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Cubs announcer Hughes named Illinois Sportscaster of the Year

Pat-Hughes

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes has been named the 2014 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to my wonderful broadcast partner, Ron Coomer, and to the Chicago Cubs fans, the best listening audience in the world,” Hughes said.

This is Hughes’ ninth Sportscaster of the Year honor and his sixth in Illinois, having previously won the award in 1996, 1999, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Hughes was honored as Wisconsin’s Sportscaster of the Year in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Hughes is entering his 33rd campaign broadcasting big league baseball and his 20th season with the Cubs. The 2015 season will mark his second year teaming with Coomer on the Cubs Radio Network. He and Coomer join their new broadcast home, WBBM Newsradio 780, in 2015.

The award will be presented June 9, 2015, in Salisbury, N.C.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/11/15

Javier Baez had a nice day at the plate, and Junior Lake drove in a run in playoff action Sunday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Puerto Rico

  • SS Javier Baez went 1-for-3 with two walks despite his Cangrejeros de Santurce falling to the Gigantes de Carolina in postseason play. He added two runs scored as Santurce lost its second game of the postseason.

Dominican Republic

  • CF Junior Lake had a hit and drove in a run as his Estrellas de Oriente picked up the win. He finished 1-for-5, and the Estrellas improved to 7-6 in postseason play.

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz retired the lone batter he faced as the Tiburones de La Guaira secured a victory against the Aguilas del Zulia in postseason round robin play. La Guaira sits at 3-4 and 2.5 games out of first place.

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva finished 0-for-3 with a walk in the Yaquis de Obregon’s loss to the Charros de Jalisco in Game One of the league semifinals.

Cubs agree on a one-year deal with OF Chris Denorfia

Denorfia

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Cubs continue to beef up the veteran presence in the 2015 clubhouse, signing outfielder Chris Denorfia to a one-year contract. To make room for Denorfia on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Mike Kickham was designated for assignment.

Denorfia, 34, is a career .272 hitter (530-for-1,950) in 705 major league games covering all or part of nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (2005-06), Oakland Athletics (2008-09), San Diego Padres (2010-14) and Seattle Mariners (2014). He has averaged 21 doubles, four triples, nine home runs and 13 stolen bases per 162 games played, while turning in a career .331 on-base percentage and a .394 slugging percentage, good for a .725 OPS. He has played 352 big league games in right field, 248 games in left field and 164 games in center field.

The right-handed hitter could be a solid platoon option, as he is a career .292 hitter with 19 home runs, 85 RBI, a .358 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage versus left-handed pitching. He has also excelled in games against the National League Central (.298 career batting average) and in games at Wrigley Field (.339 career batting average).

Denorfia is coming off a down year. He began the 2014 campaign in San Diego before being acquired by Seattle at the July 31 trade deadline. He combined to hit .230 with 12 doubles, three home runs and 21 RBI in 121 games between the two stops. He had a career-best .293 batting average and .796 OPS in 130 games for the Padres in 2012 and hit 10 home runs in 144 games for the Padres in 2013, both career highs.

A native of Bristol, Connecticut, Denorfia was originally selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th round of the 2002 Draft out of Wheaton College.

Kickham, 26, was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on December 23. He is 31-35 with a 3.97 ERA (231 ER/523.2 IP) in 99 career minor league games, all but four as a starter.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/8/15

Junior Lake hit his first home run of the playoffs, and Christian Villanueva reached base on a double in Thursday’s postseason play. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean.

Dominican Republic

  • LF Junior Lake hit a second-inning home run to give the Estrellas de Oriente its first run of the game in a 3-2 loss to the Toros del Este. He finished 1-for-4 as the Estrellas slipped to 4-6 in the postseason.

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva finished 1-3 with a double, but it was not enough as the Yaquis de Obregon were blanked by the Aguilas de Mexicali, who forced a Game Seven in the first round of playoff action.

Venezuela

  • 3B Jonathan Herrera went 0-for-3 with a walk but scored the Navegantes del Magallanes’ lone run in a 3-1 loss to the Tigres de Aragua. Magallanes sits in the middle of the round robin postseason standings with a 3-2 record.

More than 80 Cubs personalities to attend sold-out Convention

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Weekend passes for the 30th Annual Cubs Convention and hotel packages at the event’s location, the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, are now sold out.

For those who have not booked their rooms, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s too late. A limited number of room packages with weekend passes remain available at the W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel. Cubs Convention room rates include passes at a discounted price of $20 each. For more information or to book one of the last remaining room packages, visit cubs.com/convention.

The 2015 Cubs Convention will feature more than 80 guests, including members of the current Cubs roster and coaching staff, alumni, minor leaguers, broadcasters and team executives who will interact with fans from Jan. 16-18. Guests attending the three-day weekend event will enjoy an updated event layout, more than 100 photo and autograph opportunities, enhanced activities and traditional favorites.

Valet and self parking are available at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, but garage space is limited. The use of public transportation is highly encouraged.

Attendees can visit the Cubs Convention page for the most up-to-date list of confirmed players, coaches, alumni and weekend events.

The list of confirmed guests includes:

Major League Players:
Arismendy Alcantara, INF/OF
Jake Arrieta, RHP
Javier Baez, INF
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Welington Castillo, C
Starlin Castro, INF
Chris Coghlan, OF
Justin Grimm, RHP
Jason Hammel, RHP
Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Edwin Jackson, RHP
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Tommy La Stella, INF
Jon Lester, LHP
Rafael Lopez, C
Miguel Montero, C
Jason Motte, RHP
Mike Olt, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Neil Ramirez, RHP
Anthony Rizzo, INF
Hector Rondon, RHP
Zac Rosscup, LHP
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Jorge Soler, OF
Dan Straily, RHP
Pedro Strop, RHP
Ryan Sweeney, OF
Matt Szczur, OF
Jacob Turner, RHP
Luis Valbuena, INF
Tsuyoshi Wada, LHP
Travis Wood, LHP

Minor League Players:
Albert Almora, OF
Kris Bryant, INF
C.J. Edwards, RHP
Pierce Johnson, RHP
Addison Russell, INF
Kyle Schwarber, C/OF

Cubs Alumni:
George Altman, INF/OF
Glenn Beckert, INF
Ryan Dempster, RHP
Bob Dernier, OF
Mark DeRosa, INF/OF
Leon Durham, INF/OF
Bob Howry, RHP
Randy Hundley, C
Fergie Jenkins, RHP
Jay Johnstone, OF
Jacque Jones, OF
Les Lancaster, RHP
Jon Lieber, RHP
Ted Lilly, LHP
Bill Madlock, INF
Gary Matthews, OF
Dave Otto, LHP, Broadcaster
Milt Pappas, RHP
Glendon Rusch, LHP
Lee Smith, RHP
Tim Stoddard, RHP
Rick Sutcliffe, RHP
Steve Trout, LHP
Billy Williams, OF
Kerry Wood, RHP

Coaching Staff:
Joe Maddon, Manager
Henry Blanco, Quality Assurance Coach
Mike Borzello, Catching Coach
Chris Bosio, Pitching Coach
Eric Hinske, Asst. Hitting Coach
Brandon Hyde, First Base Coach
Gary Jones, Third Base Coach
John Mallee, Hitting Coach
Dave Martinez, Bench Coach
Lester Strode, Bullpen Coach

Team Executives:
Tom Ricketts, Chairman
Laura Ricketts, Board Member
Todd Ricketts, Board Member
Theo Epstein, President, Baseball Operations
Crane Kenney, President, Business Operations

Baseball Staff/Broadcasters:
Jed Hoyer, EVP/GM
Jason McLeod, SVP, Scouting & Player Development
Randy Bush, Assistant GM
Shiraz Rehman, Assistant GM
Pat Hughes, Radio Broadcaster
Ron Coomer, Radio Broadcaster, INF (2001)
Len Kasper, TV Broadcaster
Jim Deshaies, TV Broadcaster

Special Guest:
Clark, Team Mascot

Cubs and WGN-TV sign new broadcast rights agreement

Deshaies

(Photo by Stephen Green)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Chicago Cubs and Tribune Broadcasting’s WGN-TV today announced a new five-year agreement under which the local station will televise 45 games annually beginning with the 2015 season. This new agreement continues a broadcasting partnership that spans more than 60 years.  Specific terms of the agreement were not released.

As part of the new agreement, broadcasters Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper will become employees of the Chicago Cubs after previously being employed through WGN-TV.

“Cubs fans have grown accustomed to watching Cubs baseball on WGN since 1948, so we are pleased to continue this longstanding tradition through our new broadcast agreement,” said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. “We are very excited to begin a new chapter of Cubs baseball with WGN and welcome Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper, two of the best broadcasters in the business, as teammates in our organization.”

This new broadcast deal extends a partnership that dates back to 1948, and sets the Cubs’ local TV lineup for next season. Games will now be split among WGN-Ch.9, WLS-Ch.7 and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

“We’re pleased to enter into this new agreement, which continues our longstanding, historic partnership with the Cubs and we’re looking forward to some great baseball,” said Larry Wert, President of Broadcast Media for Tribune Media.  “The positive moves made by the Cubs, including the hiring of Joe Maddon, the signing of Jon Lester, and the club’s investment in Wrigleyville will be great for our city.  We believe in the Cubs and the Ricketts family, and we look forward to growing the fan base even further for both the Cubs and WGN-TV.”

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/7/15

Junior Lake reached base twice in Dominican postseason play, and Frank Batista pitched a scoreless inning of relief Wednesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Dominican Republic

  • LF-CF Junior Lake went 1-for-4 with a walk as his Estrellas de Oriente club dipped below .500 with a loss to the Aguilas Cibaenas.
  • RHP Frank Batista pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Cibaenas. He walked a batter and gave up a hit in the effort. The Aguilas improve to 4-5 and sit three games back in the round robin postseason format.

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz recorded an out and was awarded a hold as the Tiburones de La Guaira held off the Aguilas del Zulia 2-1. It marks La Guaira’s first win of a young postseason.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez went 0-for-4 for the Cangrejeros de Santurce in a 1-0 loss to the Gigantes de Carolina. It marks Santurce’s first loss of the postseason, dropping their playoff record to 4-1.

 

Cubs announce on-sale date for Spring Training tickets

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 mesa@cubs.com. 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

Sloan-Park-Press-Box-Rendering
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.”

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/6/15

Christian Villanueva ripped another home run, and Javier Baez drove in a run in Caribbean postseason play Tuesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Winter League action:

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva hit his second homer of the postseason despite the Yaquis de Obregon falling to the Aguilas de Mexicali. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk. The Yaquis still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez recorded a single and drove in a run as the Congrejeros de Santurce picked up another win in round robin postseason play. He went 1-for-5 as Santurce remained perfect in the playoffs at 4-0.

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz pitched 0.2 scoreless innings of relief in the Tiburones de La Guaira’s loss to the Aguilas del Zulia. Ortiz surrendered one hit. La Guaira fell to 0-3 in the postseason.
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