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"That's rough, right? Because you do sometimes let your fan hat take over," he said. "The fact is, it's a pretty comfortable balance for us. You let the guys like (general manger) Jim (Hendry) and Lou do their jobs and everything will take care of itself after that."
First baseman Derrek Lee said it's nice to have a face with ownership instead of a corporation.
"I think it will help, someone you can identify with and speak to," Lee said. "I already got a chance to speak with him at the convention and he was asking different questions and it was nice. We never really had that."
The Cubs had considered moving their spring training operation to Florida before deciding to remain in Mesa with the promise of a new stadium.
An Arizona legislative committee has approved a $1 surcharge on each auto rental in the Phoenix area and an 8 percent surcharge on tickets to all spring training games played in Maricopa County to help pay for an $84 million complex. The so-called Cubs tax is opposed by some owners of other teams in the Cactus League, including the White Sox's Jerry Reinsdorf.
"I'm not going to talk about any of that," Ricketts said. "I think we are very confident we'll get a solution that works for everybody down here."
One of the biggest buzzes of the first day of camp surrounded 19-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro. Piniella said Castro reminded him of a young Edgar Renteria.
Castro batted .299 combined last year at Class A and Double A and then hit .376 in the Arizona Fall League.
Could he make the big league team at such a young age as a non-roster invitee? Stay tuned.
"I want to do what I have been doing, play the game, enjoy the game, practice hard," Castro said through a translator.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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