After an eventful offseason, Cubs fans everywhere are ready to get the 2015 campaign underway. But perhaps no one is more excited than new manager Joe Maddon. The two-time AL Manager of the Year spent nine seasons in Tampa Bay before taking the reins as the 54th manager in Cubs franchise history in November.
We got a chance to catch up with the gregarious 61-year-old skipper during photo day at the Cubs’ Sloan Park training complex in Mesa, Arizona, Monday. In a wide ranging interview, he talked about his goals for 2015, his influences as a coach and building trust with a new group of players.
This is the first in our spring video series. We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.
Monday was photo day at Cubs camp in Mesa, Arizona, so the players and coaches spent the morning running from station to station getting their pictures taken and doing interviews. The day includes everyone from team photographers to Topps to MLB.com to, well, us.
But just as the gauntlet was coming to an end, the skies opened up and washed out most of the training day in “sunny” Arizona. The players did their work in the batting cages, and they should be back at it on the practice fields Tuesday, when sunnier skies are expected. The Cubs open their Cactus League slate on Thursday with split-squad games against the Athletics at Sloan Park and the Giants in Scottsdale.
All spring long, watch for our video series with players and coaches here on the blog.
Following the passing of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs have announced plans to pay tribute to the Hall of Famer during Spring Training, Opening Night at Wrigley Field and throughout the 2015 season.
Beginning in Spring Training and continuing throughout 2015, the team will wear a commemorative No. 14 patch on both its home and away jerseys. The Cubs will open their Spring Training schedule by wearing No. 14 hats during both split-squad games on March 5, with additional acknowledgments planned for that day’s opening game at Sloan Park.
Banks will also be honored with a pregame ceremony before Major League Baseball’s Cubs vs. Cardinals Season Opener at Wrigley Field on April 5. Each fan attending that night’s game will receive a commemorative pin in honor of the Cubs’ beloved shortstop. Fans will see many other tributes paying homage to Banks’ remarkable life and career throughout the evening.
A collection of videos, photos and articles have been posted to Cubs.com over the last several weeks, and Vine Line will publish a special feature edition honoring Mr. Cub in March.
Additional tributes will be finalized and incorporated throughout the 2015 season.
“There is no level of recognition that can properly acknowledge how much Ernie Banks meant to this franchise and fan base,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. “Collectively, we must ensure Mr. Cub’s legacy rightfully lives on at the Friendly Confines and with future generations of baseball fans.”
Inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1977, Banks was a lifelong Cub who played for 19 seasons. He was a 14-time All-Star and back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959. He hit 512 home runs in his career, and his 277 home runs as a shortstop remain a National League record.
Among Cubs players, Banks ranks first in games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), extra-base hits (1,009) and total bases (4,706); second in home runs (512), RBI (1,636) and hits (2,583); third in doubles (407); fifth in runs scored (1,305); seventh in triples (90); and eighth in walks (763).
While still a player in 1967, Banks turned his eye to coaching and served in that role through 1973, becoming the first African-American to manage a major league team on May 8, 1973, when he took over for the ejected Whitey Lockman.
He was the first Cub to have his number retired in 1982, was voted to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999, and was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
While many players arrived early in Mesa to get the season started, pitchers and catchers officially reported to Spring Training on Thursday. After a number of notable offseason acquisitions—including pitchers Jon Lester and Jason Hammel and catchers Miguel Montero and David Ross—the Cubs are primed for a dramatic improvement in the standings and are now viewed as dark-horse playoff contenders. Whatever happens this season, the journey begins today.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs released their 2015 Spring Training broadcast schedule late Wednesday and announced that almost every game will be available via television, radio or internet radio broadcast.
The schedule features 10 games televised by Cubs broadcast partners (seven by Comcast SportsNet Chicago, three by WGN-TV), eight on the WBBM Newsradio 780 Cubs Radio Network and 21 via internet radio broadcast on cubs.com. Fans will be able to access the Cubs webcasts on cubs.com and MLB.com for free by registering for a log-in account with the website.
WBBM-AM Newsradio 780, the club’s new radio rights-holder, will air its first game on Saturday, March 7, when the Cubs play at the Rockies with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer on the call. Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s first game will come from Las Vegas on Friday, March 13, when the Cubs play the Athletics. WGN-TV has its first game on Sunday, March 15, when the Cubs host the Cincinnati Reds at Sloan Park. Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies return to call all Cubs TV games.
Kasper will again join Mick Gillispie, radio broadcaster for Chicago’s Double-A Tennessee affiliate, for most of the cubs.com internet radio broadcasts.
All games start at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time unless otherwise noted. Chicago is one hour ahead of Arizona through Saturday, March 7, before moving to two hours ahead on Sunday, March 8.
Day Opponent, Location, Broadcast Availability
3/5 Athletics (SS), Sloan Park, Cubs.com
3/5 Giants (SS), Scottsdale, —-
3/6 Reds, Sloan Park, Cubs.com
3/7 Rockies, Scottsdale (1:10), WBBM 780
3/8 Rangers, Sloan Park, WBBM 780
3/9 Padres, Sloan Park, Cubs.com
3/10 Indians, Goodyear, Cubs.com
3/11 Dodgers, Sloan Park, Cubs.com
3/12 Angels, Tempe (1:10), Cubs.com
3/13 Indians (SS), Sloan Park, Cubs.com
3/13 Athletics (SS), Las Vegas (5:05 PT), CSN-TV
3/14 Brewers (SS), Maryvale, WBBM 780
3/14 Athletics (SS), Las Vegas (12:05 PT), —-
3/15 Reds, Sloan Park, WGN-TV, WBBM 780
3/16 Padres, Peoria, Cubs.com
3/17 Royals, Sloan Park, Cubs.com
3/18 Dodgers, Glendale, Cubs.com
3/19 Diamondbacks, Scottsdale (6:40), CSN-TV, Cubs.com
3/20 White Sox, Glendale, Cubs.com
3/21 Mariners, Sloan Park, WBBM 780
3/22 Padres, Sloan Park, CSN-TV, WBBM 780
3/24 Athletics, Mesa, Cubs.com
3/25 Mariners, Peoria (7:05), CSN-TV, Cubs.com
3/26 Angels, Sloan Park (4:05), ESPN TV, Cubs.com
3/27 White Sox, Sloan Park, CSN-TV, Cubs.com
3/28 Rockies (SS), Sloan Park, WBBM 780
3/28 Reds (SS), Goodyear, —-
3/29 Royals, Surprise, WGN-TV, WBBM 780
3/30 Giants, Sloan Park, CSN-TV, Cubs.com
3/31 Rangers, Surprise, Cubs.com
4/1 Brewers, Sloan Park, CSN-TV, Cubs.com
4/3 Diamondbacks, Chase Field (6:40 p.m.), Cubs.com
4/4 Diamondbacks, Chase Field (1:10 p.m.), WGN-TV, Cubs.com
The opportunity to check out Joe Maddon, Jon Lester and the 2015 Cubs for the first time is nearing. On Thursday, the Cubs announced details for purchasing single-game tickets for Cubs Spring Training games at the newly named Sloan Park.
Starting Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. MST/11 a.m. CST, single-game tickets go on sale at the Sloan Park Ticket Office, by phone at 1-800-THE-CUBS and online at cubs.com.
“Following a successful first year in our new Spring Training home and a busy offseason, we’re very excited to host our second season of Spring Training games at Sloan Park,” said Spring Training Business Operations General Manager Justin Piper. “Cubs fans showed their overwhelming support of the team by setting a Cactus League season attendance record last year. With similar crowds expected this season, we encourage fans to purchase their tickets early once again.”
The Cubs open their 2015 Spring Training home schedule by hosting a split-squad game against the Athletics on March 5, at 1:05 p.m. MST. The complete 2015 Spring Training schedule is available at sloanpark.com.
Details for purchasing single game tickets are as follows:
Purchasing Tickets In-person
Tickets may be purchased at Sloan Park, located at 2330 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Mesa, Ariz. The ticket office opens Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. MST. Standard hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST, Monday through Saturday, as well as during Sunday home games.
Purchasing Tickets by Phone and Online
Tickets may be purchased over the phone by calling 1-800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827) or online by visiting cubs.com beginning Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. MST/11 a.m. CST.
Fans can direct ticket and additional Spring Training questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For continuously updated information and to take a virtual tour of Sloan Park, please visit sloanpark.com.
Cubs announce legacy partnership with Sloan Valve Co.; Spring Training facility in Mesa now called Sloan Park
The Chicago Cubs and Sloan Valve Company today announced Sloan will become the naming rights partner of Sloan Park—formerly Cubs Park—the team’s Spring Training facility in Mesa, Arizona. Sloan, a global brand based in the Chicago area, joins the team as a Legacy Partner and the official water efficiency partner of the Chicago Cubs.
Sloan has been a leading global manufacturer of water-efficient solutions for 109 years. As a fourth-generation family business, Sloan prides itself on promoting a healthy environment through water conservation and understands what it means to build a legacy. The Cubs will utilize Sloan’s products in the newly-named Sloan Park in Mesa and target integration inside Wrigley Field and its surrounding facilities as part of the 1060 Project construction—helping the organization expand its ongoing sustainability efforts.
In addition to the Spring Training facility naming rights, Sloan will have a branding presence at Wrigley Field, including fixed signage in the visiting team’s bullpen.
“Teaming up with Sloan—another family-owned company based in Chicago with more than a century of history—is an important move for the Cubs as we look to provide clean and sustainable water solutions for our facilities in both Mesa and Chicago,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts.
Sloan becomes the sixth Legacy Partner of the Chicago Cubs, joining Anheuser-Busch, ATI Physical Therapy, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Under Armour and Wintrust.
“Sloan is passionate about providing intelligent water solutions to the communities we serve,” said Sloan President Jim Allen. “We are excited to have a major presence both in Chicago and Mesa to authentically convey the message of water sustainability.”
The start of a new year means spring baseball is just around the corner. On Monday, the Cubs released report dates and game times for their entire Spring Training slate.
Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Thursday, Feb. 19 with their first workout taking place on Friday, Feb. 20. Position players are scheduled to report on Tuesday, Feb. 24 with the first full-squad workout on Wednesday, Feb. 25.
The Cubs have also added four games to the schedule since its original release. The club will play a pair of games in Las Vegas against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. They will conclude Spring Training with two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4.
All the Cubs’ Spring Training games will start at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time unless otherwise noted. Below is the Cubs’ schedule:
DATE – OPPONENT, LOCATION (TIME)
3/5 – Athletics (ss), Cubs Park
3/5 – Giants (ss), Scottsdale
3/6 – Reds, Cubs Park
3/7 – Rockies, Scottsdale (1:10)
3/8 – Rangers, Cubs Park
3/9 – Padres, Cubs Park
3/10 – Indians, Goodyear
3/11 – Dodgers, Cubs Park
3/12 – Angels, Tempe (1:10)
3/13 – Indians (ss), Cubs Park
3/13 – Athletics (ss), Las Vegas (5:05 PT)
3/14 – Brewers (ss), Maryvale
3/14 – Athletics (ss), Las Vegas (12:05 PT)
3/15 – Reds, Cubs Park
3/16 – Padres, Peoria
3/17 – Royals, Cubs Park
3/18 – Dodgers, Glendale
3/19 – Diamondbacks, Scottsdale (6:40)
3/20 – White Sox, Glendale
3/21 – Mariners, Cubs Park
3/22 – Padres, Cubs Park
3/24 – Athletics, Mesa
3/25 – Mariners, Peoria (7:05)
3/26 – Angels, Cubs Park (4:05)
3/27 – White Sox, Cubs Park
3/28 – Rockies (ss), Cubs Park
3/28 – Reds (ss), Goodyear
3/29 – Royals, Surprise
3/30 – Giants, Cubs Park
3/31 – Rangers, Surprise
4/1 – Brewers, Cubs Park
4/3 – Diamondbacks, Chase Field (6:40)
4/4 – Diamondbacks, Chase Field (1:10)