Theo Epstein has repeatedly proven he knows how to run a baseball team. In recent years, he’s also demonstrated a unique ability to put on a good rock show.
Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder surprised fans Friday night when he took the stage at The Metro in Wrigleyville, joining an all-star roster of Chicago and Boston musicians who stepped up to the plate for Chicago-area youth at the fifth annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert. Vedder, a die-hard Cubs fan, joined the Hot Stove roster for the second consecutive year, helping raise more than $400,000 for Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later.
Vedder joined Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper and an all-star lineup featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Latin Grammy nominated jazz musician/former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound and Avid Dancer.
Ensemble performances by the “Hot Stove All-Stars,” a host of distinguished Chicago and Boston musicians who anchor the Hot Stove Music line-up, rounded out the bill. The “All-Stars” include Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo), Jennifer Hall, Max Crawford, Dag Juhlin (Poi Dog Pondering), Gerald Dowd, Scott Stevenson (Robbie Fulks), Gail Greenwood (Belly, L7), Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Mysteries of Life), Hilken Mancini (Fuzzy), Liam Davis (Justin Roberts), Steve Frisbie (Frisbie), Curt Morrison (Tributosaurus), Matt Spiegel (Tributosaurus), Will Dailey, Chris Cote (Upper Crust), Jen D’Angora (Downbeat Five, Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents), Ed Valauskas (Gravel Pit), Paul Ahlstrand, Phil Aiken, Gerald Dowd, Jen Trynin, and more.
“Once again Chicagoans stepped up and answered the call to support underserved youth and families in our community,” Epstein said. “The need has never been greater and so we deeply appreciate the support and dedication of all the musicians, sponsors, fans and volunteers whose tireless efforts ensure Hot Stove Cool Music raises funds to provide opportunities for kids across Chicago.”
Vedder took the stage with Epstein on guitar and tore through a set of solo and Pearl Jam favorites and covers including “Better Man,” “Big Hard Sun,” and his acoustic Cubs tribute “All The Way.” The iconic rocker electrified the crowd when he invited Cubs Manager Joe Maddon and coaches to the stage as backups on the tambourine and cowbells, closing his set with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World.” He returned to the stage at midnight to close the show with the “Hot Stove All-Stars,” ending the evening with the Split Enz “I Got You.”
The annual event, presented by Chicago Trading Company, was hosted by Epstein and Gammons, with Mad Men actor Joel Murray and WXRT-FM’s Lin Brehmer serving as emcees. Other special guests in attendance included Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel, Alumni Ryan Dempster, Chariman Tom Ricketts, Special Assistant Kevin Youkilis, coaches and other front office execs. The evening also included live auctions featuring signed music and sports memorabilia, including a signed Eddie Vedder guitar that sold for $26,000.
In addition to the concert, the Hot Stove Cool Music series of events featured a three-day leadership program for Chicago and Boston youth athletes, culminating into the Summer City Urban Baseball Classic June 18 at Jackie Robinson Park. The event, which shined a light on the importance of youth baseball and the role it plays in the development of successful young leaders, featured urban youth playing exciting baseball as Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West, Garfield Park Baseball, Lou Collier Baseball Association and The Boston Astros faced-off.
Cubs Legacy Partners Nuveen and Wintrust are providing one more reason to watch where Cubs home runs land this season, as each partner has committed to a sizeable donation—up to $1 million—to Cubs Charities if a batted baseball strikes their sign at Wrigley Field during the 2016 regular season or postseason.
Nuveen’s new sign down the left-field line shared the spotlight recently as Cubs catcher David Ross hit his 100th career home run off the second “N” of the sign last homestand. To help celebrate the milestone, Nuveen is donating $10,000 to Cubs Charities and offering another $10,000 for the next time a Cubs player hits the new fixture. The sign is a likely target, as it rests just inside the left-field foul pole behind the Budweiser Bleachers.
Additionally, if a Cubs batter hits the W of the Wintrust sign above the left-field video board, Cubs Charities will receive a $1 million donation from Wintrust for the feat. The W lights up after each Cubs home victory, adding to the ongoing tradition of flying a W flag after each home win.
“It is incredibly impactful when our corporate partners pledge their support to help us improve the health, fitness and education of children and families across Chicago,” said Cubs Charities Vice President of Development Connie Falcone. “We know Nuveen’s pledged $20,000 donation will make a big difference for our three signature programs—the Cubs on the Move Fitness Program, Cubs Scholars and the Diamond Project—and we’ll eagerly watch for that $1 million strike of the bat thanks to Wintrust.”
“We are delighted to honor David Ross’s 100th career home run with a $10,000 donation to Cubs Charities,” said Nuveen Co-President, Bill Adams. “What better way to christen our new outfield sign than with such a historic home run, and to celebrate alongside thousands of Cubs fans as it happened. In this spirit, we would like to challenge our Cubs to take another home run swing at our sign, and if successful, Nuveen will look forward to donating an additional $10,000 to Cubs Charities.”
Nuveen Co-President, Margo Cook added, “We’ve been proud to support a wide variety of cultural, social and educational organizations throughout the Chicagoland area. We believe this donation provides a great opportunity for us to continue that support through the Cubs organization in a way that celebrates our community. We look forward to exploring other potential opportunities to celebrate the Cubs’ success while supporting their charitable work this season.”
Nuveen, a leading provider of investment solutions designed to help secure the long-term goals of individual investors and the financial advisors who serve them, has been a partner of the Cubs since 2005. Its Legacy Partnership includes naming rights to the Nuveen Investments Suite Level at Wrigley Field, plus other in-park signage and special events.
“When we joined the Cubs as a Legacy Partner last year, we made a commitment to supporting the team’s efforts on the field and in the community,” said Ed Wehmer, Wintrust CEO and founder. “We were excited to help develop an idea that combined both possibilities and are rooting for a Cubs player to deliver that giant ‘W’ to the team and Chicagoland community through the efforts of Cubs Charities.”
Wintrust is a financial services holding company based in Rosemont, Illinois, with assets above $20 billion. Wintrust became the Official Banking Partner of the Chicago Cubs and Cubs Charities in late 2014 and their partnership includes ATM provider rights, logo placement on the team’s media backdrops, ballpark signage and sponsorship of Cubs Charities’ primary fundraising event, the Bricks and Ivy Ball.
Eligible home runs must be hit in-game by a Cubs player during the 2016 regular season or postseason to result in a donation. Official promotion rules are available at Fan Services at Wrigley Field.
Cubs Charities today teamed up with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to announce more than $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving those in need in the Chicago area. McCormick Foundation’s Cubs Care has donated more than $20 million to Chicago nonprofit organizations since its inception. This is the 12th consecutive year more than $1 million has been donated to Chicago communities through Cubs Care and Cubs Charities. Cubs Care grants help organizations to provide youth health and wellness programs and education programs.
“Cubs Charities is proud to team up with the McCormick Foundation to support deserving nonprofit organizations serving those in need in our community,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. “Through our shared commitment to helping our community thrive, we are able to leave a lasting impact felt far beyond the Friendly Confines.”
Events such as the Bricks and Ivy Ball and Race to Wrigley Charity Run, along with activities such as the gameday 50/50 raffle, personal video board messages and contributions from Cubs players, fans and partners help raise funds for Cubs Care grants.
“Chicago is filled with passionate fans and caring neighbors,” said David Hiller, President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “For more than 25 years, the McCormick Foundation and Chicago Cubs have shared a commitment to supporting amazing community organizations that work to improve the lives of underserved youth and families across Chicagoland. Together, we will continue to build a stronger community for all of us in the years to come.”
(Photo Courtesy Wood Family Foundation)
In his playing days, Kerry Wood was one of the toughest pitchers in baseball. There’s no way he was going to let a little rain keep fans away from Wrigley Field for one of his signature events.
On July 10, the Wood Family Foundation will host the second-annual Kerry Wood and Friends Battle of the Bats Home Run Derby. The event gives fans a chance to step into the batter’s box at the Friendly Confines and take their hacks in front of the ivy. The derby was originally scheduled for May 25, but it was rained out. The event gives fans a chance to live out their childhood dreams by stepping into the batter’s box and taking their hacks at Wrigley Field.
“I think both Cubs Charities and my foundation realized what kind of an event it can be,” said former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. “Last year, we had a great turnout, a great event. We raised a lot of money for charities, so I think we’re looking to do bigger and better this year.”
What makes the event truly special is that participants get to do something unique and possibly something they have been dreaming of their whole lives. Though Wood was able to step into the Wrigley Field batter’s box on 190 regular-season occasions throughout his 14-year big-league career, what this opportunity means to fans isn’t lost on the ex-Cub. With money being raised for his foundation and participants having a good time, the event becomes twice as rewarding.
“I think when you’re running a foundation or you’re doing it for charity or anything to raise money, you do [make]… experiences,” Wood said. “You get the emails after it’s over, and they all had great stories.
“We had people in bare feet in the grass in the outfield, walking around. I don’t think I’ve done that—walk around in the outfield in my bare feet.”
Some of Wood’s former Cubs teammates are scheduled to on hand, and Wood said others will likely make an appearance. Contestants will each get 10 outs—that’s any swing that isn’t a home run. The top 10 qualifiers will reach the second round, with the top three going to the finals.
Interested parties can sign up in teams of four with a $15,000 minimum donation, or as individuals for $3,500. New this year, the top six high school-aged fundraisers will also get an opportunity to compete.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Cubs Charities and the Wood Family Foundation’s Pitch In Program. The Pitch In Program partners young students, fourth grade and up, with a caring adult who will serve as a mentor throughout the school year. The goal is for the students, currently in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, to have guidance until they reach high school. The program started in October 2014 and is continuing to grow.
“I feel like we’re getting a chance to affect multiple kids in the neighborhood,” Wood said. “It’s been great for us. It’s been a great learning experience for us. I know the kids are really enjoying it. I know the families are really enjoy us being there. We’re all going through this together.”
Last year’s home run derby raised more than $100,000 and will play a big role in Pitch In’s summer program, which kicks off this year.
“Any time you can get fans out, get a chance to get out on the field and take some hacks, it’s a pretty special day,” Wood said.
(Photo courtesy Chicago Cubs)
On Thursday night, guests gathered at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom to show their support for Cubs Charities at the sixth annual Bricks and Ivy Ball. The event raised more than $1.65 million, a fundraising record since the inception of the event, to support Cubs Charities’ programs. The sold-out benefit featured 2016 Chicago Cubs players, owners, alumni and executives who mingled with the more than 800 guests in attendance.
Cubs Charities sponsors three Signature Programs to further its mission to increase access to sports opportunities and target improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. The Cubs on the Move Fitness Program promotes a fitness plan and healthy eating campaign while encouraging kids to “Play Every Day.” The Cubs Charities Diamond Project expands opportunities for children to play baseball by creating or preserving green space and baseball facilities. Finally, the Cubs Scholars Program has enrolled 20 scholars and committed $400,000 in scholarships to these Chicago-area high school students, coupled with mentorship by Cubs associates and a program that promotes academic achievement and encourages post-secondary educational advancement.
“The generosity of our fans, players and corporate friends at this year’s sold-out Bricks and Ivy Ball is truly amazing,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts. “We are proud of the impact we continue to make in the community by helping to build and improve ballparks, provide academic scholarships and engage children in fitness programs across Chicago. This has been a very productive year, and we look forward to building an even brighter future for Chicago’s next generation of All-Stars.”
Last year, the Cubs, Cubs Charities and Cubs Care combined to support donations of more than $3.4 million and thousands of autographed items, experiences and tickets to deserving nonprofit organizations. For more information, please visit cubscharities.org.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Following a six-game road trip to begin the 2016 season, the Chicago Cubs will host Opening Night at Wrigley Field Monday, April 11, at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Cincinnati Reds. The homestand continues vs. the Reds until April 14, followed by a visit from the Colorado Rockies April 15-17.
Gates will open 30 minutes earlier than the standard two-hour window on Opening Night at 4:35 p.m. to help accommodate the new security procedures implemented at Wrigley Field this season, including mandatory metal detector screenings as fans enter the gates. Fans are encouraged to arrive to games earlier this season and can find information about the new screening process at cubs.com/security.
Up to the first 30,000 early arriving fans on Opening Night will receive a Cubs Magnet Schedule presented by Giordano’s. Cubs Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams will throw ceremonial first pitches and lead the seventh-inning stretch. Each base and baseball used during the game will feature special Opening Day logos. Pending availability, fans can purchase these items at the Cubs Authentics kiosk located in the main concourse or by visiting cubs.com/authentics. Net proceeds benefit Cubs Charities.
On Friday, April 15, the Cubs will join all of Major League Baseball by hosting Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley Field. Jackie Robinson’s legacy is memorialized each year on April 15 to recognize the anniversary of the Hall of Famer breaking baseball’s color barrier. Uniformed players and personnel at each ballpark will wear Jackie Robinson’s retired No. 42 on their jerseys that day. Each base used at Wrigley Field will feature a commemorative Jackie Robinson Day base jewel. These game-used bases may be purchased at the Cubs Authentics kiosk, and the No. 42 jerseys will be available through an online Cubs Authentics auction benefiting Cubs Charities. The team will present the 10th annual Jackie Robinson Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner Award, which recognizes diverse business partners who exhibit and continue the legacy of Jackie Robinson. A pregame ceremony will include video highlighting Jackie Robinson’s career and legacy.
Two Cubs players will receive awards from last season during the homestand. Major League Baseball will present outfielder Jason Heyward with his 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award pregame April 15. On Sunday, April 17, third baseman Kris Bryant will receive his Player’s Choice Award for National League Outstanding Rookie from the Major League Baseball Players Association.
This season marks a century of the Cubs playing at Wrigley Field (which originally hosted the Federal League’s Chi-Feds and Whales from 1914-15). The team will wear a commemorative patch featuring a version of the team’s 1916 logo in modern colors on home uniforms throughout the 2016 season. Following Opening Night, the celebratory logo will be featured on base jewels and as a stamp on baseballs used during 2016 home games.
Tickets remain available at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827). New attractions at Wrigley Field and highlights of the homestand follow.
Fans sitting in the Budweiser Bleachers will notice a new Budweiser Bleacher Bar as they enter the gates at the corner of Sheffield and Waveland avenues. This sizeable bar offers an array of beer, cocktails and wine on the main concourse level. Bleacher guests also will enjoy five new display cases showcasing Cubs and Wrigley Field history, a replica ivy wall perfect for photo opportunities and additional décor throughout the bleacher concourse.
Those looking for a VIP experience inside the Budweiser Bleachers can reserve the Fannie May Bleacher Sweet (formerly the Budweiser Bleacher Suite), an ideal space for corporate or large group gatherings that offers heating and air conditioning, private restrooms, limited parking passes and all-inclusive food and beverage, including the chance to purchase upgraded dessert packages. Additionally, clients throughout the Nuveen Investments Suite Level can treat their guests to pre-ordered Fannie May chocolate trays, cheesecakes and souvenirs to help celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
This season, through a number of contests and retail activations, Pepsi will reward fans each game with the opportunity to sit in four reserved seats in the new Pepsi Batter’s Eye, located in center field in the Budweiser Bleachers below the iconic Wrigley Field scoreboard.
Guests on the terrace level of Wrigley Field’s reserved seating bowl can order many of their favorite ballpark concessions at the new Marquee Grill located directly behind its namesake sign.
Finally, guests and Season Ticket Holders driving to and from Wrigley Field will notice newly branded parking lots as part of the team’s Legacy Partnership with Toyota. The updated names include the Toyota RAV4 Lot, formerly the Brown Lot, and the Toyota Camry Lot, formerly the Green Lot, which includes premier parking spaces for a limited number of early arriving fans who are driving Toyota cars. A parking map and full list of updated lot names can be found at cubs.com/transportation.
Up to the first 30,000 early arriving fans on Opening Night, April 11, will receive a Cubs Magnet Schedule presented by Giordano’s.
Food and Beverage Offerings
Fans seeking a hot dog or sausage at Wrigley Field can select from a menu as deep as the Cubs roster, with 25 different options available throughout the ballpark.
Gilbert’s Craft Sausages joins the team this year with three offerings at the new Gilbert’s Grill Cart in the main concourse. The Caprese Sausage is a chicken sausage topped with diced tomatoes, chopped basil, mozzarella pearls and balsamic glaze. The Aloha Sausage is a chicken sausage topped with pineapple salsa, lime aioli, hot sauce and crushed potato chips. The Beef and Cheddar is a beef smoked sausage with cheddar cheese, topped with mac and cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and BBQ sauce. All three options are available during the opening homestand.
Back by popular demand, Budweiser Bleacher guests will continue to enjoy rotating Hot Doug’s offerings this season. The opening homestand features The Barry Foote, which is a corned beef sausage, aka “The Tueben,” topped with Russian dressing, shredded Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. The Joe Wallis is a curry bratwurst topped with curry dijonnaise, caramelized onions and smoked gouda cheese. The Champ Summers is a Vienna Beef spicy polish sausage with Goose Island beer mustard and crispy fried onions.
Fans also can enjoy High Plains Bison hot dogs, bratwursts and Italian sausages at the High Plains Bison Grill Cart, while vegetarian guests can opt for Veggie Hot Dogs at the Decade Dogs stand. Guests in the Nuveen Investments Suite Level can order additional specialty dog options such as the Philly Dog, Deli Dog, Big Kid Dog and Taco Dog, while diners in the Audi Club can enjoy the new Colossal Deconstructed Hot Dog.
These unique options join a robust offering of classic Vienna Beef hot dogs, Chicago dogs, three footlong selections, bratwursts, Italian sausages, Polish sausages and Wrigley Field Smokies served at various locations throughout the ballpark, including the Decade Dogs stand, concession stands, grill carts and in-seat vending.
Of course, guests have options beyond hot dogs and sausages. Family-owned Buona Beef joins the team as the Official Italian Beef of the Chicago Cubs after serving Chicago’s original Italian beef sandwiches since 1981.
Giordano’s Pizza returns to exclusively provide what many claim to be Chicago’s best stuffed pizza.
Fans age 21-and-older looking to wash down their meal with an adult beverage can order beers ranging from classics like Budweiser to newer offerings like Goose Island’s Four Star Pils or Goose IPA.
Budweiser Bleacher guests can try the new Chicago Dog Bloody Mary, which is a classic Bloody Mary with a celery salt and poppy seed rim, skewer with a mini Vienna Beef Chicago dog and garnishes served in a souvenir mason jar.
Terlato Wines will offer Nuveen Investments Suite Level guests the chance to purchase an upgraded food and wine package, as well as a Sommelier Wine Tasting Suite Experience complete with a pregame tour of Wrigley Field.
Tito’s Vodka will soon introduce “Brunch at the Ballpark,” which will allow fans to purchase an all-inclusive ticket for Tito’s Bloody Marys and breakfast foods during select Sunday home games throughout the season.
These offerings join an existing roster of classic favorites and creative homestand specials prepared by Levy Restaurants.
“Let’s Give” Cubs Charities Events
The Chicago Cubs will host the 11th Annual Race to Wrigley Charity Run presented by ATI Physical Therapy Saturday, April 23, following the team’s first homestand. This year’s Race to Wrigley 5K route will feature an updated course, allowing runners to race through historic Wrigley Field. Race participants will again see and experience the Lakeview neighborhood along the course route before entering the concourse through the Budweiser Bleacher Gate on Sheffield Avenue and crossing the finish line steps away from the Wrigley Field Marquee. For more information and to register, fans can visit racetowrigley.com.
Manager Joe Maddon will once again support Chicago nonprofit organizations through his “Respect Community” charity T-shirt initiative. After every Friday home game, Maddon will represent a different Chicago nonprofit by wearing the organization’s T-shirt during his post-game press conference. On Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, Maddon will represent the Jackie Robinson Foundation, whose scholarship program is designed to address the financial needs of minority college students and provide comprehensive mentoring services through its 42 Strategies for Success Curriculum.
Homestand Recap, April 11-17
Monday, April 11, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m. (Gates open early at 4:35 p.m.)
- Promotion: Cubs Magnet Schedule presented by Giordano’s, up to the first 30,000 fans
- National Anthem: Wayne Messmer
- First pitches and seventh-inning stretch: Cubs Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, 670 The Score, Cubs.com
Wednesday, April 13, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.
- First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller
- Broadcast: CSN+, 670 The Score, Cubs.com
Thursday, April 14, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.
- Pregame: Cubs Charities Diamond Project grant recipients recognized.
- Broadcast: CSN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com
Friday, April 15, Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies, 1:20 p.m.
- Pregame: Jackie Robinson Day Ceremony
- Award presentation: Jason Heyward 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: Former Blackhawks forward, 2013 Stanley Cup champion and current Blackhawks community liaison Jamal Mayers
- Broadcast: CSN, MLB Network, 670 The Score, Cubs.com
Saturday, April 16, Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies, 1:20 p.m.
- Broadcast: CSN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com
Sunday, April 17, Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies, 1:20 p.m.
- Award presentation: Kris Bryant 2015 Player’s Choice Award for National League Outstanding Rookie
- First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: Former Cubs outfielder Bobby Dernier
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, 670 The Score, Cubs.com
Saturday, April 23, Race to Wrigley Charity Run presented by ATI Physical Therapy, 8 a.m.
(Photo by Will Byington)
Cubs Charities will continue their “Let’s Give” community initiative this season in conjunction with the organization’s 2016 marketing campaign, “Let’s Go.” This yearlong charitable campaign will include Cubs Charities events, player fundraisers and programs benefiting the Chicago community. The efforts will be highlighted throughout the season using the social hashtag #LetsGive.
The campaign also will include Cubs players and associates engaging in community service projects throughout the season, including programs aimed at increasing access to sports opportunities and targeting improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. Cubs Charities offers three ongoing Signature Programs to further this mission. The Cubs on the Move Fitness Program promotes physical activity while encouraging kids to “Play Every Day.” The Cubs Charities Diamond Project expands opportunities for children to play baseball by creating or preserving green space and baseball facilities. Finally, the Cubs Scholars program offers quality mentoring and scholarships for Chicago-area high school students, coupled with a program that promotes academic achievement and encourages post-secondary educational advancement.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon will once again support Chicago nonprofit organizations through his “Respect Community” charity T-shirt initiative. After every Friday home game this season, Maddon will represent a different Chicago nonprofit by wearing the organization’s T-shirt during his postgame press conference.
The list of “Let’s Give” Cubs Charities and player foundation events follows, with future events and appearances possible throughout the season. For more information, visit cubscharities.org.
11th Annual Race to Wrigley Charity Run, April 23
The Chicago Cubs will host the 11th Annual Race to Wrigley Charity Run presented by ATI Physical Therapy Saturday, April 23. This year’s Race to Wrigley 5K route will feature an updated course, allowing runners to race through historic Wrigley Field. Race participants will again see and experience the Lakeview neighborhood along the course route before entering the concourse through the Budweiser Bleacher Gate on Sheffield Avenue and crossing the finish line steps away from the Wrigley Field Marquee. For more information, visit racetowrigley.com.
Bricks and Ivy Ball, April 28
The annual Bricks and Ivy Ball is Cubs Charities’ primary fundraising event. This year’s Bricks and Ivy Ball will feature a fun island theme at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. Cubs players, coaches, alumni, owners and management will be in attendance for an evening of musical entertainment, cocktails and dinner. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on unique live and silent auction items. Net proceeds benefit Cubs Charities. For more information, visit cubs.com/bricksandivy.
Annual Cubs Care Grant Luncheon, May 9
The Cubs will team up with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation for the annual Cubs Care Grant Luncheon in the Audi Club at Wrigley Field. Cubs Charities and Cubs Care will grant money to nonprofit organizations serving those in need in the Chicago area. Last year, the Cubs and Robert R. McCormick Foundation distributed more than $1 million in grants. For more information, visit cubscharities.org.
Kerry Wood and Friends Battle of the Bats Charity Home Run Derby, May 25
The Wood Family Foundation will join Cubs Charities to host the second annual Kerry Wood and Friends Battle of the Bats Charity Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. Kerry Wood and other Cubs alumni will coach participants to swing for the fences while competing for the ultimate title of Home Run Derby Champion. Individuals will have to fundraise a minimum of $3,500, which will benefit underserved youth in Chicago through Cubs Charities and the Wood Family Foundation. For more information, visit cubs.com/derby.
Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation’s Cook-Off for Cancer, June 2
The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation will celebrate its fourth annual Cook-Off for Cancer, which will feature tasting portions prepared by notable Chicago chefs and served by Cubs players at Morgan Manufacturing. Guests will vote for their favorite chefs and dishes by tipping their Cubs server. Tips and event net proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research as well as provide support to children and their families battling the disease. For more information, visit cubs.com/cook.
Foundation To Be Named Later’s Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago Concert, June 17
The fifth annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert will rock Chicago again at Metro Chicago. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper and the Chicago Hot Stove All-Stars will take the stage for an evening of music and giving back to the Chicago community. Net proceeds benefit the Foundation To Be Named Later, started by Epstein and his twin brother, Paul. The foundation raises funds and awareness for nonprofit agencies working on the front lines, serving disadvantaged youth in the Greater Boston and Chicago areas. For more information, visit foundationtobenamedlater.org.
Jon Lester’s NVRQT Goes Country, July 6
Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester and his wife, Farrah, will host a country-themed fundraiser at Joe’s Bar on Weed Street in Chicago this July. Net proceeds from the event will benefit Lester’s NVRQT campaign, run by the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF), which helps raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer research. For future information, visit cubs.com/nvrqt.
Cubs Wives Present Players’ Favorite Things Baskets, July 16
Cubs wives and girlfriends will once again create and auction off Chicago Cubs “Players’ Favorite Things Baskets.” Each basket will contain one-of-a-kind autographed memorabilia and hand-picked items, such as players’ favorite movies, restaurant gift cards, snacks, team gear and much more. The auction will launch online July 16 through July 23 and also will be available inside the concourse at Wrigley Field Saturday, July 16. Net proceeds benefit Cubs Charities. For more information or to place a bid online, visit cubs.com/auction.
Joe Maddon’s Respect 90 Main Event, July 20
Cubs manager Joe Maddon will host the second annual Respect 90 Main Event at the Wintrust Bank Building, featuring dinner and drinks along with several rounds of amateur boxing. The night will help provide Chicago’s inner-city children and young adults with opportunities to develop championship attitudes through sports while encouraging fitness, academics and community engagement. For future information, visit cubscharities.org.
Let’s Go Gold, Sept. 2
Cubs Charities will team up with Major League Baseball to take part in the fight against pediatric cancer by helping Wrigley Field “go gold” Friday, Sept. 2. Cubs Charities will host a special pregame ceremony along with other gold-themed activations throughout the ballpark, including fundraising opportunities to help fund pediatric cancer research and awareness. For future information, visit cubs.com/letsgogold.
The Chicago Cubs will host the 11th Annual Race to Wrigley Charity Run presented by ATI Physical Therapy Saturday, April 23. This year’s Race to Wrigley 5K route will feature an updated course, allowing runners to race through historic Wrigley Field. Registration for the race is open now through Friday, April 22, at 2 p.m. CDT. Participants can register at racetowrigley.com.
The Race to Wrigley 5K begins at 8 a.m. Race participants will again see and experience the Lakeview neighborhood along the course route before entering the concourse through the Budweiser Bleacher Gate on Sheffield Avenue and crossing the finish line steps away from the Wrigley Field Marquee. The ballpark route will feature Wrigley Field tribute statues, newly painted murals and the opportunity to run through the Friendly Confines.
Proceeds from the race will benefit Cubs Charities, which provides increased access to sports opportunities and targets improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. Cubs Charities will donate proceeds from all personal fundraising to support Advocate Children’s Hospital. The top fundraising team and top overall fundraiser will receive tickets to the April 27 game against the Brewers, as well as be recognized during a pregame ceremony on the field. The first 100 fundraisers to raise a minimum of $500 will receive a Kyle Schwarber autographed baseball.
ATI Physical Therapy will provide post-race massages and lead the group in a pre-race stretch.
“We are excited to introduce an updated Race to Wrigley 5K course, which will allow participants to gain more access to the ballpark than ever before,” said Cubs Charities Vice President of Development Connie Falcone. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of our race by celebrating 11 years of promoting fitness and raising money for deserving causes in our community.”
The registration fee for the 5K fun run is $40 and the chip-timed 5K is $45. Packet pick-up will be available at local Sports Authority locations. Registrants will receive details closer to the event.
Participants will receive a Cubs performance race shirt, an ATI Physical Therapy drawstring bag and one beverage (Budweiser, Bud Light or Pepsi product) courtesy of Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi at the post-race celebration. Runners also will have the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to the April 27 game at Wrigley Field.
The business operations of the Chicago Cubs continues to deliver growth for the long-term success of the organization. At this panel, fans heard directly from Cubs business executives on initiatives underway to grow revenue, enhance the fan experience and support the Wrigleyville community. Fans also received an update on the progress of the 1060 Project.
Crane Kenney leads off with an update on what the organization accomplished in 2015 and says he will look ahead at what’s happening next year and beyond.
He begins by thanking the fans for their support through this process of restoring Wrigley Field. The fans have stuck with the team through good and bad.
The decision to play at Wrigley Field while restoring it was like flying a plane while you’re building it. It was a difficult process. They knew they would be opposed by the alderman, rooftops, etc. They appreciate the way the fans stuck with them.
The Cubs asked for your patience last year and will ask for it again in the coming years. The plaza and office building will be built during the 2016 season. Work on the western gate will go on throughout the season and be completed by end of season.
The greatest thing the Ricketts family has done for the team is to give each department time. Owners are thinking about the organization in the long term. This isn’t a rush job. The philosophy is to make sure things are done right.
Patience needs to be rewarded, and the Cubs feel like they’ve made a bit of a down payment on some of the fans’ patience with the success last season. Kenney celebrates some of the teams’ on-field accomplishments. He also talks a bit about bringing Ryne Sandberg back into the family.
Kenney celebrates the success of the video boards and talks about how the fans have accepted them. He speaks a little about the new partnership with CBS Radio and ABC-TV. This allows them to reach a greater audience in Chicago. Their average rating was the same as TBS got for the NLCS broadcasts.
Paid attendance increased by 300,000 at Wrigley Field. Season ticket holders just renewed at a 98 percent clip. They also broke a spring training attendance record at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. And spring training sales have already doubled so far this year.
Kenney gives a big shout out to Cubs Charities and the work they do in the community.
The 1060 Project has been one of the largest job creators in the state in the past year. Kenney runs through the work they did on the park and shows a video recapping the progress. They’re now budgeting for shorter offseason work schedules to accommodate postseason play. That gets some applause. This will likely make the project more expensive, and it will take a little longer.
This season, the left-field terrace seats are being replaced.
The new clubhouse is progressing and will be ready by opening day. It will be one of the largest in baseball and the most expensive in history. Another video gives a sneak peek on the work. Phase 2 is more about steel structure in the stadium for the fans and the new player facilities. The new player spaces are 30,000 square feet.
Work on both the new plaza and hotel will be ongoing during the 2016 season.
Kenney says they are close to completing their journey from worst to first in terms of player facilities. He then shows pictures of the plan for the new plaza on the west side of the ballpark. This new plaza will be ready for opening day 2017.
The Cubs just announced the acquisition of three new rooftops. They also launched WrigleyRooftops.com for fans looking to book the rooftops.
They are also working on the center field bleachers to finish that part of the project. They’re bringing back the planters boxes from decades ago. There will also be an interactive history display on the bleacher concourse.
The new concert schedule at Wrigley Field includes James Taylor, Billy Joel and Luke Bryan. The concert business is a major contributor to the Cubs bottom line and has helped them grow their payroll. But the priority is still keeping the field ready for play.
The majority of the Friday afternoon games will be 1:20 starts this year. They are forgoing the 3:05 starts in 2015. Joe Maddon wanted more consistency with game time starts.
Kenney then opens the floor to questions. He is joined by Colin Faulkner, Alex Sugarman, Alison Miller and Carl Rice.
Carl Rice talks about how the mild winter weather has helped them with the construction season. Plus the project is not as exposed to the elements this year. A lot of the work is enclosed.
There will be increased security measures in MLB this year. Kenney says how seriously they take security. There will be metal detectors this season to protect players, fans, etc. The Cubs have asked the city for help protect the stadium by extending their perimeter of control. They wouldn’t own that space, they would just know which cars, etc. are traveling there. The Cubs ask that you plan to give yourself more time to get into the ballpark this year.
They will be extending the protective netting at the ballpark this year.
A fan asks why Ernie Banks wasn’t more prominent at this convention. Kenney says they probably should have had a moment of silence.
Kenney and Faulkner talk a bit about digital ticketing. More fans seem to prefer digital tickets to standard paper tickets.
Season ticket holders will have a chance to purchase their old seats that have been removed and replaced. The Cubs will reach out to season ticket holders about this.
A fan asks about the increase in season ticket prices. Ticket prices stayed flat during the lean years. The goal is to put as many resources as possible into the Cubs three primary goals for the organization. They looked at data, talked to fans. It was a tough decision, but the right one.
The pavers that were removed are all being replaced. They are in place right now (but covered) and will be unveiled on opening day.
In the long run, the Cubs would like to close off Sheffield as a pedestrian mall like they do at Fenway. It’s not a high priority right now.
(Photo courtesy Chicago Cubs)
For Joe Maddon, the holiday season isn’t over quite yet. On Monday, the Cubs manager and his wife, Jaye, spent the afternoon shopping at a Jewel-Osco for food and ingredients he’ll use at his Thanksmas dinner at the Chicago Help Initiative Wednesday Dinner Program. The evening will kick off the annual Cubs Caravan Tour, which will take place throughout the community.
Maddon will prepare and serve a traditional home-cooked Italian dinner to 200 homeless community members. Cubs players and coaches will serve alongside the skipper to help raise awareness about Chicago’s homeless population.
Jewel-Osco graciously contributed $5,000 to Cubs Charities to help make this effort possible.