The Cubs claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Dodgers and outfielder Shane Peterson off waivers from the Athletics Friday afternoon. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Donn Roach and infielder Logan Watkins were designated for assignment.
The 27-year-old Lavarnway spent the previous seven seasons with the Red Sox, including 97 games in the majors between 2011-14. He was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers on Dec. 5 and designated for assignment on Dec. 10.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound, right-handed hitting catcher is a career .201 major league hitter (56-for-279) with five home runs and 34 RBI. He saw his most extensive big league action in 2012 (46 games) and 2013, batting .299 with seven doubles, one home run and 14 RBI in 25 games for the 2013 World Series champs. In 2014, Lavarnway missed more than two months with a left wrist strain and saw action in only nine big league games. He primarily played for Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting .283 with three homers, 20 RBI and a .389 on-base percentage in 62 games.
Lavarnway was originally selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2008 Draft out of Yale University. He was named Boston’s Minor League Offensive Co-Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons in 2010-11 and combined to hit .290 (126-for-435) with 23 doubles, 32 homers, 93 RBI and a .939 OPS in 116 games between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket in 2011 to earn his first promotion to the big leagues.
Peterson, 26, batted .308 (167-for-543) with 40 doubles, 11 homers and 90 RBI with Triple-A Sacramento last season, earning Pacific Coast League midseason and postseason All-Star honors. He posted a .381 on-base percentage and a .460 slugging percentage, good for an .841 OPS. Peterson led the league in hits and doubles and ranked second with 101 runs scored. He played 83 games in center field, 42 games in left field and nine games in right field.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Peterson was originally selected by St. Louis in the second round of the 2008 Draft out of Cal State-Long Beach and was acquired by Oakland as part of the trade that sent Matt Holliday to the Cardinals. He made his major league debut with the Athletics in 2013, going 1-for-7 with an RBI in two games.
Roach, 25, was claimed off waivers from the Padres on Nov. 12. He went 1-0 with a 4.75 ERA in 16 appearances, including one start, in the majors last season, his first year in the big leagues.
Watkins, 25, batted .233 with four doubles, one home run and six RBI covering the last two seasons with the Cubs. He was originally selected in the 21st round of the 2008 Draft.
Right-hander Yoanner Negrin had his finest outing of the winter Thursday, while Christian Villanueva recorded another home run for his squad. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action in the Caribbean:
- RHP Yoanner Negrin had a stellar outing, giving up one run and striking out 11 over 7.2 innings to give the Leones del Caracas a 9-1 win over the Bravos de Margarita. He surrendered just four hits and walked none to pick up his third victory of the winter.
- DH Luis Valbuena went 0-for-2 but drew a walk in the Cardenales de Lara’s 9-1 loss to the Tiburones de La Guaira.
- 3B Christian Villanueva hit his second home run in as many days for the Yaquis de Obregon in their loss to the Caneros de los Mochis. His fifth-inning blast marked his eighth home run of the season.
- RHP Starling Peralta gave up no earned runs in 1.2 innings of relief as the Estrellas de Oriente fell to the Aguilas Cibaenas. He gave up three hits, fanned two and walked none in the effort.
- RHP Frank Batista got the start in the Aguilas Cibaenas win and went three innings. He struck out five and gave up one earned run on three hits and one walk.
- LF Junior Lake was hitless in three at-bats for the Estrellas de Oriente.
- LHP Jeffry Antigua pitched 0.2 innings, giving up no earned runs in the Toros del Este’s loss to the Tigres del Licey.
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty)
The Cubs added a veteran presence—and a familiar NL Central face—to the bullpen Friday when they agreed to terms on a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Jason Motte.
Motte, 32, is 18-13 with 54 saves, 50 holds and a 3.03 ERA (96 ER/285.0 IP) in 311 relief appearances covering all or part of six major league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (2008-12, 2014). He has struck out 290 batters while walking only 86 in 285.0 innings pitched and has turned in a 1.11 WHIP. Over his career, he has limited opponents to a .222 batting average, including a .217 mark by right-handed hitters and a .229 average by lefties.
In a stellar three-year span from 2010-12, Motte went 13-9 with 53 saves and a 2.43 ERA in 201 relief outings. He posted a career-best 2.24 ERA in 2010 before helping the Cardinals to the World Series championship in 2011 with a 2.25 ERA, nine saves and a career-high 18 holds in a career-best 78 relief appearances. He was on the mound to close out the decisive seventh game of the World Series, capping a postseason during which he turned in a 2.19 ERA and five saves.
Motte took over full-time closer duties in 2012 and tied for the National League lead with 42 saves, going 4-5 with a 2.75 ERA in 67 appearances. The next year he suffered a right elbow injury on March 21 that ultimately required Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the entire 2013 campaign. But he returned to the mound last season and went 1-0 with a 4.68 ERA in 29 major league outings.
A native of Port Huron, Michigan, Motte was originally selected by the Cardinals in the 19th round of the 2003 Draft as a catcher. He began his conversion to pitcher during the 2006 campaign and was in the big leagues by the 2008 season, posting a 0.82 ERA in 12 appearances for the Cardinals.
Motte is also the founder of the Jason Motte Foundation, whose mission is to provide comfort and care where there is a need for those affected by cancer of all kinds. His “K Cancer” campaign last season raised awareness and participation throughout Major League Baseball and beyond, and Motte was nominated for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award, the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and the Branch Rickey Award.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Every baseball season is filled with memorable moments, and this year’s Cubs campaign was no exception. Cornerstone players had bounceback seasons, newer additions stepped up, and top prospects made their big league debuts. To wrap up the year, we asked you to pick your top 10 moments of 2014. From now until the end of the year, we’ll be unveiling one moment a day.
No. 10: Anthony Rizzo ends a scoreless game with a walk-off home run—Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati
After sitting out nearly three weeks due to a back injury, Anthony Rizzo returned to action in mid-September and made an immediate impact.
Lower back stiffness caused the power hitter to miss 18 games, but he certainly appeared healthy when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game knotted at 0-0 and launched a Pedro Villarreal pitch into the center-field bleachers for a walk-off home run.
The first baseman was greeted at home plate by his teammates, who doused him with water before piling on in celebration. While running away from the exuberant scrum, the slugger jokingly grabbed his back.
“I did it on purpose, just messing around with the guys,” Rizzo told MLB.com. “I definitely thought about [my back] the whole game. To get through the game tonight was nice.”
It was Rizzo’s third walk-off hit of the 2014 campaign, following a homer against Miami on June 6 and a single versus Tampa Bay on Aug. 10. His 32 homers in 2014 ranked second in the National League.
Christian Villanueva boosted his team with an extra-inning, walk-off homer, while Ivan Pineyro picked up his first victory of the winter on Wednesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:
- 3B Christian Villanueva recorded a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to give his Yaquis de Obregon club a 5-4 win over the Caneros de los Mochis. It was his 10th home run of the season.
- RHP Ivan Pineyro picked up his first win of the winter, pitching five scoreless innings in the Estrellas de Oriente’s win over the Tigres del Licey. Pineyro struck out six and walked none while giving up six hits in the victory.
- LF Junior Lake finished 0-for-1 with two walks for the Estrellas.
- 2B Javier Baez recorded a double and scored the Cangrejeros de Santurce’s lone run in a 2-1 loss to the Senadores de San Juan. He went 1-for-3 and added a walk.
- DH Luis Valbuena went 1-for-4 in the Cardenales de Lara’s 6-1 loss to the Tigres de Aragua.
- LHP Joseph Ortiz pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, giving up one hit, as the Tiburones de La Guaira topped the Navegantes del Magallanes.
Not many Cubs prospects took the field Tuesday, but Arismendy Alcantara stole the show for his squad in the Dominican Republic. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:
- CF Arismendy Alcantara recorded three hits, including a two-run homer, as the Tigres del Licey cruised past the Leones del Escogido. He finished 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
- CF Junior Felix Arias went 0-for-2 in the Gigantes del Cibao’s win over Aguilas Cibaenas.
- 3B Christian Villanueva struggled to find any rhythm, going 0-for-5, despite the Yaquis de Obregon pulling out a 6-5 win over the Caneros de los Mochis.
The Cubs announced their minor league coordinators for the 2015 season on Wednesday. They are as follows:
Tim Cossins returns for his third season as the organization’s minor league field/catching coordinator following 10 years in the Miami Marlins’ farm system, including the final six as the minor league catching coordinator. He was also a manager in the Marlins’ minor league system from 2003-07. Cossins began his coaching career in 2000 and in 2001-02 was the Major League bullpen catcher for Kansas City. The former catcher played eight minor league seasons (1993-2000) in the Rangers, Yankees and Expos organizations.
Derek Johnson returns for his third year as the Cubs’ minor league pitching coordinator following 11 seasons (2002-12) at Vanderbilt University as the team’s pitching coach, including the last three as the school’s associate head coach/pitching coach. He earned National Pitching Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and National Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010. In 2011, he helped lead the school to its first-ever College World Series appearance. While at Vanderbilt, he helped develop six pitchers that were selected in the first round/supplemental first round of the MLB Draft, including David Price.
Anthony Iapoce begins his third season as the organization’s special assistant to the GM and player development, overseeing the minor league hitting program while contributing to additional projects within the organization. Iapoce spent the 2010-12 seasons as roving hitting coordinator for Toronto and served as the hitting coach for the Marlins’ Single-A Jupiter affiliate for two seasons (2008-09). A former outfielder, he played 11 minor league seasons in the Brewers and Marlins organizations, as well as in independent ball, after being selected by Milwaukee in the 33rd round of the 1994 draft.
Jose Flores returns for his third season as minor league infield coordinator and his 15th year as a coach or manager. Flores spent two seasons as manager of Puerto Rico’s national team (2011-12) and was a bench coach for the Ponce Leones in Puerto Rico’s baseball league (2010). He handled similar duties for the Gaguas Criollos baseball club in 2008, the same year he managed the Cleveland Indians’ Dominican Summer League team. After playing six seasons in Houston’s minor league system (1990-95), he began his coaching career in the Puerto Rico Winter League (2001-06).
Dave Keller enters his 30th season as a minor league coach or manager, his 12th year in the Cubs organization and his first as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He managed Single-A Daytona in 2013-14 and led the club to the 2013 Florida State League title after serving as Iowa’s hitting coach in 2012. In 2011, he was the Cubs’ major league staff assistant after seven years (2004-10) as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Keller was a major league staff assistant and bullpen catcher for Cleveland from 2001-03 following two years as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. He managed in the minor leagues in the Cincinnati (1987-89), Cleveland (1990-94) and White Sox (1996) organizations, and was named the 1993 Carolina League Manager of the Year with Single-A Kinston. The former first baseman also played in the Reds organization for three seasons (1982-84).
Mike Mason begins his second season as assistant pitching coordinator after spending the previous six years as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach. He has 23 years of coaching experience following a seven-year big league playing career with Texas (1982-87), the Cubs (1987) and Minnesota (1988). Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as Kansas City’s minor league pitching coordinator (2004-07) and also handled interim pitching coach duties at the major league level in 2004. Mason served as pitching coach for Philadelphia’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in 2002-03 after serving as Kansas City’s minor league pitching instructor the previous two seasons (2000-01). He began his coaching career in Kansas City’s minor league system from 1991-99.
Tom Beyers returns for his 16th season with the Cubs organization and his first as the minor league assistant hitting coordinator, following two seasons as Single-A Kane County’s hitting coach. He was the Short-Season hitting coordinator in 2012 following one season as the minor league hitting coordinator in 2011. Beyers joined the Cubs in 2000 and was a minor league manager or coach for 11 seasons, including manager of Single-A Boise in 2004, a season in which he led the club to the Northwest League title and earned league Manager of the Year honors. A former outfielder, he spent his first 21 seasons in professional baseball with the Dodgers as a player, coach or manager after being selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 1979 Draft.
Rey Fuentes begins his third season with the organization and his first as Latin coordinator, mental skills program, following two years as cultural programs coordinator. In this role, he oversees all educational classes and mental skills programs for the Cubs’ Latin American players. Prior to joining the Cubs, he coached and taught physical education in the Orlando area. Fuentes graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, in 2002 with a degree in Exceptional Student Education.
Darnell McDonald begins his first season as the organization’s mental skills program coordinator and will work with players throughout all levels of the farm system. McDonald served as a Cubs baseball operations assistant in 2014 following his retirement in April after 16 professional seasons. He was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1997 Draft and played for the Cubs in 2013.
Doug Jarrow begins his eighth season as Chicago’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the Major League strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Nick Frangella begins his 12th season with the organization and his second as head minor league athletic training and performance coordinator. He spent the previous two seasons as Triple-A Iowa’s athletic trainer.
Chuck Baughman enters his 15th year with the Cubs organization and his second season as assistant athletic training coordinator. He spent the previous eight seasons as a rehabilitation coordinator and joined the organization as Short-Season Boise’s athletic trainer in 2001. His career in professional baseball began in 1999 when he was the athletic trainer for Single-A Clinton in Cincinnati’s system.
Rick Tronerud returns for his 20th year with the Cubs and his second as minor league rehab pitching coordinator. He spent the previous 13 seasons with Rookie League Mesa, serving as the club’s rehab pitching coach. Tronerud joined the organization in 1996 as the pitching coach at Rookie-League Fort Myers after pitching (1972-81) and coaching (1982-89) in Oakland’s farm system.
Marty Pevey returns for his third season as manager of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. (Photo courtesy of Iowa Cubs)
The Cubs announced their minor league managers and coaching staffs for the 2015 season on Wednesday. A majority of the managers are familiar faces, but many of the coaches are new to the organization or to their affiliate. Below are the staffs, broken down by club:
Manager: Marty Pevey
Pitching Coach: Mike Cather
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Brian Harper/Leo Perez
Trainer: Scott Barringer
Marty Pevey begins his third season as Triple-A Iowa’s manager after serving as Chicago’s catching coordinator for three seasons from 2010-12. Pevey was the manager at Single-A Peoria in 2009, his first season with the organization. He has a combined 31 years of professional experience (13 years as a player and 18 years as a manager, coach or coordinator), and was named the 2009 Midwest League co-Manager of the Year. Joining Pevey at Iowa will be newly hired pitching coach, Mike Cather, who spent 2014 as Triple-A El Paso’s pitching coach in the Padres’ system. Cather enters his 10th season as a coach after six seasons in the Red Sox system and three seasons in the San Diego organization. Originally drafted by the Rangers in 1993, he pitched in parts of three seasons with the Braves from 1997-99. Brian Harper returns for his third season as Iowa’s hitting coach after managing Double-A Tennessee in 2011 and Single-A Daytona in 2012. A former catcher, Harper played 16 seasons in the majors with seven teams. Rounding out the coaching staff is former Cubs farmhand Leo Perez, who begins his seventh season as a coach in the organization and his first with Iowa. Scott Barringer returns for his second season as Iowa’s athletic trainer and his third in the Cubs organization.
Manager: Buddy Bailey
Pitching Coach: Storm Davis
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Desi Wilson/Guillermo Martinez
Trainer: Shane Nelson
Buddy Bailey begins his fourth-straight season (and fifth overall) as Tennessee’s manager after guiding the Smokies to a 214-203 (.513) mark in the last three seasons. Bailey spent three years as Daytona’s skipper prior to joining the Smokies, compiling a 215-196 (.523) record, including a 2011 Florida State League Championship. This will mark Bailey’s 27th year as a manager and his 10th with the organization. Storm Davis begins his third season with the organization and his second as Tennessee’s pitching coach after serving in the same role with Daytona in 2013. The former right-handed pitcher went 113-96 with a 4.02 ERA during a 13-year big league career. Desi Wilson, entering his eighth season with the organization, returns as the hitting coach for a third year after handling the same duties at Daytona in 2012. The only new member of the Smokies’ staff, Guillermo Martinez, joins as an assistant coach after serving in a similar role last season with Single-A Boise. Shane Nelson rounds out the staff as the team’s athletic trainer for the second-straight year.
Single-A Myrtle Beach
Manager: Mark Johnson
Pitching Coach: David Rosario
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Mariano Duncan/Chris Gutierrez
Trainer: Peter Fagan
Mark Johnson, now entering his fifth season in the organization, takes over as manager of the Cubs’ new Single-A affiliate, Myrtle Beach. He spent the last two seasons as manager at Single-A Kane County, where he led the 2014 Cougars to a 91-49 record and a Midwest League championship after sweeping through the playoffs with a 7-0 mark. Johnson began his managerial career in 2011 with Boise after enjoying a 17-year professional playing career that included 332 major league games with four clubs. Handling pitching coach duties at Myrtle Beach will be David Rosario, who is entering his 11th year in the Cubs’ system and served with Johnson last season at Kane County. Mariano Duncan returns for his third season as the club’s High-A hitting coach after serving the previous two campaigns as Tennessee’s hitting coach (2011-12). The 12-year major league veteran (1985-87, 1989-97) joined the Cubs in 2011 after spending the previous five seasons (2006-10) as the Dodgers’ major league first base coach. Rounding out the coaching staff is Chris Gutierrez, who began his coaching career last season as an assistant coach with Single-A Kane County. Peter Fagan returns to Myrtle Beach as the athletic trainer.
Single-A South Bend
Manager: Jimmy Gonzalez
Pitching Coach: Brian Lawrence
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Jesus Feliciano/Osmin Melendez
Trainer: Jonathan Fierro
Jimmy Gonzalez begins his second season as a manager in the organization, taking over the Cubs’ new Single-A affiliate in South Bend. He made his managerial debut last season with Rookie-League Mesa after serving as hitting coach with the club in 2013. A former catcher, Gonzalez played 14 minor league seasons after being selected in the first round of the 1991 Draft by Houston. Brian Lawrence enters his first season as South Bend’s pitching coach after serving in the same role with Boise in 2014. Lawrence made his coaching debut in 2012 in the Independent Frontier League and spent 2013 as pitching coach of Single-A Lake Elsinore in the Padres system. The former right-hander went 50-63 with a 4.19 ERA during a six-year big league career with the Padres and Mets. Jesus Feliciano moves up to South Bend after serving as the hitting coach last season at Boise in his debut year as a coach. He enjoyed a 16-year playing career from 1998-2013 and saw action in 54 games with the Mets in 2010. Osmin Melendez will serve as an assistant coach after coaching with Mesa last season and managing the Cubs Venezuela rookie league team in 2013. Jonathan Fierro begins his third season as an athletic trainer in the organization after serving in Kane County in 2014 and Boise in 2013.
Manager: Gary Van Tol
Pitching Coach: Anderson Tavares
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Ricardo Medina/Terrmel Sledge
Trainer: Mike McNulty
Gary Van Tol returns for his third season as the club’s Short Season-A manager, but he’ll take over a new affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds. Van Tol guided Boise to consecutive 41-35 records in his first two seasons, securing a playoff berth both years. Prior to becoming a manager, Van Tol served as bench coach in Boise for five years and has extensive experience as a coach in the college ranks, including as an assistant at his alma mater, Gonzaga. Joining the staff at Eugene will be pitching coach Anderson Tavares, who spent the last two seasons with Rookie-League Mesa. Tavares played in the Cubs system from 2000-05 and worked as a pitching coach with the Cubs Dominican Summer League team from 2007-12. Ricardo Medina enters his first season as hitting coach with Single-A Eugene after two years with Mesa. He has been involved in the Cubs organization since 1999 as a coach, manager or scout. A new addition to the organization, former major league outfielder Terrmel Sledge rounds out the coaching staff as an assistant coach. Mike McNulty joins Eugene as the team’s athletic trainer after serving in the same role last season with Mesa.
Rookie League Mesa
Manager: Carmelo Martinez
Pitching Coach: Ron Villone
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Oscar Bernard/Ty Wright
Trainer: Toby Williams
Carmelo Martinez enters his 18th season in the organization and begins his second stint as manager with Mesa after serving in the role from 1999-2003, and again in 2006. He has a career record of 159-185 (.462) as Mesa’s manager. Martinez previously served as the Cubs’ Latin America field coordinator for six seasons and played in the majors from 1983-91 with the Cubs, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Royals and Reds. Ron Villone begins his fourth season as a coach in the Cubs organization and his first with Mesa. A former left-handed pitcher, he played in all or part of 15 major league seasons from 1995-2009 with 12 teams. Oscar Bernard begins his first season as the hitting coach for Mesa after spending the previous two seasons as the Dominican Cubs hitting coach. Ty Wright joins the staff as an assistant coach after an eight-year playing career, seven of which came in the Cubs system. Toby Williams begins his second season in the organization and his first as Mesa’s athletic trainer.
Manager: Juan Cabreja
Pitching Coach: Armando Gabino
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Claudio Almonte
Trainer: Jose Alvarez
Juan Cabreja returns for a second-consecutive year as manager of the Dominican Cubs after previously managing the club from 2007-08 and managing the Cubs’ second Dominican club in 2012. He led the team to a 42-28 mark last season and has a 244-204 (.545) overall managerial record. Armando Gabino enters his first season as a pitching coach in the organization after a playing career that saw him pitch in seven games over two seasons with the Twins and Orioles. Claudio Almonte also joins the organization as the Dominican Cubs hitting coach after managing the Mariners Dominican Summer League team in 2014. Jose Alvarez begins his second season as the club’s athletic trainer.
Manager: Pedro Gonzalez
Pitching Coach: Eduardo Villacis
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Franklin Blanco
Trainer: Arnoldo Goite
Pedro Gonzalez begins his second year as the Venezuelan Cubs manager after going 28-40 in his first season. He will be joined by pitching coach Eduardo Villacis and hitting coach Franklin Blanco. Villacis enters his first season with the organization, while Blanco begins his ninth year with the Cubs and his third-straight season in Venezuela. Arnoldo Goite returns as the club’s athletic trainer.
The Chicago Cubs today acquired right-handed pitching prospect Matt Brazis from the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Justin Ruggiano.
Brazis, 25, is 8-6 with 14 saves and a 2.89 ERA in 100 minor league relief appearances covering three seasons in the Mariners minor league system. He split the 2014 campaign between Single-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, going 4-1 with six saves and a 2.36 ERA in 40 appearances. Brazis struck out 84 batters and walked only 18 in 72.1 innings pitched.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Brazis was originally selected by the Mariners in the 28th round of the 2012 Draft out of Boston College.
Ruggiano, 32, batted .281 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 81 games for the Cubs last year. He was acquired from the Miami Marlins for outfielder Brian Bogusevic on Dec. 12, 2013. The move also clears a spot on the Cubs 40-man roster.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Chicago Cubs will host the 30th annual Cubs Convention from Jan. 16-18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. The event will feature new manager Joe Maddon, his coaching staff, players from the current Cubs roster, alumni and prospects. The 2015 Cubs Convention will provide more than 100 photo and autograph opportunities, an updated event layout, enhanced activities and traditional favorites during the three-day weekend.
The Cubs Convention’s Opening Ceremony begins Friday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m., and will feature player introductions on an elevated runway that will give special VIP access to children 16-and-under. Following the Opening Ceremony, guests will find some of their favorite Cubs and young prospects signing autographs for an exciting Surprise Signing Game. The event’s first day concludes with a special Friday Night with Ryan Dempster show, featuring interviews with Cubs players and coaches, comedy vignettes and interactive games.
Saturday’s program will continue with fan favorites such as the return of Cubs Family Feud and Cubs Jeopardy, which features unique trivia and the addition of fan guests on each team. Saturday also will feature a highly anticipated Joe Maddon and His Coaching Staff session, Meet the New Cubs, an extended For Kids Only Press Conference and a Cubs Business Operations update on the 1060 Project restoration. The evening will conclude with longtime Convention favorite Cubs Bingo, led by Wayne Messmer.
Additional weekend sessions (subject to change) include: The Ricketts Family Forum, A Recent Look Back: 2007-08 Cubs, 30 Years of Cubs Convention Memories, The Future is Bright, Here to Stay, Meet Cubs Baseball Management, Down on the Farm and #CubsSocial.
In addition to the sessions highlighted above, the Convention includes many new and returning activities throughout the weekend for fans:
- New layouts to the event space will be unveiled, including a dedicated autograph hall, Vendor Alley and two full ballrooms with kids activities—Clark’s Clubhouse and Clark’s Fieldhouse.
- Clark’s Fieldhouse is a miniature turf diamond that gives kids a fun place to play pick-up wiffle ball games or participate in professional instructional clinics as part of the Baseball Interactive Zone. Cubs players and coaches will pair up with Illinois Baseball Academy instructors to conduct a series of training opportunities for kids of all ages throughout the weekend.
- A dedicated Clark’s Clubhouse will host mini games, face painting, caricatures, balloon artists, inflatable tee ball and a coloring station.
- The Cubs Charities room has been moved to the main lobby floor and will again feature a variety of items and opportunities for sale, including private player meet-and-greets, baseballs, ball cubes, autographed mystery balls, 50/50 raffle tickets and grab bags with either a Wrigley Field 100 bobblehead or Ernie Banks statue figurine included. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation will host a raffle and silent auction as well.
- Attendees can watch live bat-making demonstrations at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory station or check out game-used and replica bats of past and present Cubs players. In addition, fans can spin a prize wheel, sign up for free museum passes and the opportunity to win personalized Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and find out how they can take home the one-of-a-kind commemorative 30th Annual Cubs Convention bat on display throughout the weekend.
- Guests can visit a dedicated social media lounge, featuring giveaways, charging stations, an interactive screen and live special guest Q&A sessions throughout the weekend.
- A variety of Cubs memorabilia will be available for sale or auction from Cubs Authentics, Cubs Charities and a selection of third party vendors.
A limited number of Sheraton Chicago hotel room packages with Cubs Convention weekend passes remain available. Cubs Convention room rates include passes at a discounted price of $20, or passes can be purchased individually without a hotel reservation for $65 per pass plus convenience fees at cubs.com/convention or 1-800-THE-CUBS. Visit the Cubs Convention page for more information and the most up-to-date list of confirmed players, coaches and alumni.
A percentage of the proceeds from the Cubs Convention benefits Cubs Charities. To date, the Cubs Convention has raised approximately $4 million for Cubs Charities.