Archive for the ‘ Experience Wrigley Field ’ Category

Now Playing: Stretching Out with Chris Pratt

Few people had a better summer than Chris Pratt, who is currently preparing to host Saturday Night Live‘s season premiere tomorrow night. The affable actor seamlessly made the transition from television star on Parks and Recreation to silver screen action hero with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy. He also has a history with baseball (well, baseball acting), having played former Athletics infielder Scott Hatteberg in the movie Moneyball. We caught up with the 35-year-old at Wrigley Field in early September when he was in town shooting an episode of his sitcom.

Home Series No. 25 Preview: Cubs vs. Dodgers

Kershaw_seriespreview

Clayton Kershaw is one of the game’s best pitchers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Despite some inconsistencies and a lot of trade deadline rumors, the best team in the NL on paper has proven to be one of the best on the field as well. The Dodgers have dominant pieces both on offense and on the mound, and they should be well represented when baseball enters its awards season come November. However, the Dodgers clearly have higher goals, and a championship appears to be well within reach. Last year saw Los Angeles within two wins of its first World Series appearance since 1988. Given the dollars the Dodgers have thrown around, anything less is likely to be considered a failure.

PITCHING
(3.7 RA/G, 6TH IN NL)

Led by perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, the Dodgers’ staff is definitely formidable—even after losing a resurgent Josh Beckett to injury. Despite missing a large part of the early season, Clayton Kershaw (Friday’s starting pitcher) is back and a virtual lock for another Cy Young Award. Thursday’s starter Zack Greinke would be the ace of most rotations, but he seems to embrace the shadow cast by Kershaw’s limelight. Add in the consistent Hyun-Jin Ryu, who’s currently nursing shoulder soreness, and waiver wire pick-up and Saturday’s starter Roberto Hernandez, and Los Angeles looks primed to play deep into October.

HITTING
(4.2 RS/G, 4TH IN NL)

The Dodgers offense boasts an All-Star at almost every spot. Drama tends to follow Yasiel Puig off the field, but he’s well worth the trouble on the field given his unique skill set. But Puig, who has been struggling lately, isn’t alone in helping the Dodgers offense go. Matt Kemp is finally healthy and having an impact with the bat, and Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez—recently off the DL with a shoulder strain—are still dangerous hitters. Once an afterthought, Dee Gordon now has his OBP well above league average. Thanks to his elite speed, he’s a terror to contend with when he gets on base.

Final Homestand Promotions and Guests: 9/15/14-9/24/14

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The Final Cubs homestand will include Big Ten Rivalry Week.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time for the final homestand of the season. From Sept. 15-24, Charles Barkley, Joakim Noah, Larry King and more will help the Cubs welcome the Reds, Dodgers and Cardinals to town for a last hurrah. If you’re a fan of the Big Ten, this is the series for you, as the Cubs will be hosting Big Ten Rivalry Week games the entire homestand.

Here are the other guests and promotions you’ll find at the Friendly Confines during the 10-game set.

Final Homestand Recap, Sept. 15-24

Monday, Sept. 15, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Indiana vs. Purdue
  • First pitch: Shane Davis, Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball coach
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Members of the 2014 National Champion Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Sept. 16, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
  • First pitch: Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Famer and current analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Sept. 17, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Michigan vs. Ohio State
  • First pitch: Joakim Noah, All-Star Chicago Bulls center
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Thursday, Sept.18, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Healthcare Professionals Night
  • Pregame ceremony: Recipients of more than $330,000 in Diamond Project grants from Cubs Charities
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Big Ten Network’s BTN Live host Dave Revsine, analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Friday, Sept.19, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Travel Blanket presented by United Airlines (first 10,000 fans)
  • First pitch: Larry King, host of Larry King Now on Ora.TV
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Nick Digilio, Pete McMurray and Patti Vasquez, WGN Radio talents
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Saturday, Sept. 20, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 12:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Tumbler presented by Pepsi (first 10,000 fans)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: FOX-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Sunday, Sept. 21, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 1:20 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Maryland vs. Rutgers
  • Promotion: Lunch Tote presented by Jewel-Osco (first 5,000 children)
  • First pitches: Actors Jason Beghe and Eamonn Walker from Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Monday, Sept. 22, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Michigan State vs. Penn State
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Tom O’Reilly, Cubs Charities Bricks and Ivy Ball auction winner
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Sept. 23, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Iowa vs. Nebraska
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Tom Dreesen, comedian, Chicago native
  • Broadcast: WCIU-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Sept. 24, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Big Ten Rivalry Week, Illinois vs. Northwestern
  • Pregame ceremony: Military Take the Field
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Wrigley Field grounds crew
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Three-series homestand wraps up the 2014 home slate

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Wrigley Field will host the final homestand of its 100th birthday season from Sept. 15-24 as the Cubs take on Cincinnati, the Dodgers and St. Louis. Like in years past, the team will thank fans for their support throughout the season by giving away autographed baseballs in the stands before the season’s final home game on Wednesday, Sept. 24. The team will host fan appreciation giveaways on social media throughout the week as well.

On Friday, Sept. 19, the Cubs will pay tribute to longstanding radio partner WGN Radio before the game and during the seventh-inning stretch. WGN Radio aired Chicago’s first professional game on Oct. 1, 1924, when the Cubs and White Sox played the postseason City Series at then-Cubs Park. On April 14, 1925, WGN broadcast its first regular season Cubs game as Chicago beat Pittsburgh by an 8-2 margin. WGN carried the Cubs from 1924-43, then served as the exclusive radio home for the team from 1958-2014. The Cubs announced earlier this season WBBM 780-AM will be the team’s new flagship radio station beginning with the 2015 season. WBBM Radio had previously covered Cubs games at Wrigley Field from 1929-40.

Fans with tickets to the Cubs vs. Dodgers game on Saturday, Sept. 20, should note FOX has selected the game for their FOX Saturday Baseball Game of the Week broadcast. As a result, the game time has been moved from 3:05 p.m. CDT to 12:05 p.m. CDT. Gates will open two hours prior to first pitch.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, the Cubs and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will encourage fans to donate new and gently used baseball and softball equipment for the 10th annual equipment day collection benefiting The Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club. To date, more than 100,000 pieces of equipment and approximately $1.6 million in total monetary donations from this league-wide program have benefited organizations in need. Fans can bring their equipment to Gate D at Wrigley Field beginning at 11 a.m. CDT.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, recipients of more than $330,000 in Cubs Charities Diamond Project grants will be recognized pregame for their commitments to improving the quality and safety of local baseball fields throughout the Chicago area. These grants were announced last week in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago.

Cubs Charities and Bank of America will host a group of military members and their families for a pregame batting practice experience, player meet-and-greet and private dinner during the team’s final home game on Wednesday, Sept. 24. Fans can help salute these troops during a Military Take the Field pregame ceremony that evening.

Starting this homestand, the Cubs will begin metal detector screenings of fans entering Wrigley Field as part of a league-wide initiative to standardize security procedures at each major league ballpark. These security screenings are in addition to the current bag checks in place and will be uniform throughout the league during the 2015 season.

Promotional Giveaways:

Fans have the opportunity to collect several promotional items this homestand, beginning with a Cubs travel blanket for the first 10,000 fans on Friday, Sept. 19. The following afternoon, the first 10,000 fans can collect a Cubs tumbler. On Sunday, Sept. 21, the first 5,000 children 13-and-under will receive a lunch tote. The first 1,000 kids can run the bases postgame as well, weather permitting.

Special Events:
The team will host three special events, which offer fans a chance to attend a game with others who share the same interests along with an exclusive promotional item and fan experience. Big Ten Rivalry Week kicks off on Monday, Sept. 15, and matches heated rivals against each other for bragging rights and access to a ceremonial first pitch. Attendees will receive a Cubs shirt in the colors of their favorite Big Ten team. The lineup of Big Ten Rivalry Week matchups follows:

9/15: Indiana vs. Purdue
9/22: Michigan State vs. Penn State
9/16: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
9/23: Iowa vs. Nebraska
9/17: Michigan vs. Ohio State
9/24: Illinois vs. Northwestern
9/21: Maryland vs. Rutgers

On Thursday, Sept. 18, the Cubs look to recognize the outstanding patient care provided by the Chicago healthcare community at Healthcare Professionals Night. Doctors, nurses and hospital administrators are invited to join the team at this special event to receive an exclusive Cubs scrub top with the Wrigley Field 100 logo.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, guests from Historically Black Colleges and Universities are invited to participate in HBCU Day for a day of networking and fun. The school with the biggest turnout will win bragging rights and prizes at this inaugural event.

To receive each Special Event giveaway item, fans must purchase tickets through the dedicated Special Events page at cubs.com/specialevents.

Tickets remain available for the upcoming 10-game homestand at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).

Cubs unveil tentative 2015 schedule

The Cubs unveiled their tentative 2015 schedule Monday, with the team opening up at home against the Cardinals on Monday, April 6. It marks the first time since 2012, and just the fourth time in 14 years, the North Siders will open at home. The Cubs will square off with the AL Central in Interleague Play this year. They are slated to face the White Sox a total of six times (at Wrigley Field July 10-12, at U.S. Cellular on Aug. 14-16). The team is also scheduled to host two holiday games in 2015: Memorial Day on May 25 against Washington and the Fourth of July versus Miami. Please note that the schedule is subject to change at any time. Below is the tentative schedule:

April
4/6: St. Louis, 1:20
4/8: St. Louis, 7:05
4/9: St. Louis, 1:20
4/10: @Colorado
4/11: @Colorado
4/12: @Colorado
4/13: Cincinnati, 7:05
4/14: Cincinnati, 7:05
4/15: Cincinnati, 7:05
4/17: San Diego, 1:20
4/18: San Diego
4/19: San Diego
4/20: @Pittsburgh
4/21: @Pittsburgh
4/22: @Pittsburgh
4/23: @Pittsburgh
4/24: @Cincinnati
4/25: @Cincinnati
4/26: @Cincinnati
4/27: Pittsburgh, 7:05
4/28: Pittsburgh, 7:05
4/29: Pittsburgh, 7:05

May
5/1: Milwaukee, 1:20
5/2: Milwaukee
5/3: Milwaukee
5/4: @St. Louis
5/5: @St. Louis
5/6: @St. Louis
5/7: @St. Louis
5/8: @Milwaukee
5/9: @Milwaukee
5/10: @Milwaukee
5/11: New York (NL), 7:05
5/12: New York (NL), 7:05
5/13: New York (NL), 7:05
5/14: New York (NL), 1:20
5/15: Pittsburgh, 1:20
5/16: Pittsburgh
5/17: Pittsburgh
5/19: @San Diego
5/20: @San Diego
5/21: @San Diego
5/22: @Arizona
5/23: @Arizona
5/24: @Arizona
5/25: Washington, 1:20
5/26: Washington, 7:05
5/27: Washington, 7:05
5/29: Kansas City, 1:20
5/30: Kansas City
5/31: Kansas City

June
6/1: @Miami
6/2: @Miami
6/3: @Miami
6/4: @Washington
6/5: @Washington
6/6: @Washington
6/7: @Washington
6/9: @Detroit
6/10: @Detroit
6/11: Cincinnati, 7:05
6/12: Cincinnati, 3:05
6/13: Cincinnati
6/14: Cincinnati
6/15: Cleveland, 7:05
6/16: Cleveland, 7:05
6/17: @Cleveland
6/18: @Cleveland
6/19: @Minnesota
6/20: @Minnesota
6/21: @Minnesota
6/22: Los Angeles (NL), 7:05
6/23: Los Angeles (NL), 7:05
6/24: Los Angeles (NL), 7:05
6/25: Los Angeles (NL), 1:20
6/26: @St. Louis
6/27: @St. Louis
6/28: @St. Louis
6/30: @New York (NL)

July
7/1: @New York (NL)
7/2: @New York (NL)
7/3: Miami, 3:05
7/4: Miami
7/5: Miami
7/6: St. Louis, 7:05
7/7: St. Louis, 7:05
7/8: St. Louis, 7:05
7/10: Chicago (AL), 3:05
7/11: Chicago (AL)
7/12: Chicago (AL)
7/14: All-Star Game, @Cincinnati
7/17: @Atlanta
7/18: @Atlanta
7/19: @Atlanta
7/20: @Cincinnati
7/21: @Cincinnati
7/22: @Cincinnati
7/24: Philadelphia, 3:05
7/25: Philadelphia
7/26: Philadelphia
7/27: Colorado, 7:05
7/28: Colorado, 7:05
7/29: Colorado, 1:20
7/30: @Milwaukee
7/31: @Milwaukee

August
8/1: @Milwaukee
8/2: @Milwaukee
8/3: @ Pittsburgh
8/4: @ Pittsburgh
8/5: @ Pittsburgh
8/6: San Francisco, 7:05
8/7: San Francisco, 3:05
8/8: San Francisco
8/9: San Francisco
8/11: Milwaukee, 7:05
8/12: Milwaukee, 7:05
8/13: Milwaukee, 1:20
8/14: @Chicago (AL)
8/15: @Chicago (AL)
8/16: @Chicago (AL)
8/18: Detroit, 7:05
8/19: Detroit, 7:05
8/20: Atlanta, 7:05
8/21: Atlanta, 3:05
8/22: Atlanta
8/23: Atlanta
8/25: @San Francisco
8/26: @San Francisco
8/27: @San Francisco
8/28: @Los Angeles
8/29: @Los Angeles
8/30: @Los Angeles
8/31: Cincinnati, 7:05

September
9/1: Cincinnati, 7:05
9/2: Cincinnati, 1:20
9/4: Arizona, 1:20
9/5: Arizona
9/6: Arizona
9/7: @St. Louis
9/8: @St. Louis
9/9: @St. Louis
9/10: @Philadelphia
9/11: @Philadelphia
9/12: @Philadelphia
9/13: @Philadelphia
9/15: @Pittsburgh
9/16: @Pittsburgh
9/17: @Pittsburgh
9/18: St. Louis, 1:20
9/19: St. Louis
9/20: St. Louis
9/21: Milwaukee, 7:05
9/22: Milwaukee, 7:05
9/23: Milwaukee, 7:05
9/25: Pittsburgh, 1:20
9/26: Pittsburgh
9/27: Pittsburgh
9/29: @Cincinnati
9/30: @Cincinnati

October
10/1: @Cincinnati
10/2: @Milwaukee
10/3: @Milwaukee
10/4: @Milwaukee

Cubs recognize Clemente prior to Hispanic Heritage Month

Clemente

(Photo by Louis Requena/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente was an icon for the game of baseball for what he did both on and off the field. Prior to Friday’s game, the Cubs will kick off upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month with a tribute to the life of former Major Leaguer with a special on-field pregame recognition. His son Luis Clemente, members from Clemente High School and the cast from the Off-Broadway musical ‘Clemente: The Legend of 21’ will all be on hand.

Clemente, a Puerto Rican-born professional baseball player spent 18 seasons with the Pirates, winning four batting titles and 12 Gold Gloves. He was the first black Latino player inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after passing away in a tragic aviation accident en route to aid earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972. He was known for his baseball skills in right field and his charity work in Puerto Rico and Latin America.

The musical ‘Clemente: The Legend of 21’, now playing at NightBlue Performing Arts Company at Stage 773 through Sept. 14, celebrates the life of Clemente in the form of a “bio-musical” with a mix of Latin sounds and dance.

Members from the show will sing Friday’s National Anthem and lead the crowd in the seventh inning stretch with Luis Clemente.

Now Playing: The Cubs honor U.S. champion Jackie Robinson West Little League at Wrigley Field

Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West All-Stars, who claimed the U.S. Little League title and played in the Little League World Series against South Korea, joined the Cubs for Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Little League team enjoyed a day at Wrigley Field with teammates, coaches and their families. Before the game, Cubs players celebrated JRW’s accomplishments by wearing the Little League team’s home jerseys and ball caps during pregame routines.

JRW had a meet-and-greet with Cubs players, toured the clubhouse, was recognized in the pregame ceremony—which included the team’s coach, Darold Butler, throwing out the game’s ceremonial first pitch—and led the crowd in “Take me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch.

The Cubs-worn JRW jerseys and ball caps, along with two jerseys signed by the entire JRW team, will be up for auction through Cubs Charities at www.Cubs.com/auction. Bids for jerseys will start at $100, and hats will start at $45. All proceeds will benefit Jackie Robinson West Little League.

2000s Homestand Promotions and Guests: 9/1/14-9/7/14

Prior

Mark Prior and the Cubs celebrating after they clinched the 2003 NL Central Division. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The 2000s saw three first place finishes at Wrigley Field and dazzling performances from players like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Starting Monday, Sept. 1, the Cubs welcome the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates to town for a 2000s-themed celebration. Fans can relive the decade along with Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, Jon Lovitz and many more. And on Labor Day, the Cubs will celebrate the U.S. Little League Champion Jackie Robinson West All-Stars.

Here are the other guests and promotions you’ll find at the Friendly Confines during the six-game set.

2000s Homestand Recap, Sept. 1-7

Monday, Sept. 1 (Labor Day), Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 1:20 p.m.

  • Special Event: Salute to Armed Forces Day
  • Pregame recognition, first pitch, seventh-inning stretch: U.S. Little League Champion Jackie Robinson West All-Stars
  • Pregame ceremony: Salute to Armed Forces Day guests
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Sept. 2, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Gatorade Protein Bars (postgame distribution to 5,000 fans)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Jimy Sohns, lead singer of Chicago-native rock band The Shadows of Knight
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Sept. 3, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Special Event: Oktoberfest Celebration
  • Pregame performance: Jesse White Tumblers
  • First pitches: Actor Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation; Vicki Santo and Logan Burke, guest of Ron and Vicki Santo Diabetic Alert Dog Foundation
  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Friday, Sept. 5, Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Greg Maddux 3000th Strikeout Bobblehead presented by Bank of America (first 10,000 fans)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Cast members from the NightBlue Theatre show Clemente: The Legend of 21
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Saturday, Sept. 6, Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3:05 p.m.

  • First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: John Lovitz, actor and comedian
  • Broadcast: CSN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Sunday, Sept. 7, Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:20 p.m.

  • Throwback uniforms: 2008 home uniform
  • Promotion: 2000s Clark Build-a-Bear presented by Bank of America (first 5,000 children)
  • First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

For more information on Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday celebration, please visit www.wrigleyfield100.com.

 

The Cubs and Jackie Robinson West are in town to celebrate the 2000s

Maddux2006

Greg Maddux during the 2006 season. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs have excited baseball fans with their recent youth movement, but no youngsters wowed America quite like the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars. The Chicago South Side Little League team captivated the country last week, claiming the U.S. Little League title. The team will be on hand Monday to throw out the first pitch and sing the seventh-inning stretch on Labor Day as the Cubs kick off a six-game homestand against division rivals Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

All of those players on the JRW squad were born in the 2000s, the decade being celebrated on this homestand, as the Cubs continue to honor 100 years of Wrigley Field with decade-themed promotional giveaways, specialty food and beverage offerings, and entertainment. On Friday, Sept. 5, Hall of Famer Greg Maddux will be recognized with a 3000th Strikeout bobblehead for the first 10,000 fans. On Sunday, Sept. 7, the first 5,000 kids 13-and-under will receive a Clark the Cub Build-a-Bear Doll, and the first 1,000 kids can run the bases postgame.

The team will host two special events, which offer fans a chance to attend a game with others who share the same interests along with an exclusive promotional item and fan experience. Salute to Armed Forces Day is on Monday, Sept. 1, while the Cubs Oktoberfest Celebration is Wednesday, Sept. 3. A Special Event ticket is required to participate in each event.

Fans coming to the ballpark Monday through Wednesday also can take home a Hall of Famer’s autograph for a charitable cause. Fergie Jenkins will sign autographs from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Cubs Store across from Wrigley Field on Monday, Sept. 1, and inside Clark’s Clubhouse on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 2-3, from 6 p.m. until the sixth inning to raise money for the Ron and Vicki Santo Diabetic Alert Dog Foundation. Vicki Santo and Logan Burke, the first recipient of an alert dog from the foundation, will throw ceremonial first pitches on Sept. 3.

Special Event tickets for Salute to Armed Forces Day and Oktoberfest can be purchased at cubs.com/specialevents. General tickets for the Brewers and Pirates series remain available at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827). Highlights of the upcoming homestand include:

Throwback Uniforms:
On Sunday, Sept. 7, the Cubs will wear a modern uniform from 2008, when the team won the National League Central Division with an NL-best 97-64 record.

Promotional Giveaways:
The 2000s-themed homestand marks the final decade of this season’s Wrigley Field 100 Bobblehead Fridays and Retro Toy Sundays. On Friday, Sept. 5, Hall of Famer Greg Maddux will be recognized with a 3000th Strikeout bobblehead for the first 10,000 fans. On Sunday, Sept. 7, the first 5,000 kids 13-and-under will receive a Clark the Cubs Build-a-Bear Doll, and the first 1,000 kids can run the bases postgame as part of the team’s ongoing Kids Sundays. In addition to these promotions, Gatorade will offer free Gatorade Protein Bars to 5,000 fans following Tuesday’s game.

Special Events:
The Cubs are proud to salute the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As part of the Salute to Armed Forces Day ticket package for Monday, Sept. 1, fans will receive a commemorative Cubs military coin and can help honor veterans and members of the military in a special pregame ceremony.

Fans can grab their lederhosen and head to Wrigley Field to celebrate Oktoberfest in the Budweiser Bleachers on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Each Special Event Budweiser Bleacher ticket can be redeemed postgame for a special-edition Chicago Cubs Oktoberfest Boot Shaped Glass Mug.

To receive Special Event giveaway items, fans must purchase tickets through the dedicated cubs.com/specialevents page.

Specialty Food Offerings:
Levy Restaurants continues its decade-inspired menu at the Decade Diner, located inside Gate D near Section 142. The 2000s homestand features a Kraft Grilled Flatbread with Spanish chorizo, peppers and shredded Kraft Cheese, as well as an Asian Pork Burger topped with Asian slaw and served on a toasted Hawaiian bun.

The Decade Dogs stand near Section 123 is serving the most popular dog from the season’s previous homestands, which was the 1950s TV Dinner Dog with a Vienna Beef hot dog, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn on a hot dog bun.

Adults 21-and-over can enjoy a 2000s Playoff Punch cocktail on the main concourse at Section 109 and on the bleacher patio in left field. This Cosmopolitan-inspired punch is made with Smirnoff Orange Vodka, Monin Tiki Blend, cranberry and lime juice.

Historic Moments:
The Chicago Cubs made three playoff appearances during the 2000s (2003, 2007-08) and recognized several of the team’s most important alumni, including Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux and Ron Santo.

On Sept. 27, 2003, the Cubs swept the Pirates in a doubleheader to clinch the NL Central. The team retired the No. 10 jersey in honor of Ron Santo the next day. In his speech, Santo said, “This is my Hall of Fame.” He would later be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously.

On July 26, 2005, Greg Maddux struck out Omar Vizquel for his 3,000th career strikeout. The No. 31 jersey number he shared with Fergie Jenkins was retired May 3, 2009, in their honor.

During Labor Day weekend in 2005, Jimmy Buffett turned the Friendly Confines into Margaritaville, selling out two shows inside the ballpark.

On March 31, 2008, the Cubs unveiled a statue of Hall of Fame infielder Ernie Banks at the corner of Clark and Addison streets. The Cubs also returned to the postseason for the second-straight year, clinching the division title by defeating the rival Cardinals 5-4 on Sept. 20 in Chicago. Wrigley Field established an attendance record in 2008, as 3,300,200 fans attended 81 regular season home games.

On July 29, 2008, The “Road to Wrigley” Game featured the Cubs’ Class-A Peoria Chiefs, managed by Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, vs. the Kane County Cougars. The game drew 32,103 fans.

On New Year’s Day of 2009, for the first time in park history, professional hockey came to Wrigley Field, as the Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL Winter Classic.

On Oct. 28, 2009, the Ricketts family completed its purchase of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field from the Tribune Company.

To learn more about these historic moments and others, visit wrigleyfield100.com.

From the Pages of Vine Line: The Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field

Bears

The following can be found in the August issue of Vine Line.

Playing football at Wrigley Field always presented its fair share of challenges. First, there were the shorter-than-regulation end zones and the wooden boards covering the Cubs’ dugout entrances. Add in the tilted field, mercilessly beaten-up turf, tiny locker rooms and other quirks, and the gameday experience was far from perfect.

But that didn’t stop the Chicago Bears, one of the most storied franchises in football history, from calling the Friendly Confines home for a half century. Legendary players, from Dick Butkus to Mike Ditka to Gale Sayers, all graced the field, and the Bears brought the beloved stadium its most recent championship in 1963. If anything, the now-100-year-old ballpark’s quirks only added to the lore.

Of course, the substandard field conditions didn’t faze Butkus. The rough and rugged Hall of Fame linebacker said he enjoyed playing at Wrigley Field more than at Soldier Field, where the Bears moved on a permanent basis in 1971, during the latter stages of his career.
The Bears legend recalled an episode during his rookie season in which he was sitting in the crowded clubhouse awaiting instructions on the next day’s opponent, but couldn’t hear a word coach George Halas was saying.

“I don’t know what the deal was, but all the veterans would bring their dogs to practice and have them in the room there,” Butkus said. “The old man’s trying to talk, and the dogs are barking, and I’m thinking, ‘Jesus.’ One had a pit bull. [Ed O’Bradovich] had a Great Dane. But to me, that was the pros.”

Welcome to football at Wrigley Field. It might not have been the ideal situation, but it was never dull.

* * * *
Back when football was first played at Weeghman Park—as the stadium on Clark and Addison was known at the time—it wasn’t really done with the fans in mind. Getting spectators into the stadium was obviously a priority, but the new sport was primarily concerned with finding its footing in the muddy ground of expansionism. Football games were played at Weeghman simply because teams needed a venue, and the park’s owners felt it would be a good way to make a little extra cash. The stadium was sitting dormant for half the year anyway.

But the baseball-first facility presented a number of challenges when it came to laying out a 100-yard football pitch without risking player safety—especially after the renovation that added an outfield wall and reshaped the bleachers in 1937.

The field ran north and south from left field to behind home plate. The north end zone ended just 18 inches in front of the solid brick left-field wall, while the southeast corner of the south end zone extended into the first-base dugout. To even out the surface, the grounds crew filled the dugout steps with sand. This also meant that corner of the end zone was smaller than the regulation 10 yards.

These hazards might sound ridiculous given the way the modern game is played, but according to Cubs historian Ed Hartig, there were hardly gifted wide receivers, let alone fade routes leading players into the corners of the end zones, during that era.

“Back then, it was supposed to be a running game,” Hartig said. “You didn’t run to the back of the end zone to make a catch. This is a time when the goalposts were still on the goal line.”

* * * *
In the ballpark’s early football days, it mainly drew high school, military and semipro squads. Sometimes as many as four games per day were scheduled on the field. Starting in 1919, independent teams like the Hammond All-Star Football Club, which signed a six-game lease, wanted to test the sport’s popularity in the city.

With a roster that included players like Olympic great Jim Thorpe and Northwestern standout Paddy Driscoll, the Hammond squad managed to draw upward of 10,000 fans at some games that season. The potential of the new sport sparked the interest of a few more Chicago-based teams and quickly led the Decatur Staleys to the city’s North Side.

In 1920, former University of Illinois standout George Halas was put in charge of a company football team funded by food starch conglomerate owner A.E. Staley. In his inaugural season at the helm, Halas came up from Decatur to play a few neutral-site games and then led his Staleys to a de facto championship game at Cubs Park, where the team battled the Akron Steel to a 0-0 tie in front of 12,000 fans.
Halas believed the game might have an audience in Chicago, and, coincidentally, Staley was looking for an out.

“After a couple years, Mr. Staley said, ‘We’re a starch company. We’re not a sports team,’” Hartig said. “‘I can’t keep supporting [the team]. I will for one more year, if you can get an opportunity to find your own supporters.’”

With the temporary backing of Staley, Halas took the team from central Illinois to the big city in 1921 and quickly found a home—albeit one with a field that fell a few yards shy of regulation. Halas reached out to Cubs President and Treasurer Bill Veeck Sr. about using Cubs Park.
The two sides reached a handshake one-year agreement in just minutes. The Cubs received 15 percent of the gate (20 percent when the receipts exceeded $10,000) and the concessions, while the Staleys retained all rights to the game programs. According to the coach’s autobiography, Halas by Halas, the deal would remain unchanged for the remainder of the partnership.

“The deal they got at Wrigley in terms of concessions and that type of stuff was very, very favorable to the team,” Hartig said. “The Wrigleys weren’t looking to make a big amount of money off the Bears.”

In conjunction with the move, the team was renamed the Chicago Staleys. One year later, with the contractual obligation completed between Staley and Halas, the new owner changed the moniker to the Chicago Bears, noting that his football players were larger than the Cubs baseball players with whom they shared the stadium.

The Bears would call Wrigley Field home for the next 50 years, enjoying seven NFL titles, franchise-defining superstars and incredible individual performances. The field conditions were rarely pristine due to the team’s heavy practice load—the grass was usually gone so the team would paint the playing surface green—but some former players wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Even though it was a baseball field, I just felt it was great playing there because that was the essence of being a pro,” said Butkus, who called Wrigley home from 1965-70. “A pro should be able to play at a prairie on the South Side if need be.”

Off the field, the locker rooms were also far from ideal. The Cubs clubhouse back then was a smaller version of the cramped quarters the North Siders call home today. But imagine that room with more people, bigger pads and larger human beings. Butkus joked the rooms were probably too small for a basketball team. Still, he believed it was a better situation than what the visiting teams had to deal with.

“I don’t think they were too happy with the field when they played here,” Butkus said. “I really don’t think the opposing team liked walking down from their locker room, with those screens there [and] with everybody yelling and throwing [stuff] at them.”
That’s home-field advantage at its Chicago best.

* * * *
Despite the stadium’s shortcomings, there was no shortage of great play on the field. One of the best individual performances in NFL history occurred at the Friendly Confines on Dec. 12, 1965, when Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers tied an NFL record with six touchdowns in a single game. All day long, he wove in and out of a hapless 49ers defense that had a difficult time keeping its footing in the heavy mud.

“It was my game, it’s as simple as that,” Sayers said. “I’ve always said, and I’ll continue to say, ‘God gave me a gift to go out there and run with the football,’ and that’s what I did. I probably could have scored 10 touchdowns that day, but, hey, the time ran out. It’s just a day that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Another notable performance on the Wrigley Field turf occurred in December 1963, when the Bears—led by quarterback Billy Wade and standout tight end Mike Ditka—wrapped up the NFL championship with a 14-10 win over the Giants. It marked the last time a Chicago team claimed a title at Wrigley Field.

Eventually, as the game grew, football became too big for the cozy confines of a baseball stadium. Attendance continued to soar, and the small ballpark was unable to expand to meet demand. In 1970, it was announced that the next fall’s season would be the last at the facility. While Wrigley Field generally held slightly less than 37,000 fans for baseball, the Bears drew at least 40,000 to each of their final 56 games there, a stretch that began on Dec. 16, 1962.

“There are a couple of reasons why they left,” Hartig explained. “The NFL wanted bigger stadiums, and the park just couldn’t do it. In addition, the NFL … got more into television coverage. They wanted cameras in the end zone, and there wasn’t really room for it [at Wrigley Field]. And the end zone was dangerous.”

On May 13, 1971, the Bears announced Soldier Field would become the organization’s new home. The bigger stadium held 52,000 fans—8,000 more than Wrigley held at capacity—and was much more prepared for the NFL’s massive growth. Despite the new venue, it wasn’t a hit with all the players.

“I really enjoyed playing [at Wrigley Field]. I thought it was better than going to Soldier Field the first couple years,” said Butkus, who spent three seasons at the Bears’ current home. “They put in the damn Astroturf, and in the locker room over there, you can see the beams holding up the stadium. It was ready to cave in at any moment, it looked like.”

The Bears have long had a reputation as a gritty, smashmouth football team. And while Soldier Field is packed with its own history, much of the dirt and grit that defined the organization’s early years first manifested at the corner of Clark and Addison.

“I enjoyed playing here at Wrigley Field,” Sayers said. “I’ve always said it was 50 yards wide and 100 yards long, and that’s all I needed.”

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