(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Chicago Cubs and Northwestern University Athletics announced a historic partnership on Tuesday that will bring football back to Wrigley Field for the first time since Northwestern and Illinois squared off in 2010. The multiyear, innovative event and reciprocal marketing partnership will showcase a wide range of Wildcats athletic programs—including baseball, lacrosse and five Northwestern football games—at historic Wrigley Field in the coming years.
“We are thrilled to partner with a professional sports franchise as iconic as the Chicago Cubs in an agreement that truly is the first of its kind,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern University vice president for athletics and recreation. “As Chicago’s Big Ten team, this is a natural fit that will create tremendous opportunities for our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans in the area.”
As part of the partnership, the Friendly Confines will potentially serve as a home venue for many of Northwestern’s 19 varsity programs over the coming years. Two sports programs have set tentative dates to kick off the partnership. On April 20, Northwestern baseball will host the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten matchup. In spring 2014, the Wildcats’ women’s lacrosse team, winner of seven of the last eight NCAA championships under head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, plans to host regional rival Notre Dame.
According to Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney, all profits from these events will go back into the Cubs baseball operations. The dates of the five football games are yet to be determined, as Big Ten schedules are being reworked due to the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. The restoration of Wrigley Field is also a factor.
“To do this on a consistent basis, we have to have a renovation of the park so that the field fits the right way,” said Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. “But we’ve anticipated that in our designs, and we look forward to making sure we get the right renovations in so we can hold a [football] game every year.”
(Photo by Stephen Green)
After months of rumors and a day full of hints, Pearl Jam announced it will be playing a show at Wrigley Field on July 19. The confirmation, “IT’S OFFICIAL: Pearl Jam will be playing at Wrigley Field. Will you be there?” was displayed on the band’s Twitter page, and the news was also posted on the Wrigley marquee Wednesday morning.
Tickets go on sale Feb. 9 at 10 a.m., according to Live Nation, the concert promoter. They will be available at tickets.com or by calling 1-800-THE-CUBS.
On Tuesday, both the Cubs and Pearl Jam spent most of the day hinting about a big announcement. Both tweeted a picture of a concert stage on the field at Wrigley. The Cubs sent a a tweet that said “Ten” (the title of Pearl Jam’s first album) and sent out a link to a photo of Ron Santo’s No. 10 jersey.
Lead singer Eddie Vedder was born in nearby Evanston, Ill., and is a diehard Cubs fan. A friend of former pitcher Kerry Wood, the singer-songwriter has thrown out the first pitch and sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” numerous times at Wrigley Field.
Pearl Jam has sold 31.5 million records in the United States and more than 60 million worldwide.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The first snow of the season is due tonight in Chicago. Ernie’s ready. Are you?
Actor, director and musician Gary Sinise was born on the South Side of Chicago, but that didn’t stop him from rooting for the Cubs teams of his youth—teams that featured greats like Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Fergie Jenkins. The Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, who now stars in CSI: NY, never misses a chance to visit Wrigley Field and definitely knows how to fire up the crowd with a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
To read the full interview, pick up the December issue of Vine Line, featuring the Cubs 2012 season in review, on sale now at Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line, the official magazine of the Chicago Cubs, for just $29.95.
Say goodbye to Len and Bob, and say hello to Len and JD. The Cubs welcomed new television analyst and former major league pitcher Jim Deshaies to the broadcast booth Wednesday morning in a press conference at Wrigley Field’s United Club. Deshaies, who recently completed his 16th season as an analyst for the Astros, said it was hard to leave Houston but that he couldn’t turn down what he considers the best broadcasting job in baseball.
“It’s going to be so much fun to be in a city where baseball matters no matter how the team is doing,’’ Deshaies said. “This place is a baseball-mad environment. The Astro guy had a hard time leaving Houston, but the baseball guy said this is the place to be.”
Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney and play-by-play announcer Len Kasper helped the team welcome TV analyst Jim Deshaies to the Friendly Confines Wednesday morning. Deshaies, a 12-year major league pitcher who spent seven seasons with the Houston Astros, retired from the game in 1995. Two years later, he became the TV analyst for the Astros, a position he held until signing with the Cubs earlier this week.
In the press conference Wednesday, he noted how difficult it was to leave Houston but how excited he is for his new role.
“A lot of good people down there, so it was tough to leave. You don’t leave that situation easily,” Deshaies said. “You leave it when you get the best opportunity that there is in the game for guys that do what I do. And I’ve received a lot of messages from colleagues, who work for other clubs or I’ve worked with in the past, and frankly they’re really, really jealous.”
The 52-year-old Deshaies replaces Bob Brenly, who left to become the TV analyst for the Diamondbacks after eight seasons with the Cubs. Kasper and Brenly were known to have a strong relationship in the booth and were well liked by fans. While Deshaies and Kasper haven’t previously worked together, they have spent plenty of time getting to know each other around the majors.
“I think Lenny and I are going to have a blast,” Deshaies said. “I’ve gotten to know Len over the years because of our time together in the National League. We’ve spent a lot of time in the press lounge, sharing meals, swapping stories, talking about the game.”
Having spent more than 25 years visiting Wrigley Field as a player and analyst, the former starting pitcher understands the magnitude of his new position and is excited to get the season started.
“The Astro guy had a tough time leaving Houston, but the baseball guy says this is the place to be.”
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Monday night, WGN-TV and the Chicago Cubs announced that former Houston Astros broadcaster Jim Deshaies has agreed to a four-year contract to join Len Kasper in the booth as the television analyst for Cubs broadcasts on WGN-TV, Comcast SportsNet and WCIU-TV.
Deshaies, who pitched 12 years in the major leagues and seven with the Astros, joins the Cubs broadcast team after serving as an analyst for Houston since 1997.
“After spending the last 16 seasons with the Houston Astros, it will be a very tough organization and fan base to leave. However, I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather move than with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field,” Deshaies said. “My family and I look forward to meeting the great, passionate fans of the Cubs and we’re excited at what lies ahead in Chicago.”
Deshaies has a good reputation in the business as a strong analyst with a good wit, similar to former announcer Bob Brenly. Although Deshaies has no direct ties to the Cubs organization, he did announce for a former division rival, which means he is very familiar with the team.
“We’re very fortunate, along with our fan base, to welcome Jim as the next television analyst of the Chicago Cubs,” said Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations. “Jim expressed an incredible appreciation for Cubs baseball, the history of Wrigley Field, the strength of our fan base, his predecessors in the broadcast booth and [wanted the] opportunity to carry the tradition forward. He is a student of the game who incorporates his firsthand knowledge, stories and humor into the broadcast, and we’re excited to see him in the booth with Len.”
The Cubs kicked off the holiday season in fine fashion on Friday with the second annual lighting of the holiday tree and the grand opening of the Rink at Wrigley. Hundreds of fans were on hand to watch Tom and Todd Ricketts, David and Kim DeJesus, Fergie Jenkins, Congressman Mike Quigley and many others light the 30-foot tree, which is located in front of the famous Wrigley Field marquee. Chicago Cubs Charities and WGN also kicked off a toy drive at Wrigley. All presents will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
A unique view of Wrigley Field from inside the iconic scoreboard. This is another shot that didn’t make it into our 2012 photos of the year feature in the December issue of Vine Line. All month, we’ll be posting some of the extras here on the blog.
This year, Chicago Cubs Charities is doing its part to make the holidays a little brighter.
The Cubs will kick off the holiday season with a daylong celebration, culminating in the lighting of the Cubs Holiday Tree, on Friday, Nov. 30. The WGN Morning Show will also produce a live broadcast from Wrigley Field to launch the WGN Morning News Drive-Thru Toy Drive.
Fans can help support needy children during the holidays by bringing an unwrapped gift to the administrative entrance at Wrigley Field, Nov. 25 through Nov. 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All fans who donate a toy will receive a pass for one free skating session at the Rink at Wrigley during the 2012-13 skating season. Toys will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
This marks the second year the Cubs have held a Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony under the famed Wrigley Field marquee. David DeJesus and his family will be on hand to help light the tree, and the celebration will feature photos with Santa, free hot chocolate and ice skating. The tree was designed by Christy Webber Landscapes.
Also, for the fourth consecutive year, an ice skating rink outside the Friendly Confines will welcome skaters this winter thanks to the generosity of the Ricketts family and Chicago Cubs Charities. The full-size rink will be available in the Cubs’ parking lot at the corner of Clark and Waveland through March 3, 2013. The Rink at Wrigley is sponsored by the Ricketts family and the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs Charities, the Chicago Park District, Westrec Marinas, Christy Webber Landscapes and the Central Lakeview Merchants Association.
The rink is open Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child Monday through Thursday, and $10 per adult and $6 per child Friday through Sunday. Season passes are available for $60.