Results tagged ‘ Wrigley Field ’
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Jeff Samardzija and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler dominated the gridiron, the hardwood and the baseball diamond in their Indiana high school days more than a decade ago. And they continue to dominate their respective sports. Samardzija was solid in his first year in the Cubs’ rotation, while Cutler currently has the 6-1 Bears sitting atop the NFC North division. Cutler stopped by Wrigley Field in July to throw out the first pitch and sing the stretch.
In November, Vine Line pays tribute to the power of hard work.
It wasn’t like Cubs second baseman and November cover boy Darwin Barney was an unheralded player. The 2007 fourth-round draft pick won everywhere he ever played, and the Cubs always loved his intelligent approach to the game. But that wasn’t enough to guarantee the 5-foot-10, 185-pound minor league shortstop a roster spot. After Starlin Castro made it clear he was the team’s shortstop of the future, Barney had to find another route to The Show.
When he won the Cubs’ starting second base job out of Spring Training in 2011, the position was mostly new to him. So he spent countless hours working with former third base and infield coach Pat Listach and the other Cubs coaches to hone his technique.
“We have a routine we do every day, and he’s religious about it,” Listach said. “Even on days we don’t take batting practice, he’ll come to me and say, ‘Hey, can we get on the ﬁeld and get a few ground balls?’ He just doesn’t like to miss a day.”
What was most interesting about reporting this story was how willing people were to compliment the soon-to-be 27-year-old Gold Glove finalist (winners will be announced tonight at 8:30 p.m. Central on ESPN2). His work ethic is legendary among coaches and players. Castro even credits the former shortstop for helping improve his play at the position. Everyone we talked to was quick to sing his praises.
“Work ethic and the way he goes about it every day, Darwin Barney has been probably the most impressive guy I’ve come across,” said hitting coach James Rowson. “I’ve been around quite awhile now, and you will not ﬁnd a harder worker than him.”
Two years and a 141-game errorless streak later, it’s safe to say the second base job is Barney’s for the foreseeable future.
In the November issue of Vine Line, we also look at the hard work of some of the players’ better halves. For years, the Cubs wives have donated their time and resources to the team’s communities in Mesa, Ariz., and Chicago. We talk to many of them about why they feel the need to give back and what it’s like to be the spouse of a major leaguer.
Finally, we talk to veteran coach McKay about the work he’s been doing to bring a winning mentality to this young Cubs team. And if there’s anyone who knows winning, it’s McKay, who spent more than 25 years with Tony La Russa and has three World Series rings.
For these stories and more, subscribe to Vine Line or pick up an issue at select Chicago-area retailers. We’ve also launched a Vine Line Twitter account at @cubsvineline to keep you posted on Cubs happenings up to the minute.
Chicago comedian and actor Jim Belushi spent many afternoons at Wrigley Field when he was growing up and never misses a chance to come back. Vine Line talked to the Cubs superfan during his most recent trip to the Friendly Confines, where he was slated to throw out the first pitch. Belushi told us about the moment he officially became a Cubs fan, his fondest memory of Wrigley Field and what it’s like to spend time in his hometown.
To read the full interview, pick up the October issue of Vine Line featuring the best moments from the 2012 season, on sale now at Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line, the official magazine of the Chicago Cubs, for just $29.95.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Despite a difficult year on the field in 2012, the Cubs ended the season in exciting fashion, when Bryan LaHair smacked a bases-loaded line drive into right field to give the Cubs a walk-off 5-4 victory over the Astros at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs finished the 2012 season with a 61-101 record.
The Cubs’ 2012 season has been all about adjustments. Year One of the Theo Epstein regime is in the books, and despite the struggles at the major league level, the future is looking a little brighter. The Cubs took advantage of the draft and trade deadline to bolster their minor league system, but Epstein is far from complacent.
“I think we’ve made some pretty significant changes in direction as well as philosophy,” Epstein said. “It’s hard to talk about the year, though, without talking about the frustration that goes with it. We aren’t even close to where we want to be.”
One of the biggest changes late in the season has been the Cubs’ infusion of youth. Anthony Rizzo was called up on June 26 and made an immediate impact. On Aug. 5, top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters joined him on the parent club. In the October issue of Vine Line, we talk to the two good friends about their paths through the Cubs system and what they hope to accomplish at Wrigley.
“I can remember countless times just over the past couple of years, where either one of us was struggling or both of us were struggling, and we’d talk about it,” Vitters said. “I think we both know each other as a player enough that we have a decent idea of what it is the other person’s doing if they’re struggling a little bit or going through a rough patch.”
For our end-of-season issue, we also went to our blog to ask readers to help us determine the best highlights from the Cubs’ 2012 season. Despite the down year record-wise, the Cubs had a surprising amount of incredible memories, from Kerry Wood’s retirement to Ron Santo’s Hall of Fame induction to Alfonso Soriano’s bounceback year. You’ll find the results in our cover story, 12 for ’12.
Finally, we went into the booth with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly to get an inside look at what it really takes to put on a major league broadcast. If you think talking about baseball for four hours every day seems easy, think again.
For all these stories and more, subscribe to Vine Line or pick up an issue at select Chicago-area retailers. We’ve also launched a Vine Line Twitter account at @cubsvineline to keep you posted on Cubs happenings up to the minute—from Wrigley Field events like the Bruce Springsteen concert last month to all the breaking hot stove news.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs brass got a glimpse of the future on Saturday, as Cuban import Jorge Soler paid his first visit to Wrigley Field. As it turns out, it was actually the power hitting outfielder’s first visit to any major league stadium. Soler signed a $30 million deal with the Cubs in June and finished the season at Single-A Peoria, where he hit .338 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 20 games.
The Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball announced the tentative 2013 regular season schedule today. The Cubs’ season will open up on Monday, April 1, with the North Siders traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates. The home opener will take place a week later against Milwaukee on April 8.
Cubs fans will get their first taste of April Interleague Play when the two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers come to town April 16-18.
The BP Crosstown Cup should get interesting, as the Cubs will play a pair of back-to-back, two-game series against the White Sox. The first set will take place at U.S. Cellular Field from May 27-28 and will be immediately followed by a pair of games against the Sox at Wrigley on May 29-30.
NL Central rival St. Louis comes to town on May 7-8, July 11-14 and Aug. 16-18. The Cubs will finish the season on the road against the Cardinals Sept. 27-29.
Chicago Cubs 2013 Schedule
Tentative and subject to change
April 1, 3-4: at Pittsburgh (3)
April 5-7: at Atlanta (3)
April 8-10: MILWAUKEE (3)
April 11-14: SAN FRANCISCO (4)
April 16-18: TEXAS (3)
April 19-21: at Milwaukee (3)
April 22-24: at Cincinnati (3)
April 25-28: at Miami (4)
April 29-May 2: SAN DIEGO (4)
May 3-5: CINCINNATI (3)
May 7-8: ST. LOUIS (2)
May 10-12: at Washington (3)
May 13-15: COLORADO (3)
May 17-19: NEW YORK (NL, 3)
May 21-23: at Pittsburgh (3)
May 24-26: at Cincinnati (3)
May 27-28: at White Sox (2)
May 29-30: WHITE SOX (2)
May 31-June 2: ARIZONA (3)
June 4-5: at Los Angeles (AL, 2)
June 7-9: PITTSBURGH (3)
June 10-13: CINCINNATI (4)
June 14-16: at New York (NL, 3)
June 17-20: at St. Louis (4)
June 21-23: HOUSTON (3)
June 25-27: at Milwaukee (3)
June 28-30: at Seattle (3)
July 2-4: at Oakland (3)
July 5-7: PITTSBURGH (3)
July 9-10: LOS ANGELES (AL, 2)
July 11-14: ST. LOUIS (4)
July 16: All-Star Game in New York (NL)
July 19-21: at Colorado (3)
July 22-25: at Arizona (4)
July 26-28: at San Francisco (3)
July 29-31: MILWAUKEE (3)
August 1-4: LOS ANGELES (NL, 4)
August 6-8: at Philadelphia (3)
August 9-11: at St. Louis (3)
August 12-14: CINCINNATI (3)
August 16-18: ST. LOUIS (3)
August 19-22: WASHINGTON (4)
August 23-25: at San Diego (3)
August 26-28: at Los Angeles (NL, 3)
August 30-Sept. 1: PHILADELPHIA (3)
September 2-4: MIAMI (3)
September 6-8: MILWAUKEE (3)
September 9-11: at Cincinnati (3)
September 12-15: at Pittsburgh (4)
September 16-19: at Milwaukee (4)
September 20-22: ATLANTA (3)
September 23-25: PITTSBURGH (3)
September 27-29: at St. Louis (3)
Home Games are in Bold
(Photos by Stephen Green)
On September 27, 2001, baseball returned to Wrigley Field after the tragedy of 9/11. To commemorate the occasion, the Stars and Stripes were flown all over Wrigley Field, and the Cubs front office placed a small American flag in every seat. The emotional pregame ceremony included the Chicago Police Department Emerald Society performing “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.” The Cubs and Astros lined up on the field with police officers and firefighters, and team captain Joe Girardi delivered a short address to the crowd.
“I will never forget that day,” Girardi told Vine Line in September 2011. “I had so many emotions going through my head when I addressed the fans. You try to be strong, but I was thinking about all that New Yorkers had gone through. More than that, I was really thinking about all the children who had lost parents on 9/11. It was a hard say, and it was difficult to play a baseball game. But I also felt a sense of pride in that our country was resilient enough that we were back on the field. People were enjoying the national pastime in every city, and that proved that we could not be defeated.”