Countdown to Cubs Cactus League Opener: 6 Days
Single Game Tickets for the 2016 Season Go On-Sale Today at 10:00am CST
One week from today beautiful Sloan Park will be packed with Cubs fans cheering on Joe Maddon’s team in the first home game of the spring. The Cubs moved into Sloan Park in 2014. And the team is constantly working on ways to improve the fan experience at the ballpark.
Justin Piper, the Cubs General Manager of Mesa Spring Training Operations, Julian Green and Jay Satenspiel talked about the additions, new food options and concessions at Sloan Park on Thursday afternoon.
The Cubs added a new ribbon board on the first base side. This spring the large video board in left field will have a different layout and components from last year. The Cubs also added a mural celebrating baseball in Mesa.
A noticeable change is the addition of the team’s retired numbers below the scoreboard. The Cubs placed 42, 14, 26, 10, 23, 31 and 31 in honor of Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux on the façade behind the left field berm.
The Cubs are rebranding the ‘Eighteen 76 Club’ to the ‘Budweiser Rooftop.’
The Cubs look to tweak the menu at the park every year, mixing in local favorites with Chicago standards. Portillo’s and Hot Doug’s will be available at Sloan Park. And for those that are gluten-free, the options include salads, wraps and fruit cups.
Those that are planning to attend the Cubs spring opener next week make sure to get to the park early. The first 5,000 through the gate will receive a Sloan Park branded baseball. And the first charity event of the spring, Respect Bald, is Saturday, March 5.
The exhibition season is almost here. And if you can, get out to Sloan Park and enjoy a baseball game.
News and Notes from Cubs Camp
• Thursday was the first day of live BP at Cubs Camp … and it might have ended up being the least covered live batting practice of the spring. The Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan news overshadowed practice.
• Rick Sutcliffe has really liked what he’s seen from Felix Pena during camp. Sutcliffe said Pena “was outstanding again” in an early bullpen session on Thursday.
• Sutcliffe said that as expected Jon Lester, Trevor Cahill, Adam Warren and Rex Brothers “were outstanding in live BP.”
For less than 10 minutes Thursday after the news sunk in that the Cubs traded an outfielder, the thought was that moving Chris Coghlan opened a roster spot to re-sign Austin Jackson. The Cubs have been linked to Jackson at various times this off-season.
Once Dexter Fowler made his little announcement, that possibility went out the window. Jackson could end up in Baltimore. The Orioles have shown interest and obviously would like to add an outfielder.
According to Alden Gonzalez, Austin Jackson turned down a one-year contract from the Angels believed to have been in the $5-6 million range. Scott Boras represents Jackson and is looking for a bigger contract for his client.
News and Notes
• Jason Hammel has a full beard and according to a report from ESPN Chicago, it is part of his off-season makeover.
• Click here for a photo of Joe Maddon with his Spring Training ride.
• According to the Tribune, Joe Maddon likes new-age style of communication with his players.
• The Sun-Times reported the short story for the Cubs this year involves serious glove interest.
• Jason Heyward is serious about winning according to David Haugh.
• Ben Zobrist returns home with win-only mentality according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• Pedro Strop answered five questions for ESPN Chicago.
• STATS reviewed the Cubs off-season … before Dexter Fowler re-signed with the team.
• Starlin Castro credits Manny Ramirez for his turnaround last season. According to a report from David Lennon, Castro will stay in contact with Ramirez throughout this season, even with Ramirez being employed by the Cubs. Ramirez is going to watch his at bats every day and if he sees something good or bad, he will talk to Castro about it.
And last, but not least, Andrew McCutchen spoke out against the current Wild Card format.
This Day in Cubstory
2004 – The foul ball from Game Six of the 2003 NLCS, infamously known as the ‘Bartman Ball’ was blown up at Harry Caray’s restaurant.
1988 – Hector Rondon, born
1981 – Cubs released George Riley
1975 – Mark DeRosa, born
1934 – Don Lee, born
1906 – Joe Graves, born
1892 – Harry Weaver, born
1891 – Colts released Dell Darling
1887 – Grover Cleveland Alexander, born