Wrigley Field’s Budweiser Bleachers set to make season debut May 11

Left Field Porch low resWrigley Field’s Budweiser Bleachers will have a new look and feel this season as the Chicago Cubs reopen the bleachers in phases with new group spaces, improved concessions and additional room for fans to socialize and watch the game.

The bleachers in left and center field remain on track to open for occupancy May 11, which will coincide with Cubs Charities’ Pink Out presented by Advocate Health Care on the first home game following Mother’s Day. Each guest in the Budweiser Bleachers that day will receive a “Pink Out” T-shirt to promote breast cancer prevention awareness and celebrate moms and women everywhere who are survivors. The right-field bleachers will open for occupancy as planned June 11. Work will continue throughout May and June as the team finishes the new spaces and additional amenities, including new concessions and food offerings. The overall enhanced Budweiser Bleachers will be completed in early July. The team will host a celebratory event for guests in the Budweiser Bleachers on Friday, July 3.

“There’s no experience quite like sitting in the Budweiser Bleachers for a Cubs game,” said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. “With new group spaces, wider concourses and expanded concession service, we are excited to open the Budweiser Bleachers for our next homestand and celebrate the relaunch of one of the most popular seats in sports with our legacy partner, Anheuser-Busch.”

A combination of portable and fixed concessions and vendors will be available in the Budweiser Bleachers beginning May 11. The new Platform 14, an outdoor concession area located behind the historic scoreboard, is scheduled to open in early July. Platform 14 will offer expanded food preparation spaces and a larger variety of freshly prepared food items. When the Budweiser Bleacher expansion is completed, fans will enjoy shorter wait times with additional points of sale and a wider variety of food and beverage offerings.

The new Budweiser Bleachers also include new video boards and signage that feature a mix of game and player stats, video replays, historical Cubs footage and behind-the-scenes interviews with the team, as well as baseball content from around the league.

In addition to the expanded spaces and amenities, the Cubs and Budweiser have teamed up to present new Budweiser Bleacher Fridays on select dates throughout the 2015 season. Budweiser Bleacher Fridays will feature pre- or postgame entertainment, exclusive giveaway items, special food and beverages, and more. This year’s schedule is headlined by a postgame Extra Innings Show for all game attendees featuring Fitz & The Tantrums on Friday, July 10. Budweiser Bleacher guests will receive an Extra Innings Concert Koozie. Other Budweiser Bleacher Friday themes include a Beach Bash (May 29), Country Day (June 12), Red, White and Brew (July 3), ‘90s Day (Aug. 21), and Singles and Doubles Day (Sept. 18).

In addition to general admission seating in the Budweiser Bleachers, several new and enhanced spaces are available that provide a fun atmosphere, additional amenities and space for groups of various sizes.

Budweiser Bleacher Group Spaces:
Budweiser Patio: The Budweiser Patio offers standing room and reserved seating below the new video board in right field with all-inclusive food and beverage. This space is perfect for large groups of 50-150 fans. Beginning this season, the Budweiser Patio will feature an expanded footprint and additional concessions options. The Budweiser Patio will open June 11.

Budweiser Bleacher Suite: The enclosed Budweiser Bleacher Suite offers a premier gameday experience for groups of 50-100 guests. Located in center field, guests in the Budweiser Bleacher Suite will enjoy a food and beverage package and easy access to the Budweiser Bleachers. This is a great space for corporate gatherings or large group events. The Budweiser Bleacher Suite will open May 11.

Left-Field Porch: This large group space offers a mix of standing-room and bleacher seating options beneath the new left-field video board for groups of up to 100 people. Featuring an all-inclusive beverage package, the Left-Field Porch is a great space for corporate employee engagement events or large group gatherings. The Left Field Porch will open May 11.

Right-Field Porch: Similar to the Left-Field Porch, this large group space offers a mix of standing-room and bleacher seating options for groups of up to 100 people. Featuring an all-inclusive beverage package, the Right-Field Porch is a great space for corporate employee engagement events or large group gatherings. The Right-Field Porch will be open to all Budweiser Bleacher guests on select dates this season. The Right-Field Porch will open June 11.

Left-Field Well: The new Left-Field Well features space close to the action in the first two rows above the left-field wall with designated standing-room and limited seating for groups of 15 to 50 fans. The Left-Field Well offers guests the best view in the bleachers to catch all the action on the field and is perfect for bachelor/bachelorette parties and special events. The Left-Field Well will open May 11.

“With new offerings to complement the bleacher experience fans already know and love, we are thrilled to open the enhanced Budweiser Bleachers and welcome back our fans in the coming weeks,” said Vice President of Sales and Partnerships Colin Faulkner. “Guests can begin booking these new spaces today to ensure they are part of an exciting season of Cubs baseball.”

Budweiser Bleacher tickets are available for sale now at www.cubs.com/bleachers, by phone at 1-800-THE-CUBS or at the Wrigley Field Ticket Windows. Fans can find more information about each Budweiser Bleacher group space and directions for booking at www.cubs.com/bleachers.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/3/15

Iowa and Myrtle Beach captured wins behind strong offensive performances, while Tennessee’s pitching boosted the Smokies to victory on Sunday. Only South Bend was on the losing end of the scoreboard. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league Cubs action:

Iowa Cubs (10-13)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.5)

Iowa blasted two homers, a triple and two doubles in a 7-3 victory over Oklahoma City.

  • 3B Arismendy Alcantara (.279) went 3-for-5 with a solo homer, drove in two runs and scored once. He extended his hitting streak to six games (10-for-25/.400).
  • 2B Javier Baez (.263) went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double, earning two RBI and scoring once.
  • CF Matt Szczur (.250) knocked a triple that plated one. He also scored once.
  • C Rafael Lopez (.260) went 3-for-5 with a double and one run scored.
  • LF Adron Chambers (.229) also had a multi-hit game, walking once and scoring one.
  • RHP Donn Roach (2.59) tossed a season high 8.0 innings in his fourth consecutive quality start. He has given up just five earned runs over his last 26.0 innings of work.

Tennessee Smokies (13-9)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+1.5)

Tennessee won its second consecutive game, blanking Birmingham 3-0. The teams have split the first four games of the five-game series.

  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.244) went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs.
  • SS Elliot Soto (.292) went 3-for-4, plated two and swiped a base.
  • 1B Dan Vogelbach had a multi-hit game, extending his hitting streak to four games (7-for-17/.412).
  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.250) hit a double and had his third multi-hit game with the I-Cubs.
  • RHP Ivan Pineyro (3.25) tossed 7.0 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 4.35 to 3.25.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (13-9)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+1.0)

Right Fielder Billy McKinney (.290) crushed two solo home runs to help Myrtle Beach to a 2-1 victory at Lynchburg. The Pelicans look to sweep the four-game series tonight.

  • 1B Jacobs Rogers (.278) had a multi-hit game, extending his hitting streak to four games (7-for-15, .467). He has recorded multi-hit games in four of his last seven appearances.
  • McKinney’s two homers marked his seventh multi-hit game of the season and the second multi-homer game of his career.
  • RHP Tyler Skulina (4.95) fanned a season high eight batters and allowed just one hit in 6.0 innings for his first quality start of the campaign.

South Bend Cubs (13-11)
Midwest League (Low-A)
T-Third Place (-2.0)

South Bend’s four-game winning streak was snapped in a 6-3 setback against Fort Wayne.

  • 2B Chesny Young (.326) went 2-for-4 with two doubles in his third consecutive multi-hit game.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.316) went 3-for-5, hit a double, plated two, swiped two bases and scored once.
  • RHP Ryan Williams (0.35) had his fourth scoreless outing, pitching 6.0 innings and striking out five. He has given up just one earned run and 14 hits over 25.2 innings of work.

Cubs Lineup: 5/4/15

Cubs vs. Cardinals at Busch Stadium
First Pitch: 7:10 CST
Cubs Starter: Travis Wood, LHP
Cardinals Starter: Carlos Martinez, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Chris Coghlan, LF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Miguel Montero, C
6. Starlin Castro, SS
7. Chris Denorfia, RF
8. Travis Wood, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs name Vogelbach, Null Minor League Player, Pitcher of the Month

Vogelbach,-Dan
(Photo by Roger C. Hoover)

The Cubs today named Double-A Tennessee infielder Dan Vogelbach and Single-A South Bend right-handed pitcher Jeremy Null the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, respectively.

Vogelbach, 22, batted .362 (25-for-69) with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI in 19 games for Tennessee. He drew 14 walks compared to 10 strikeouts, and delivered a 1.064 OPS thanks to a .470 on-base percentage and a .594 slugging mark.

Vogelbach is tied for first in the Southern League in walks, total bases (41) and extra-base hits (10); second in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS; tied for second in doubles; tied for fourth in hits and RBI; and fifth in batting average. He earned consecutive Southern League Player of the Week honors for April 9-19 and April 20-26.

Vogelbach was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2011 Draft out of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Florida. In 352 career minor league contests, the left-handed hitter owns a .291 batting average with 83 doubles, five triples, 56 home runs and 234 RBI. He has a .381 on-base percentage thanks in part to 191 walks.

Null, 21, went 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA (2 ER/22.2 IP) in four April starts for South Bend. He struck out 23 batters without issuing a walk to any of his 84 batters faced. He pitched into the sixth inning three times and held the opponent scoreless in three of his starts. Null struck out seven, walked none and spun 5.0 shutout innings in his season-opening start on April 10 vs. Bowling Green.

Null, who is riding a 13.2-inning scoreless streak, is 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA (6 ER/38.2 IP) in 11 career minor league games (five starts). He has struck out 36 batters, allowed just two walks and has not surrendered a home run in 38.2 career innings.

Null was selected by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2014 Draft. A graduate of Bunker Hill (N.C.) High School, he was selected by Seattle in the 37th round of the 2011 Draft, but did not sign and instead attended Western Carolina University. Null posted a 3.70 ERA with 265 strikeouts in 265.0 innings across three seasons for Western Carolina.

Hot off the Press: May issue featuring the new-look catching corps

Maddon_ON

(Photo by Stephen Green)

There’s nothing like Opening Day (or Night) to get you excited for the season. I’m in my fourth year with the team, and I can truly say I haven’t seen the kind of buzz at Wrigley Field that I saw on April 5 at any point during that stretch. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve seen it here since the playoff runs of 2007-08.

Of course, there was a lot to recommend the game.

The North Siders are coming off a huge offseason, and this was many fans’ first opportunity to see new manager Joe Maddon, prized free agent Jon Lester, leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler and the rest of the team in person. Plus, the Cubs were the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN2 and the only contest on the major league slate. To add to the atmosphere, the Cardinals were in town, and it was Lester toeing the slab versus St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.

Then, of course, there was Wrigley Field. As everyone knows by now, the Cubs began their multi-year 1060 Project restoration of the venerable ballpark this winter. Opening Night was the coming-out party for the new, 3,990-square-foot left-field video board, which debuted to rave reviews from players and personnel—even those who were a bit skeptical at first.

“When I saw the mockups, I was mildly concerned,” said baseball president Theo Epstein before the game. “Then when I saw the photos when I was in Arizona, I was extremely concerned. I felt like—you ever hang a flat-screen on your wall and your wife is telling you it’s way too big and you’re arguing that it’s not too big, even though you know it’s probably too big? That’s how I thought it would be. But then I got here, and it’s perfect.”

Still, it wasn’t the game or the stadium or the many luminaries in attendance that made the night so special. It was the fans. These are the four memories that stick out most in my mind weeks later.

  • Watching the teams do their traditional Opening Day lineup on the basepaths from behind home plate. At one point, I turned around to take a picture, and it was striking. There were no empty seats stretching to the farthest reaches of the upper decks. The fans were on their feet, raucous and, well, Cubs fans.
  • The spontaneous “Ernie, Ernie!” chant that shook the Confines before the tribute to Mr. Cub ran on the video board. Electrifying.
  • The roar of the crowd when Maddon was introduced for the first time.
  • Coming down from the press box in the top of the seventh inning on a 44-degree night with the Cubs trailing 3-0. As I walked behind the 200 Section, it was still standing-room only.

There’s nothing like a playoff atmosphere at Wrigley Field. As I’ve said many times before in this space, things are starting to get interesting at the corner of Clark and Addison. It was great to feel that energy again. It reminded me of everything that’s special about the national pastime and why we’re lucky to be part of the single greatest pursuit left in professional sports.

It has also been fun to watch the 2015 Cubs come together, including new catching tandem Miguel Montero and David Ross. Both joined the team this offseason, both are great with the glove, and both might be even better in the clubhouse. We take a look at what they add to the offense, the defense and the pitching staff.

We also check in with some of the organization’s top young players, including No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant, to see what they learned at major league camp this spring. Finally, we honor the legacy of one of the true trailblazers in baseball history, Margaret Donahue, the former Cubs executive who helped pave the way for women throughout professional sports.

We’ll be there for Games 1-162 (and beyond) at vineline.mlblogs.com and on Twitter at @cubsvineline. Let’s keep this energy going all season long as the team and the ballpark evolve into something truly special.

By Gary Cohen

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/30/15

South Bend picked up a win, but Iowa, Tennessee and Myrtle Beach were all on the losing end Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Cubs minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (9-11)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-6.5)

Iowa fell to Oklahoma City in 13 innings by a score of 4-2.

  • 3B Christian Villanueva (.275) went 2-for-4, plated one, walked once and scored twice. He extended his hitting streak to five games.
  • RF John Andreoli (.261) went 2-for-5 in his second consecutive multi-hit game.
  • RHP Carlos Pimentel (7.47) tossed his first quality start of the campaign, giving up just one hit and one run, while walking two and fanning three in 6.0 innings of work.

Tennessee Smokies (11-8)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+1.5)

Tennessee’s comeback bid fell short as it fell at Birmingham, 5-3. The Smokies knocked four doubles, three of which scored runs in the final four innings.

  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.357) went 2-for-4 and scored twice.
  • LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.290) went 2-for-3, hit two doubles, plated one and walked once.
  • DH Kyle Schwarber (.375) went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the eighth inning and walked once, extending his hitting streak to nine games (.447/17-for-38).
  • 3B Anthony Giansanti (.192) had a two-out, RBI double in the ninth inning.

Myrtle Beach (10-9)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Myrtle Beach was unable to hang on to an early lead, suffering a 6-4 loss at Wilmington.

  • LF Mark Zagunis (.254) knocked his first triple and scored a run. He has recorded an RBI in four of his last five games.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.246) went 2-for-4 with a double and scored once.
  • CF Trey Martin (.273) had an RBI double in the second inning to give the Pelicans an early lead.
  • RHP Daury Torres (3.57) earned his second consecutive quality start, giving up just two runs off six hits in 6.0 innings and fanning one.

South Bend Cubs (11-10)
Midwest League (Low-A)
T-Third Place (-3.0)

South Bend picked up its second straight win at Michigan, taking the series with a 6-3 victory.

  • SS Gleyber Torres (.352) had four hits, tying his career high. He also hit his third double, plated one, swiped a base and scored once. He has had multi-hit games in five of his last eight appearances.
  • DH Jason Vosler (.271) went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored.
  • C Justin Marra (.132) had a multi-hit game, recording an RBI and scoring once.
  • RHP Erick Leal (2.25) picked up his third straight win with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings.
  • RHP Francisco Carrillo (5.25) collected his first save of the season, giving up just one hit and fanning three in 3.0 innings of relief.

Cubs Lineup: 5/1/15

LesterBanksStarter Jon Lester will be looking for his first Cubs win in an afternoon tilt at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs vs. Brewers – Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 1:20 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP
Brewers Starter: Wily Peralta, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago, MLB Network; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Cubs Lineup
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jorge Soler, RF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Starlin Castro, SS
6. Chris Coghlan, LF
7. David Ross, C
8. Jon Lester, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/29/15

Late runs made the difference in all three minor league games Wednesday, with Cubs affiliates pulling out victories on two occasions. Myrtle Beach and South Bend each scored a pair of eighth-inning runs in wins, but Tennessee surrendered a pair in the ninth in a loss. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Cubs minor league action:

Tennessee Smokies (11-7)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+2.5)

Tennessee surrendered two ninth-inning runs as it fell 3-1 at home to Chattanooga.

  • 2B Stephen Bruno (.310) went 2-for-4, marking his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
  • C Kyle Schwarber (.377) went 1-for-4 with a double, extending his hitting streak to eight games (.457/16-for-35).
  • RHP Felix Pena struck out seven batters in 7.0 innings of work, giving up just one run. He has allowed four runs in 24.2 innings this season, fanning 23 and walking seven.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (10-8)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Myrtle Beach scored two runs in the eighth inning to come from behind and defeat Wilmington 2-1.

  • LF Mark Zagunis (.255) went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He has three RBI in his last four games.
  • RF Billy McKinney (.310) collected his sixth multi-hit game in the last 10 contests, going 2-for-4.
  • RHP Jonathan Martinez allowed just two hits in 6.0 scoreless frames, lowering his ERA to 2.12.
  • LHP Gerardo Concepcion (1.69) collected his first save, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings.

South Bend Cubs (10-10)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Fifth Place (-3.0)

  • SS Gleyber Torres (.318) hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the eighth inning. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI (12).
  • 3B Jason Vosler (.259) went 2-for-4 and has now hit safely in five of the last six games.
  • RHP Jeremy Null (0.79) gave up no earned runs in 5.2 innings, striking out six in the no-decision. He has struck out 23 batters while walking none in 22.2 innings this season, allowing just two runs.

Cubs Care grants total more than $1 million

CubsCare

Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts and All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro present a check to Union League Boys and Girls Club President and CEO Mary Ann Mahon-Huels and RBI commissioner Emilia Nichols. (Photo courtesy Chicago Cubs)

The Cubs teamed up with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to announce more than $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving those in need in the Chicago area on Wednesday. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Cubs Care, a McCormick Foundation Fund, through which more than $20 million has been donated to Chicago nonprofit organizations since its inception. The luncheon marks the 11th consecutive year more than $1 million has been donated to Chicago communities through Cubs Care. Cubs Care grants help organizations to provide youth health and wellness programs and education programs.

“We’re proud to achieve this milestone as we celebrate 25 years of giving and partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts. “Our annual Cubs Care grants provide necessary resources for Chicago nonprofits to make an impact in the lives of children and families in our community.”

“Chicago is filled with passionate fans and caring neighbors,” said David Hiller, president and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “For the last 25 years, the McCormick Foundation and Chicago Cubs have shared a commitment to supporting amazing community organizations that work to improve the lives of underserved youth and families across Chicagoland. Together, we will continue to build a stronger community for all of us in the years to come.”

Among the beneficiaries of Cubs Care since its inception 25 years ago is the Chicago Park District, which has received more than $6.5 million dollars for its programs across the city. The Chicago Park District provides safe and beautifully maintained parks and facilities as well as recreation and leisure opportunities for children and families in Chicago.

“We are grateful to Cubs Care for 25 years of supporting our programs and capital projects,” said Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Park District general superintendent and CEO. “From Cubs Care Rookie League, inner city youth baseball, programming for athletes with special needs and new fields and playgrounds, Cubs Care has constantly been there, impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicago youth.”

Events such as the Bricks and Ivy Ball, Race to Wrigley Charity Run and Catch in the Confines, along with activities such as the Cubs Convention, personal scoreboard messages and contributions from Cubs players and fans, have helped raise funds for Cubs Care grants since 1991.

Cubs Lineup: 4/29/15

Rizzo14

Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs will host hard-throwing phenom Gerritt Cole and Pittsburgh. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs vs. Pirates — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Pirates Starter: Gerrit Cole, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineups
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jorge Soler, RF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Miguel Montero, C
6. Starlin Castro, SS
7. Chris Coghlan, LF
8. Kyle Hendricks, P
9. Jonathan Herrera, 2B

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