations, Kendrick said, could take up to four years, including seating and family areas, as well as building up the surrounding land. He wants that all for the community, he said.

“I don’t think, in the world that we live in, threats are the right way to do business. We’re community people. I’ve raised my family here; [CEO] Derrick [Hall] has raised his family here. We’re a part of the fabric. Our franchise is part of the fabric of Arizona, and that’s where we want it to be for forever,” Kendrick said.

Then, despite the promise that he didn’t want to level any threats, Kendrick mentioned that when the game expands, maybe some new cities would like an existing team. He also said they might “run out of time in Phoenix.” It’s easy to say threats aren’t right, but then he isn’t really far off from his own ultimatum in the same breath.

Regardless, file this away as something that could become a bigger storyline in the years moving forward. The Diamondbacks ownership group is disappointed with the current situation and wants help paying for ballpark renovations. The path forward has two directions: the local government uses tax money to give the team what it wants or the team starts looking to move. 

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