Tom Ricketts spoke to the beat writers during Friday’s public visitation for Ernie Banks. And the Cubs’ Chairman said, according to a report from ESPN Chicago, that the upcoming season would be dedicated to Mr. Cub.
Tom Ricketts said nothing is set yet on exactly how the team will honor Ernie Banks, but the season will be dedicated to him. Ricketts told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers the team has “heard a lot of good ideas.”
A No. 14 patch will be on the Cubs uniform during the season according to Bruce Levine. And Tom Ricketts said Saturday morning on Inside the Clubhouse (670 The Score) a patch honoring Mr. Banks will be ready soon.
The team is expected to announce plans for honoring Ernie Banks in the coming days and weeks.
On the day he would have turned 84 years old, the Memorial Service for Ernie Banks will take place at Fourth Presbyterian Church. The service starts at 10:00am CST. Tom Ricketts, Joe Torre, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Lou Brock are expected to speak during the service. The Cubs invited all of the Hall of Famers to the service. Andre Dawson, Reggie Jackson and Hank Aaron are among those that will be in attendance today along with Anthony Rizzo.
Ernie Banks’ Memorial Service will be televised or streamed online, either video or audio, on WGN-TV Ch. 9 (9:30am), CLTV (9:30am), WGNTV.com (9:30am), Comcast SportsNet (9:00am), CSNChicago.com (9:00am), MLB Network (10:00am), ESPN 1000 (10:00am) and ESPNChicago.com (10:00am) … all times are Central Standard. Bob Costas is joining David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth for the coverage on Comcast SportsNet.
Ernie Banks Public Visitation
Photos of Ernie Banks public visitation at Fourth Presbyterian Church
Lou Piniella on Joe Maddon
Lou Piniella was on the Boers and Bernstein Show (670 The Score) on Friday and the former Cubs’ skipper talked about the Cubs’ new boss, Joe Maddon.
Piniella said the magnitude of managing the Cubs “is all-encompassing.” Piniella spoke highly of Maddon and thinks he will “bring back a winner to Chicago.”
Lou Piniella feels Maddon will be able to handle the expectations that come with being the Cubs manager, the media and will be good with the young kids.
McKinney was acquired from the A’s along with Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily and cash for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel last summer. The Cubs have since re-signed Jason Hammel on a two-year contract and coupled Straily with Luis Valbuena to land OF Dexter Fowler.
McKinney began preparing for the upcoming season in November and started hitting in early or mid-December. McKinney has been working on consistency with his swing and on his running. McKinney is trying to improve his jumps in the outfield with quick burst exercises.
McKinney told MiLB.com in a Q & A with the outfielder that he took it as honor when the Cubs acquired him last year and he’s “loved everything about the organization so far.”
News, Notes and Rumors
According to Jesse Rogers, Dexter Fowler and a little Ernie Banks inspiration could do wonders for the Cubs.
According to Baseball America, the Yankees signed RHP Scott Baker to a minor league contract. Baker received a non-roster invite to Spring Training and will make $1.5 million if he makes the majors in 2015 according to Jon Heyman. The Cubs tried to get Baker on track after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012. Baker appeared in only three games for the Cubs in 2013 and posted a 3.60 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP with a 5.65 FIP.
Another former Cubs’ starter inked a minor league deal. According to Baseball America, RHP Chris Volstad signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Volstad struggled during his only season with the Cubs after he was acquired in the deal that sent RHP Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins. Volstad was 3-12 in 21 starts for the Cubs in 2012 with a 6.31 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and 5.11 FIP. Volstad has not pitched in the majors since 2013. He spent last season in Korea and in the Angels organization.
Keep an eye on this … The Red Sox signed RHP Alexi Ogando on Friday to a one-year, $1.5 guaranteed contract that includes incentives. To make room on the 40-man roster, Boston designed LHP Drake Britton for assignment. Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ front office selected Britton in the 23rd round of the 2007 draft. Britton turns 26 in May and is 1-1 in 25 games at the big league level with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Lefties have hit .238/.333/.310 against Britton in the majors.
Four more minor leaguers were suspended for violating the league’s drug program … LHP Tyler Alexander (Brewers), RHP Dylan Brooks (Giants), 3B Austin Anderson (Orioles) and RHP Tyler Gonzalez (free agent) received 50-game suspensions. 26 players have been suspended already in 2015, 13 over the last week.
This Day In Cubstory
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Jamal Strong
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Pat Mahomes
1999 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Renyel Pinto
1989 – Tommy La Stella, born
1931 – Ernie Banks, born
1914 – Charlie Wiedemeyer, born
1889 – Ray Brown, born