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.
Cubs Charities launched the Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge, a program and contest designed to get kids in the Chicagoland area active, beginning today and running through Dec. 1. The Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge was inspired by the success of the Cubs on the Move Fitness Program in motivating kids in Chicago to play every day. The program has been developed for Cubs Charities through By Kids For Kids (BKFK).
The Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge aims to provide educators with resources to promote physical activity in the classroom while empowering kids ages 5-13 in the Chicago area to develop ideas to keep themselves, their schools and their communities active for healthy bodies and minds. Details about the educational program and contest, as well as teacher guides, program flyers and activity materials, can be downloaded at cubs.com/onthemovechallenge.
The program includes a contest encouraging teachers to log minutes spent on physical activity in the classroom, as well as an individual competition to bring out the best ideas from students to promote physical fitness at their schools. Prizes include tickets to a Cubs game with on-field recognition, a Cubs Fitness Ambassadorship and Cubs on the Move Fitness Assemblies for schools.
“We’re proud to introduce the Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge and excited to see kids across the Chicago area participate,” said Cubs Executive Vice President of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano. “Cubs Charities promotes improvements in health, fitness and education. By encouraging students to participate and providing educators and parents with resources to promote the value of physical exercise, we hope to help improve physical activity and performance inside and outside the classroom.”
The program was introduced to students, teachers and media at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Lakeview Monday morning. Cubs catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber and Clark, the Cubs’ mascot, joined a fourth grade class at Hawthorne Academy in a “Catch a Break” exercise designed to keep students active with various baseball exercises.
School officials and Cubs Charities also celebrated the completion of the school’s new fitness center, funded by a grant from Cubs Charities and decorated with paint provided by the team’s corporate partner, Benjamin Moore.
Pearl Jam frontman and rock icon Eddie Vedder will take the stage at the fourth annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert on July 9 at Wrigleyville’s Metro. Vedder will join Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons and Chicago Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper as part of the all-star music lineup at the annual event celebrating music, baseball and charitable giving.
“We are thrilled and honored Eddie Vedder has volunteered to play the show and help raise money for deserving nonprofits in Chicago,” said Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations and Foundation To Be Named Later co-founder Theo Epstein. “Hot Stove Cool Music revolves around the power of music, baseball and community involvement. There’s no better person to represent that spirit than Eddie. He’s a rock legend, a tried-and-true Cubs fan and he has a tremendous heart. It will be a memorable night for everyone.”
The fundraiser will feature ensemble performances by Chicago and Boston rockers including John Stirratt (Wilco), Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Jennifer Hall, Matt Spiegel and Curt Morrison (Tributosaurus), Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Mysteries of Life), Jake Smith (Mysteries of Life), Gerald Dowd, Jason Narducy (Split Single, Bob Mould), Brendan Bayliss (Umphrey’s McGee), Will Dailey, Chris Cote, Phil Aiken, Paul Ahlstrand and more. WXRT’s Lin Brehmer, actor Joel Murray and actor/comedian Mike O’Malley will serve as the evening’s emcees.
A limited amount of general admission tickets will be released today at noon. Tickets will be available for $75 online at www.metrochicago.com or in person at the Metro box office located at 3730 N. Clark St. There will be no service fees for cash purchases at the Metro box office. VIP tickets can also be purchased online at www.metrochicago.com.
Proceeds benefit Cubs Charities and Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL). Both nonprofit organizations share the same mission to help underserved youth in Chicago.
Music and baseball will be in the same lineup again at Wrigleyville’s Metro on July 9, when Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper join an all-star lineup of musicians and personalities for the fourth annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert. The annual event celebrates music, baseball and giving back.
Benefiting Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL), the fundraiser will feature ensemble performances by a special guest “headliner to be named later” (at the headliner’s request) and noted rockers from Chicago and Boston. The lineup includes Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins), John Stirratt (Wilco), Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Jennifer Hall, Matt Spiegel and Curt Morrison (Tributosaurus), Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Mysteries of Life), Jake Smith (Mysteries of Life), Gerald Dowd, Jason Narducy (Split Single, Bob Mould) and more. Epstein, Gammons and Kasper also will perform with the bands. WXRT’s Lin Brehmer, actor Joel Murray and actor/comedian Mike O’Malley will serve as the evening’s emcees.
“The foundation is grateful for the incredible generosity of the musicians, sponsors and fans who dedicate their time, effort, energy and, most importantly, their passion to help us provide opportunities for Chicago youth by supporting the organizations that work tirelessly as their advocates,” said FTBNL co-founder Theo Epstein. “We’ve collectively raised more than $6 million and look forward to increasing that total this year through another great night of music, baseball and giving back.”
Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 22, at noon CST. General admission tickets are $75, and there will be no service fees for cash purchases. Fans can buy tickets online at metrochicago.com or in person at the Metro Box Office located at 3730 N. Clark St. VIP tickets also will be available at ftbnl.org.
In addition to the all-star music lineup, the evening will include several special guests as well as live and silent auctions featuring signed sports memorabilia and priceless entertainment experiences.
Nonprofit beneficiaries include Chicago Children’s Choir, Chicago Wapiti RFC, City Year Chicago, Family Reach Foundation, Garfield Park Little League, Girls in the Game, Jackie Robinson West, Marwen, Special Olympics and South Chicago Arts Center.
For more information on Foundation To Be Named Later programs and events, or to make a donation, please visit foundationtobenamedlater.org.
Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts and All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro present a check to Union League Boys and Girls Club President and CEO Mary Ann Mahon-Huels and RBI commissioner Emilia Nichols. (Photo courtesy Chicago Cubs)
The Cubs 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 on Wednesday. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Cubs Care, a McCormick Foundation Fund, through which more than $20 million has been donated to Chicago nonprofit organizations since its inception. The luncheon marks the 11th consecutive year more than $1 million has been donated to Chicago communities through Cubs Care. Cubs Care grants help organizations to provide youth health and wellness programs and education programs.
“We’re proud to achieve this milestone as we celebrate 25 years of giving and partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts. “Our annual Cubs Care grants provide necessary resources for Chicago nonprofits to make an impact in the lives of children and families in our community.”
“Chicago is filled with passionate fans and caring neighbors,” said David Hiller, president and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “For the last 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.”
Among the beneficiaries of Cubs Care since its inception 25 years ago is the Chicago Park District, which has received more than $6.5 million dollars for its programs across the city. The Chicago Park District provides safe and beautifully maintained parks and facilities as well as recreation and leisure opportunities for children and families in Chicago.
“We are grateful to Cubs Care for 25 years of supporting our programs and capital projects,” said Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Park District general superintendent and CEO. “From Cubs Care Rookie League, inner city youth baseball, programming for athletes with special needs and new fields and playgrounds, Cubs Care has constantly been there, impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicago youth.”
Events such as the Bricks and Ivy Ball, Race to Wrigley Charity Run and Catch in the Confines, along with activities such as the Cubs Convention, personal scoreboard messages and contributions from Cubs players and fans, have helped raise funds for Cubs Care grants since 1991.
This season, the Cubs will debut a new twist on an old tradition. After each Cubs win at Wrigley Field, the team will keep the Wintrust “W” lit above the new video board once the ballpark lights turn off.
Though the left-field video board is definitely new, the concept of keeping a blue light shining after Cubs wins is not. During the major renovation of 1937, when the team constructed the modern-style bleachers and scoreboard and planted the ivy, the idea came about to install two lights atop the scoreboard along with the W and L flags. That way, commuters on the El would still be able to tell if the Cubs won or lost even after it got dark and it was no longer possible to see the flags.
The Cubs installed a blue light on the third-base side of the scoreboard to be lit following wins and a white light on first-base side for losses. More than 75 years later, those lights were still being used.
To continue to preserve this history while utilizing Wrigley Field’s newest assets to their best effect, the Cubs will have a new tradition following Cubs wins. Long after “Go, Cubs, Go” has finished playing and the crowds have poured back out into Wrigleyville, the blue W in the Wintrust logo atop the video board will keep fans and commuters posted on the fate of their beloved Cubs. Watch for it all season at the Friendly Confines.
The Cubs announced Monday that the organization and its fans will help those affected by tornadoes that swept through Fairdale and Rochelle, Illinois, last week, during Tuesday night’s game against the Reds.
Cubs associates will collect monetary donations at the gates at Wrigley Field before the start of the game. Money raised during the evening will benefit the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a campaign of the McCormick Foundation to support nonprofit agencies providing disaster relief and recovery efforts to those communities hit hardest by the tornadoes.
Proceeds from the night’s Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle also will benefit the cause.
The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a campaign of the McCormick Foundation, supports nonprofit agencies providing disaster relief and recovery efforts to those communities hit hardest by the tornadoes. The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar. All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100 percent of all funds raised, plus the match, to be granted directly to nonprofit organizations helping those most affected by the storm.
Fans who cannot attend the game but would like to make a donation to the tornado disaster relief effort can give through Sunday, April 19, by visiting cubs.com/give.
On Wednesday night, guests gathered at Union Station to show their support for Cubs Charities at the fifth annual Bricks and Ivy Ball. The evening featured the 2015 Chicago Cubs team and coaching staff mingling with more than 700 guests in attendance and collected more than $1.35 million to support Cubs Charities’ programs.
“Each year, we look forward to our Bricks and Ivy Ball as a way to celebrate the impact Cubs Charities is making in communities all across Chicago,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts. “We are proud of the success of this event over the last five years. The support from our fans, corporate Chicago, and our coaches, players and front office help to fuel our community outreach and charitable giving. Together, we are creating a brighter future for Chicago’s next generation of all-stars.”
Cubs Charities sponsors three ongoing 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 offers quality scholarship and financial contributions for Chicago area high school students, coupled with a program that promotes academic achievement and encourages post-secondary educational advancement.
Last year, the Cubs and Cubs Charities combined to support donations of more than $4.5 million in addition to giving thousands of autographed items, experiences and tickets to deserving nonprofit organizations. For more information, please visit www.cubscharities.org.