Archive for the ‘ Vine Line ’ Category

Cubs Charities launches the Diamond Project to improve local ball fields

Cubs Charities, in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago, announced the launch of the Cubs Charities Diamond Project. The Diamond Project marks the third signature program Cubs Charities has launched. In 2013, they introduced the Cubs Scholars program and the Cubs On The Move Fitness Trolley.

The Diamond Project aims to improve the quality and safety of local baseball fields in the Chicago area. The project will expand opportunities for children to play baseball, create or preserve green space, and foster a love of the game, particularly in the inner city where baseball has experienced a significant decline.

“The Diamond Project aligns with our mission to be good neighbors and Cubs Charities’ goal of providing health and physical education activities for our youth,” said Cubs Charities Chair Laura Ricketts. “We’re thrilled to invest in our communities and offer the opportunity for children to continue to develop their love and passion for the game of baseball.”

Cubs Charities, with technical assistance from LISC Chicago, will identify communities in need of new or improved baseball fields and provide grants to facilities that will be used to promote health and wellness through baseball. In addition to monetary support, the Wrigley Field Grounds Crew will advise Cubs Charities Diamond Project grantees during projects and maintenance.

“Public recreational spaces are essential to the health of every neighborhood,” said Susana Vasquez, LISC Chicago’s executive director. “We’re honored to partner with Cubs Charities to support new or renovated fields that will serve as tremendous community assets, especially for young people.”

An information session for nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations and schools in the Chicago area will be held at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, April 30, at 10:00 a.m. in the Budweiser Bleacher Suite. Please email diamondproject@cubs.com if you wish to attend. For additional information on the Cubs Charities Diamond Project and how to apply, please visit http://www.cubs.com/diamondproject.

Emilio Bonifacio is blazing hot

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

It’s a leadoff man’s job to set the tone for the offense and get on base. Newcomer Emilio Bonifacio has taken that role to heart and started the season at a record-setting pace.

The 28-year-old became the first player in National League history to record nine hits in the first two games of a season. But he didn’t stop there. Through the first nine games, he recorded 19 hits, batted better than .450 and scored nine runs—or nearly one-third of the team’s total. The sample size is still very small, but when your leadoff man is getting on base at a .500 clip, something is going very right.

“I try to select good pitches,” Bonifacio said. “I try to swing at a strike in the zone, and I have [had] good results.”

After being released by the Royals prior to Spring Training, Bonifacio signed with the Cubs as a nonroster invitee. But after a solid preseason, the veteran played his way onto the major league squad.

His defensive versatility has made him very valuable to a platoon-oriented team. Depending on the pitcher, Bonifacio has gotten starts in both center field and at second base.

“He gives you the flexibility to be able to play so many different positions,” said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. “I could play him in probably every outfield position and any infield position from second all the way through third base. I haven’t used him at first, but I’m sure if you said, “Can you put this [first-base glove] on?” he’d go over there.”

He’s also the first true leadoff man the Cubs have had in years. In the first three series, he swiped seven bases. That speed should be a huge boost to a lineup that stole only 63 bags last season, 13th in the National League.

“It’s been really good to have that feeling, especially with a new team and being in the leadoff spot,” Bonifacio said. “That’s the job—to try to get on base. Hopefully I can keep doing it like that.”

Cubs Minor League Notebook: 4/10/14

Iowa wrapped up their series with a win, and Kane County also pulled off a victory Thursday. The bats were quiet in losses for the Smokies and D-Cubs. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s action:

Iowa Cubs (4-4)
T-2nd Place (-2.0)

Iowa defeated Nashville 5-1, and won three of four games in the series.

  • RHP Kyle Hendricks picked up the win, going 7.0 innings, giving up one earned run on five hits and a walk while striking out five.
  • SS Javier Baez (.154) went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning, two-run homer.
  • 1B Chris Valaika (.263) went 2-for-4 with a double (2) and two RBI (3).
  • CF Matt Szczur (.233) and 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.280) recorded two hits apiece.
  • RHPs Neil Ramirez (10.80) and Blake Parker (0.00) both tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

Tennessee Smokies (2-5)
T-4th Place (-4.0)

Chattanooga scored a run in the ninth inning to beat the Smokies 1-0.

  • RHP Jake Arrieta made his second start with the Smokies as part of a major league rehab assignment, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings while fanning four. Arrieta threw 66 pitches (44 strikes), and has allowed just three hits while striking out seven in two starts (6.2 IP).
  • 1B Dustin Geiger (.280) reached base twice, going 1-for-3 with a walk.
  • RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (0-1, 3.12) suffered the loss despite allowing just one run in 4.0 innings of relief.

Daytona Cubs (1-6)
T-5th Place (-5.0)

Dunedin tallied 18 hits en route to sweeping the three-game set in Daytona, beating the Cubs 12-2.

  • LF Bijan Rademacher (.455) recorded three of Daytona’s seven hits, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
  • DH Tim Saunders (.211) went 1-for-4 with his third RBI of the season.
  • RF Oliver Zapata (.273) went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a walk and one RBI (1).

Kane County Cougars (4-3)
T-2nd Place (-1.0)

Kane County pulled into a second place tie with a 7-5 victory over visiting Fort Wayne.

  • RHP Tyler Skulina picked up the win, pitching 5.2 innings and striking out six.
  • 2B Daniel Lockhart (.167) and SS Carlos Penalver (.259) combined to go 4-for-10 with five runs scored.
  • RF Yasiel Balaguert (.300) went 1-for-4 with a walk and a game-high three RBI (7).
  • RHP Justin Amlung (0.00) tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to record his first hold of the year.
  • RHP Tyler Bremer (0.00) worked the ninth inning to convert his first save of the campaign.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/7/14

Christian Villanueva powered Triple-A Iowa to victory, but both Tennessee and Daytona lost one-run games Monday night. Kane County had the day off and resumes action Tuesday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.

Iowa Cubs (2-3)
4th Place (1.5 Games Back)

3B Christian Villanueva supported a strong start by LHP Tsuyoshi Wada with a go-ahead, three-run home run with two outs in the sixth inning to lift Iowa over visiting Nashville, 4-1.

  • RF Brett Jackson (.143) notched his first two hits of the season, including a fifth-inning triple, finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored, a walk and a stolen base.
  • LHP Wada earned his first win in his debut with the I-Cubs. His eight punchouts have him tied for fifth place in the Pacific Coast League this season.
  • RHP Blake Parker (0.00) earned the save, striking out two in a scoreless ninth. His 42 career saves are tops in the organization.

Tennessee Smokies (1-4)
5th Place (3 Games Back)

Tennessee fell at Pensacola, dropping a 3-2 decision and finishing the five-game series with a 1-4 record.

  • RHP Matt Loosen went five innings, giving up three earned runs, walking three and striking out two in the loss.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger (.278) went 2-for-4 with his second solo home run in as many days.
  • SS Jeudy Valdez (.375) went 2-for-3 including an eighth-inning double that drove in his first run of the season.
  • RHP Ryan Searle (2.08), LHP Hunter Cervenka (0.00), and RHP Tony Zych (9.00) combined for five strikeouts over three perfect innings of relief.

Daytona Cubs (1-3)
T-4th Place (2 Games Back)

Daytona surrendered an early three-run lead at home vs. Brevard County, losing 5-4 and committing three errors.

  • LHP Rob Zastryzny gave up four runs in four innings, striking out six and walking two in a no-decision.
  • LF Rock Shoulders (.200) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double, two RBI and two strikeouts.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.286) added two hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a triple and one RBI.
  • RHP Yao-Lin Wang (0-1, 0.00) suffered the loss on an unearned run that scored on a fielding error by SS Marco Hernandez in the top of the fifth inning.

 

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/6/14

Rosscup

Zac Rosscup picked up the win in relief for Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Iowa was able to grab a win in walk-off fashion Sunday, but both Tennessee and Kane County couldn’t muster enough offense in their games. Daytona had the day off. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action on the farm.

Iowa Cubs (1-3)
4th Place (2 games back)

Chris Valaika hit a walk-off single to center field, scoring Matt Szczur, as the I-Cubs beat the Memphis Redbirds, 4-3, to record their first victory of the season.

  • LHP Eric Jokisch was solid in his debut, going seven innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out three in a no decision.
  • SS Valaika (.200) finished the game going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a walk and one RBI.
  • Javier Baez (.091) briefly tied the game at 2-2 with a pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning. It was his first hit of the year, snapping a 0-for-9 drought to start the season.
  • LF Josh Vitters (.375) went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
  • LHP Zac Rosscup (1-0, 0.00) tossed 0.2 scoreless innings to earn the win.

Tennessee Smokies (1-3)
5th Place (2 games back)

Tennessee dropped its second-straight game at Pensacola, falling 3-2.

  • RHP Ivan Pineyro picked up the loss, giving up one earned run in four innings, striking out three and walking three.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger (.214) went 2-for-3 with a walk and a ninth-inning, solo home run.
  • RF Jonathan Mota (.333) went 2-for-4 with his first RBI of the campaign.
  • LHP Jeff Lorick (0.00) struck out two hitters in two scoreless innings of work.

Kane County Cougars (2-2)
T-1st Place (– games back)

Quad Cities scored five runs in the seventh inning to beat visiting Kane County, 7-3.

  • RHP Juan Paniagua went four innings, giving up two earned runs while striking out four and walking four while earning the loss.
  • LF Trey Martin (.100) and 3B David Bote (.167) each recorded a hit and one RBI.
  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.250) reached base twice, going 1-for-4 with a walk and four strikeouts.
  • RHP James Pugliese (0.00) and LHP Nathan Dorris (0.00) combined to toss 3.2 scoreless innings of relief.

Now Playing: The Cubs kick off the Party of the Century at Wrigley Field

Despite typical April temperatures in Chicago and a 7-2 loss to the visiting Phillies, the Cubs still managed the kick off the Party of the Century in style. Friday’s home opener began a yearlong celebration of Wrigley Field, which turns 100 years old on April 23. The gametime temperature hovered in the high 30s—and a strong wind made it feel colder than that—but that didn’t stop 38,283 fans from packing the Friendly Confines. Cubs Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams were on hand to throw out the first pitch, and Ernie, Fergie and Billy sang the stretch (Sandberg was otherwise occupied with his job as Phillies manager).

Vine Line talked to Cubs players and personnel about Opening Day at Wrigley Field and celebrating the venerable stadium the Cubs have called home for 98 years. There’s no better place to be than Wrigley Field—in April or September.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/3/14

Vitters_ST

Josh Vitters homered for the I-Cubs Thursday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Kane County’s offense was on full display early, capturing a win in the season opener. Iowa and Daytona both struggled to put some runs on the board while Tennessee let a five-run lead slip away in a loss. Here are some highlights from action around the minor leagues.

Iowa Cubs (0-1)
T-3rd Place (1 game back)

Iowa dropped its season opener vs. Memphis, 10-2. The Redbirds scored three first-inning runs off I-Cubs starter, Chris Rusin.

  • LHP Chris Rusin (0-1) gave up five earned over 3.2 innings, fanning two in the loss.
  • LF Josh Vitters was 2-for-4 and hit a third-inning solo home run.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva had two hits with a double and a run scored.
  • RHP Yoanner Negrin followed Rusin and spun 3.1 shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out four.

Tennessee Smokies (0-1)
T-3rd Place (1 game back)

The Smokies had a 5-0 lead through three innings at Pensacola, but fell to the Blue Wahoos, 6-5, in their season opener.

  • RHP Dae-Eun Rhee pitched four innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits and four walks while striking out four in a no-decision.
  • 3B Kris Bryant clubbed a two-run homer in his first at-bat off RHP Mat Latos, who was on a rehab assignment. Bryant went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, the home run and one stolen base.
  • CF Zeke DeVoss went 2-for-5 with a triple and one RBI from the leadoff spot.
  • LF Rubi Silva and RF Jorge Soler each recorded a double. Soler left the game following his double due to hamstring tightness.
  • RHP Ryan Searle allowed just one run on one hit while fanning five in three innings of relief.

Daytona Cubs (0-1)
T-4th Place (1 game back)

Daytona opened its 2014 campaign with a 1-0 loss at Brevard County.

  • RHP Felix Pena had a solid outing, giving up one run on three hits while striking out three over six innings despite picking up the loss.
  • 2B Gioskar Amaya recorded Daytona’s lone multi-hit effort, going 2-for-2 with a stolen base.
  • 1B Dan Vogelbach and 3B Jeimer Candelario both went 1-for-3 with a walk.
  • RHP’s Zach Cates and Arodys Vizcaino each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

Kane County Cougars (1-0)
T-1st Place ( — games back)

Kane County kicked off its 2014 season with an 8-4 victory at Quad Cities.

  • RHP Paul Blackburn gave up four runs over four innings, striking out three.
  • RF Yasiel Balaguert went 4-for-5 with three doubles and two RBI.
  • SS Carlos Penalver was a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, one RBI and two stolen bases.
  • CF Jacob Hannemann batted leadoff and went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
  • LHP Nathan Dorris tossed two scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory.

 

1000 Words: Olt powers Cubs to first 2014 win

Olt-Blast

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty)

The Cubs helped Rick Renteria to his first win as a major league manager Thursday, behind a strong effort from veteran right-hander Jason Hammel. The new Cubs starter, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal in February, limited the Pirates to one run and two hits over 6.2 innings and struck out five.

Cubs third baseman Mike Olt, acquired last season in the Matt Garza trade with the Rangers and making his third start, hit his first major league home run in the second inning off Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez. With a thin bullpen following last night’s marathon 16-inning loss, Pedro Strop closed the door in the ninth to preserve the 3-2 victory.

The Cubs return to Chicago tonight and open the home slate at Wrigley Field against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday at 1:20 CST.

Wrigley Field will celebrate 100 Delicious Years at the concession stands

CUB-CONCESSIONS-0004

Wrigley Field will kick off its 100th birthday year on Opening Day, Friday, April 4, and continue the Party of the Century throughout the 2014 season. In honor of the ballpark that originated the concession stand, the culinary team at Wrigley Field will introduce decade-themed menus, featuring classic fare inspired by tastes from days gone by.

“Chicago is home to the iconic Wrigley Field and truly amazing food, and this year we are thrilled to celebrate 100 years with the great flavors of the gameday experience,” said Wrigley Field Executive Chef David Burns. “We can’t wait for Cubs fans to dig into the delicious and historic treats we have in store.”

Here’s a rundown of the new Centennial-inspired offerings at Wrigley Field this season.

Decade Diner
Fans can take a culinary trip through time by visiting The Sheffield Grill, which will be transformed into the Decade Diner for the 2014 season, located inside Gate D near Section 142. Kraft Cheese is celebrating 100 years of cheese-making this year, so the Friendly Confines will feature one Kraft Cheese recipe for each decade in the Decade Diner, alongside traditional fan favorite gameday fare.

Decade Dogs
Wrigley Field’s culinary team also put a historical twist on everyone’s gameday favorite, the hot dog. Cubs fans can enjoy a variety of Decade Dogs throughout the season next to Gate F near Section 123, including:

  • 1910s Rueben Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, sliced corn beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese. Available all season.
  • 1920s Chicago Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, tomato wedges, pickle spears, sport peppers, diced onions, mustard, neon relish and celery salt, served on a poppy seed bun. Available all season.
  • 1930s Cheese Steak Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, shaved ribeye steak, grilled onions, peppers and provolone cheese. Available during the 1930s homestand.
  • 1940s Corn Dog Nibblers: Deep-fried mini Vienna Beef corn dogs. Available during the 1940s homestand.
  • 1950s TV Dinner Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Available during the 1950s homestand.
  • 1960s Buffalo Wing Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, diced chicken, buffalo sauce, bleu cheese crumbles and chopped celery. Available all season.
  • 1970s Pulled Pork Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, pulled pork, barbecue sauce and coleslaw. Available all season.
  • 1980s Nacho Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, tortilla strips, nacho cheese, salsa and pickled jalapenos. Available during the 1980s homestand.
  • 1990s Bagel Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog wrapped in a warm bagel with deli mustard. Available during the 1990s homestand.
  • 2000s Dog: The most popular hot dog from the previous decades. Available during the 2000s homestand.

Suites
Cubs suite-holders can enjoy delicious dishes from yesteryear with the Suite Package of the Century, which features fan favorites from the past 100 years. Dishes include:

  • 1910s Reuben Fritters: Served with horseradish-mustard dipping sauce.
  • 1920s Caesar Salad: crisp romaine, housemade Caesar dressing, Parmesan garlic croutons.
  • 1930s Chicago-style Hot Dogs: Vienna beef hot dogs, tomato, onion, neon relish, pickle, sport peppers, celery salt.
  • 1940s Macaroni and Cheese: Cavatappi pasta made in a creamy sauce made from three cheeses.
  • 1950s Twisted Potato Chips: Served with classic, creamy Lipton Onion Dip.
  • 1960s Wedge Salad: Served with bleu cheese dressing, bacon crumbles and green onions.
  • 1970s Shrimp Cocktail Shooters: Jumbo shrimp, zesty cocktail sauce served in a shot glass.
  • 1980s Cajun Wings: Served with cool ranch dipping sauce.
  • 1990s Mini Veggie Burgers: Our housemade veggie burger served on whole wheat bun.
  • 2000s Niman Ranch Pork Sandwich: Specialty smoked pork with caramelized onions, signature steak sauce on toasted focaccia bread.

Ten Timeless Toddies
Cubs fans can quench their thirst with signature period cocktails, served in limited-edition souvenir glasses on the main concourse at Section 109 and on the bleacher patio in left field. As each drink is unveiled throughout the season, the Cubs will share the recipes online at WrigleyField100.com so fans can recreate the Wrigley experience at home. Decade drinks include:

  • 1910s Weeghman Park Old Fashioned: Bulleit Rye and Finest Call Old Fashioned Mix, served with an orange slice and cherry.
  • 1920s Upper Deck Gin Rickey: A Gilded Age cocktail made with Tanqueray Gin, lime juice and club soda, garnished with basil.
  • 1930s Called Shot: A Manhattan made with fans’ choice of whiskey—Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit Rye, Crown Royal or Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
  • 1940s Day Game: A variation on a Hurricane, made with Captain Morgan, Meyers Dark Rum and Finest Call Hurricane Mix.
  • 1950s Mr. Cub Cocktail #14: In honor of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, this Cubbie Blue cocktail features Smirnoff Vodka, Blue Curacao and lemonade, served with a slice of lemon and a cherry.
  • 1960s Alabama Ironman: This modern twist on the Whiskey Sour pays homage to Billy Williams, made with peach puree, lemon and lime juice.
  • 1970s Cooperstown Iced Tea: A variation on a Long Island Iced Tea, which surged to popularity during the ’70s, this cocktail features Captain Morgan’s Ready-to-Drink Long Island Iced Tea Mix.
  • 1980s Electric Ryno Margarita: A blue margarita featuring Don Julio Tequila, Blue Curacao, lime juice and agave nectar, served with a light-up straw.
  • 1990s Home Run Hop: A Dominican-inspired cocktail made with island flavors including Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Meyers Silver Rum, pineapple juice and coconut water.
  • 2000s Playoff Punch: A Cosmopolitan-inspired punch made with Smirnoff Orange Vodka, Monin Tiki Blend, cranberry and lime juice.

Ballpark Brews and More
In addition to the new decade cocktails, Cubs fans can enjoy an expanded offering of beers this season, including:

  • Goose Island: Fans can now enjoy drafts and bottles of Goose Island favorites such as 312 Urban Wheat, 312 Urban Pale Ale, Green Line, Matilda and Sofie.
  • Budweiser and Bud Light
  • Mang-O-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita, Lime-A-Rita and Straw-Ber-Rita
  • Redbridge gluten-free beer
  • Johnny Appleseed Cider
  • Old Style

Throwback Sundays
Wrigley Field isn’t just bringing history to fans’ taste buds. The Cubs have partnered with Majestic Athletic to recreate throwback uniforms from each decade, which the team will wear on Throwback Sunday games. Fans can sport the jerseys as well, along with other vintage threads, which will be available at the Cubs Team Store on the Wrigley Field concourse and at authorized Cubs retailers. Jerseys offered include:

  • May 4 – 1929 Jersey
  • May 18 – 1937 Jersey
  • June 8 – 1942 Jersey
  • June 22 – 1953 Jersey
  • July 13 – 1969 Jersey
  • August 10 – 1988 Jersey
  • August 24 – 1994 Jersey

For more details on all of the centennial food and fun planned for the 2014 season, visit WrigleyField100.com and LevyRestaurants.com.

1000 Words: Happy Opening Day 2014!

PNC-Park

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty)

At 12:05 CST, the Cubs will kick off the season against the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Jeff Samardzija will get his second straight Opening Day nod—and his second straight season kick-off in Pittsburgh—against Pirates lefty and 2013 Comeback Player of the Year Francisco Liriano.

Last season, Samardzija gave up only two hits in eight shutout innings to beat then-Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, 3-1. This will also mark Rick Renteria’s first official game as a major league manager.

Happy Opening Day. Here’s to six more months of Cubs baseball.

Here’s the Cubs lineup for the opener:

1. Bonifacio CF
2. Lake LF
3. Castro SS
4. Rizzo 1B
5. Olt 3B
6. Castillo C
7. Schierholtz RF
8. Barney 2B
9. Samardzija P

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