On April 23, 1914, a new and thoroughly modern ballpark opened up on Chicago’s North Side. When the gates were flung wide on the Federal League’s crown jewel, Weeghman Park, fans were treated to their first look at a beautiful steel and brick structure that was designed to stand the test of time. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t need a little help.
Over the last 100 years, the iconic ballpark at the corner of Clark and Addison has gone through countless enhancements, modernizations and expansions. The game moves fast, and major league teams need to keep pace. In 1914, Weeghman Park had only one level, the press box was on the roof, and the facility seated just north of 14,000 people. Not much of that would fly today.
Since then, Wrigley Field has been updated with everything from a second deck, to a hand-operated scoreboard, to new bleachers, to stadium lights, to an improved field drainage system, to a right-field video board. At every step along the way, the Friendly Confines has retained its charm and feel—and has been better off for the additions. A ballpark doesn’t get to be 100 years old without evolving to meet the demands of its sport.
There are pros and cons about playing in a landmark, century-old facility. On the plus side, there is no more beautiful place to watch a Major League Baseball game than the Friendly Confines, from the bricks and ivy of the outfield wall to being ensconced in a thriving urban neighborhood. But there are things the park is missing too, from both a fan and player perspective.
Most fans wouldn’t argue with more and better food options or a few extra restrooms here and there. The players could use a larger clubhouse facility, a better strength and conditioning center, and underground batting tunnels to use during games. And the front office would love additional revenue from things like new video boards and advertising to help keep the Cubs competitive for the foreseeable future.
Every other team in the fiercely competitive NL Central has opened a new facility since 2001, and, make no mistake, they all have these things.
This offseason begins the next, and most ambitious, step in the evolution of Wrigley Field. Over the next four years, the Cubs plan to preserve the beauty and historic features fans have cherished about the ballpark for decades while updating and improving the gameday experience for everyone.
In Vine Line‘s November issue, we get a first look at The 1060 Project and how the plan will come together between now and 2018. We talked to the people who are making the restoration happen, from Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein to the project team, so fans know what to expect as the ballpark is enhanced.
“Wrigley has a very special vibe,” Ricketts said. “It’s a special place. We respect that. We think we understand what makes it so special, and all the things that people associate with this beautiful ballpark will be preserved. It will just have better amenities and better services and more information.”
We also jump into the 2014-15 offseason along with the Cubs players. After more than seven months of continuous routine and rigorous training, it’s an unusual experience for them to suddenly have so much free time on their hands. We stopped by the clubhouse in the season’s final days to find out how the Cubs handle the transition to the offseason.
Finally, for our monthly Wrigley 100 feature, we look back at one of the most beloved Cubs figures of all time, Harry Caray. The legendary broadcaster and Hall of Famer died in 1998, but he more than left his mark on the franchise in his 16 years in (and out) of the booth.
We’ll spend this offseason keeping you up-to-date on all the details of The 1060 Project in the pages of Vine Line, on the Web and on Twitter at @cubsvineline. Here’s to the next 100 years at Wrigley Field.
Have you ever dreamed of climbing inside the iconic Wrigley Field manual scoreboard? While you may never get the chance to turn one of the steel plates yourself, we give you the next best thing. For the October issue of Vine Line, we took a guided tour of the landmark structure with the people who work inside it 81 times per season.
The accompanying article can be found in the October issue of Vine Line.
Photo by Stephen Green
Thirty years ago this month, the Cubs played in their first postseason series in nearly four decades. In the October issue of Vine Line, we look back at a game during that season that gave the organization the spark it needed to reach the playoffs.
Impressive single-game performances by unproven players should generally be taken with a grain of salt. Over a long season, even the most below-average hitter or spottiest of spot starters occasionally has his day. Mario Mendoza, whose name is synonymous with offensive mediocrity, had one four-hit game in his major league career.
Sometimes, though, there is a perfect storm of circumstances that make a single-game performance stand out above the 162-game grind—a performance that launches a Hall of Fame career and helps define a player’s legacy.
On June 23, 1984, Ryne Sandberg had such a performance. His 5-for-6, seven-RBI outburst certainly looks impressive on paper, but his day was about much more than the stat sheet.
Start with the fact that he took the game’s elite closer deep twice, tying the game in both the ninth and 10th innings. Throw in the setting (a beautiful Saturday at Wrigley Field) and the matchup (an afternoon showdown against the NL East rival Cardinals). Consider the game’s viewership as NBC’s nationally televised Game of the Week. Finally, pile on the fame it brought Sandberg, the playoff boost it gave a struggling organization, and the sustained steady bump in attendance at Wrigley Field, and the Sandberg Game was a seminal moment in both his career and in the enduring popularity of the Chicago Cubs.
* * * *
“While the performance was great, the reason it resonates was that the context was so different,” said broadcaster Bob Costas, who was in his third year on NBC’s baseball broadcast team when he called the Sandberg Game in 1984.
The broadcast landscape was dramatically different in the mid-1980s. Sports on TV were not the 24-hour, 365-day-a-year industry they are today, and cable had not yet taken hold, so most viewers had limited options when it came to what they watched. The National Game of the Week on NBC was a big deal to both baseball and its fans. Every Saturday, the network arranged a premier game to be broadcast in an afternoon time slot, which meant it was often the only matchup going, as most clubs played their weekend games at night.
“The Game of the Week really was the Game of the Week then,” said Costas, who admitted the Sandberg Game was his favorite regular season broadcast of his illustrious career. “No matter how well a game is telecast today, there’s no one game outside of the postseason that rivets everyone’s attention.”
This combination of factors lent Wrigley Field a Monday Night Football-type atmosphere, with a huge audience tuning in and ratings reaching as high as 10, a number today’s postseason games struggle to match. Even with the WGN Superstation broadcasting Cubs games to viewers across the country, there was still reason to get excited about the weekly NBC tilt.
“There’s only one National Game of the Week on Saturday,” said former Cubs catcher Jody Davis, who started behind the plate that day. “Of course, you didn’t get to play in many every year, so you’re lucky to get into one.”
Sandberg shared similar sentiments and said he relished the idea of the national spotlight shining on him and his teammates for an afternoon.
“Every game on television was a big deal to me,” Sandberg said. “I knew that everybody back home was watching. That really got me fired up to play every game. It brought the most out of my abilities.”
* * * *
This particular Saturday was one of those picturesque afternoons that happen only a few times a summer. With temperatures in the low 80s and a slight breeze off the lake, Wrigley Field was made-for-TV perfection.
A series of roster moves—including the addition of right-hander Rick Sutcliffe just 10 days prior—was doing wonders for a team that hadn’t exactly lit up the decade. On the morning of June 23, 1984, the Cubs sat 1.5 games out of first place and were in striking distance of their first postseason berth in 39 years, further raising expectations for the 38,000 fans in attendance and the millions of people tuning in across the nation. It didn’t hurt that the rival Cardinals, the 1982 world champs, were in town.
Steve Trout toed the rubber for the Cubs, but it wasn’t one of his better outings. The right-hander lasted just 1.1 innings and was on the hook for seven earned runs, spotting St. Louis an early six-run lead.
“You mean to tell me that because of me, [Sandberg] became [a key] in one of the most famous games ever,” Trout said with a laugh, reflecting on his start that afternoon.
Momentum temporarily shifted when the Cubs got two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but they promptly gave them both back in the top of the sixth. Trailing 9-3 entering the bottom of the inning, the North Siders injected some much-needed excitement into the stadium when they plated five behind a run-scoring single from Richie Hebner, a two-run double from Bobby Dernier and a two-run single from Sandberg.
Leading 9-8 with two outs in the seventh, St. Louis called out the big guns, enlisting lockdown closer Bruce Sutter to carry them the rest of the way. The eventual Hall of Famer, who would amass 300 saves in his stellar career, was the elite back-end arm of his generation, earning a Cy Young Award for his efforts in 1979 as a member of the Cubs. Sutter relied heavily on a split-finger fastball, a devastating pitch that was still new to players at the time.
“It was just a pitch that nobody had seen before,” Davis said of the splitter. “He brought [it] out, and nobody knew what it did. And he was the best at it. It was just really tough facing him, and he was a true competitor.”
Sutter fanned Gary Matthews to wrap up the seventh and set the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the eighth, putting an apparent damper on any comeback hopes. The outcome seemed a foregone conclusion as Sandberg stepped into the box to start the bottom of the ninth inning with the first and third basemen guarding the lines and the infield shifted slightly to the left side.
Sandberg was having a great season in 1984 and was already 3-for-4 on the day with four RBI. After two-plus major league years, he was seen as a good player with a solid glove at second, having claimed his first Gold Glove Award in 1983, but few had him pegged as an eventual Hall of Famer.
“Though he had already emerged as a very good player, he was still early in his career,” Costas said. “That one just propelled him onto the national stage.”
The first pitch came in low and away for ball one. Sandberg took the second pitch on the outside corner for a strike. But the third pitch was on the inner third of the plate, and Sandberg didn’t miss it, sending the ball screaming into the last row of the left-center-field bleachers.
Tie game. Extra innings.
“I said, ‘You know what this is, Tony? It’s a telephone game,’” Costas said, referring to his broadcast partner, Tony Kubek. “It’s the kind of game where as a baseball fan, you pick up the phone and call your baseball buddy, and you go, ‘Are you watching this? Put on NBC.’”
Cards outfielder Willie McGee was having quite a day himself, with a homer, triple and single to his credit. He’d already compiled five RBI and two runs heading into extra innings. The eventual 1985 NL MVP would complete the cycle with a run-scoring double in the top of the 10th and score two batters later, giving the Cards a two-run lead and shifting momentum back into the visitors’ dugout.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the 10th, Dernier took all six pitches he saw to record a full-count walk. As Costas and Kubek thanked the sponsors and crew for their day’s work, up stepped Ryno.
On the third pitch of the sequence, Costas bellowed: “He hits it to deep left-center. Look out! Do you believe it? It’s gone!”
With Sandberg’s bomb, Wrigley Field was up for grabs. The broadcast duo went silent for nearly a full minute to capture the jubilation of the ecstatic crowd.
“I’m sure there was a lengthy period where I called it as ‘gone,’ and we went quiet because the crowd and the pictures said everything,” Costas said. “We had just seen something that almost defied words. And I think the way the second home run was called, it was not just excitement, but amazement.”
* * * *
Just like that, Sandberg became a household name. Few remember that Dave Owen drove in the winning run an inning later on a bases-loaded single to complete the comeback and give the Cubs a 12-11 win.
“I went inside [the clubhouse], and I could barely get to my locker because there were so many people to talk to,” Sandberg said in the book Banks to Sandberg to Grace. “That was the start of my first experience with the media. It was pretty cool.”
With his talent on full display for the nation to see, Sandberg soon became a marquee attraction in Major League Baseball. The first example of his enhanced reputation came with the 1984 All-Star voting. In a matter of days, Ryno surpassed Steve Sax, who had been the leading vote-getter at the keystone position.
“That game really told me that I could do that,” Sandberg said. “It was really a different mind-set that game gave me, and it’s something I wanted to live up to—not only the rest of that year … but it also brought new standards for me each and every year, as far as winning a Gold Glove, a silver bat and an MVP.”
When the ’84 campaign came to a close, Sandberg was a nearly unanimous choice for National League MVP, capturing 22 of 24 first-place votes. According to FanGraphs, he compiled a Wins Above Replacement rating of 8.0, hitting .314/.367/.520 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 19 homers and a league-best 114 runs, all while playing a key middle-infield position at an elite level.
* * * *
The dramatic win didn’t benefit just the Cubs’ now-star second baseman. The team was showing signs of ending a 39-year postseason drought and used the comeback as a rallying cry for the season.
“That was kind of our exclamation point,” Davis said. “It was still early enough in the season. We were off to a good start, [and we were] in the pennant race, which fans weren’t too used to [us] being. The excitement was starting to build, and that day made all of the fans start to believe that we did have a chance.”
The team went 59-34 the rest of the way, including an 18-10 record in July and a 20-10 mark in August. They finished 31-24 in one-run ballgames and won 11 games in walk-off fashion en route to an NL-best 96 wins. The North Siders were fun to watch, and, for the first time in a long while, Wrigley Field became the hottest ticket in town, as more and more fans flocked to the North Side to see the miracle Cubs and their soon-to-be MVP second baseman.
“In ’84, the fans came alive, and you saw the first fans on the rooftops,” Sandberg said. “Just to see that whole transformation and see it be a tough ticket here for the rest of my career [was exciting].”
According to Baseball-Reference, the Cubs hit the 2 million mark in attendance for the first time ever that season. Individual game sales were up nearly 8,000 from the previous year and nearly 11,000 from 1982. At least 2 million people have attended games at Wrigley Field in all but three seasons since.
In that single game, a future Hall of Famer emerged from the shadows into full-fledged stardom, a dormant franchise was catapulted to its first postseason berth in nearly four decades, and the fan base was energized for decades to come.
The restoration of historic Wrigley Field is officially underway. On Saturday, Oct. 11, the Chicago Cubs and the Ricketts family hosted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, former Cubs pitchers Milt Pappas and Kerry Wood, city and state officials, community and corporate partners, and representatives from the project team at the groundbreaking ceremony for Wrigley Field’s long-awaited expansion and restoration, now titled The 1060 Project.
More than 200 people joined the team for the event, which included a ceremonial dig with special Cubs-themed shovels and a backdrop of construction already underway in the outfield.
“After years of working on a solution to save and improve Wrigley Field, we are thrilled to break ground on The 1060 Project,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. “This day marks a significant milestone in our quest to provide our players and fans with the best facilities in baseball.”
The 1060 Project will ensure the viability of the 100-year-old ballpark for future generations of Cubs fans, while preserving the beauty, charm and historic features fans have come to know and love.
“When you think of a baseball park that embodies its city, its community and its fans, there is simply no more powerful example in baseball than that of Wrigley Field and the profound bond it continues to inspire with Chicago, Illinois,” Selig said.
The four-year plan—which includes structural updates; improved player facilities; new signage, including video boards in left and right field; expanded concessions; new and improved restroom facilities; and much more—will be rolled out in four separate phases, beginning in the 2014-15 offseason. This privately-funded, $575 million project will create approximately 2,100 jobs and generate $1.2 billion in net new revenue to the local economy over the next 30 years.
“This restoration project is a significant private investment that will create thousands of jobs, ensure Wrigley Field can be enjoyed by Chicagoans for generations to come, and help the Cubs toward their goal of giving their fans a long-awaited World Series championship,” Emanuel said. “With this project, the Cubs are investing in more than just their historic stadium. They will continue to be a good neighbor by investing in the surrounding area for traffic flow, security and public parks. This is a great step for the Cubs and for all of Chicago.”
The 1060 Project team includes Pepper Construction, a Chicago-based firm that has nearly a century of experience on large-scale projects such as the Merchandise Mart, Marshall Field’s and the Shedd Aquarium; VOA, a full-service international architectural firm that designed many high-profile projects in the Chicago area, including Navy Pier, the Old Town School of Folk Music and Prentice Women’s Hospital; D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects (DAIQ), a full-service architectural firm instrumental in restoring Boston’s Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and The Rose Bowl; ICON Venue Group, a project management company that has produced more than $4 billion worth of home venues for franchises in each major professional sports league, and has worked on Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field, Toyota Park in Bridgeview and the Cubs’ new Spring Training complex in Mesa, Arizona; and Harboe Architects, led by nationally known, Chicago-based preservation architect Gunny Harboe, who has had oversight of major restoration projects such as the Sullivan Center, the Chicago Board of Trade and the Field Building.
The primary focus of the project’s first phase, to be completed this offseason, is infrastructure work. The ballpark’s structural steel and foundation will be strengthened, and much of the concrete in the Budweiser Bleachers will be replaced. More than 50 million pounds of new concrete will be poured at the Friendly Confines during the course of the restoration.
The first phase also includes the expansion and improvement of the left- and right-field Budweiser Bleachers. This expansion will provide more room for fans in the concourse, additional concession areas, and new group terraces where fans can congregate during Cubs games and other events. Several new outfield signs will be added this offseason, including a 3,990-square-foot video board in left field and a smaller 2,225-square-foot video board in right field.
Subsequent phases will address the improvement and expansion of player facilities; new bullpens and batting tunnels; new restrooms, concessions, seats, luxury suites, clubs, restaurants, and retail and entertainment spaces for fans; additional commissary space for food preparation; and an improved press box. A separate Ricketts family development will feature a hotel, a fitness club, a retail space and an open-air plaza adjacent to the ballpark.
For additional information about The 1060 Project, please visit www.wrigleyfield.com. And watch for the November issue of Vine Line, which will have a cover feature with details on all four phases of the restoration.
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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:
4/6: St. Louis, 1:20
4/8: St. Louis, 7:05
4/9: St. Louis, 1:20
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
4/27: Pittsburgh, 7:05
4/28: Pittsburgh, 7:05
4/29: Pittsburgh, 7:05
5/1: Milwaukee, 1:20
5/4: @St. Louis
5/5: @St. Louis
5/6: @St. Louis
5/7: @St. Louis
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
5/19: @San Diego
5/20: @San Diego
5/21: @San Diego
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
6/11: Cincinnati, 7:05
6/12: Cincinnati, 3:05
6/15: Cleveland, 7:05
6/16: Cleveland, 7:05
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)
7/1: @New York (NL)
7/2: @New York (NL)
7/3: Miami, 3:05
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
7/24: Philadelphia, 3:05
7/27: Colorado, 7:05
7/28: Colorado, 7:05
7/29: Colorado, 1:20
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
8/25: @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
9/1: Cincinnati, 7:05
9/2: Cincinnati, 1:20
9/4: Arizona, 1:20
9/7: @St. Louis
9/8: @St. Louis
9/9: @St. Louis
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
(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.