Friday, November 30, 2012

Cubs and Wrigley Field are officially decked out for the holiday season; Cubs roster changes; Spring Training schedule released

The Cubs were busy kicking off the holiday season today at Wrigley Field.  The day started early as Cubs outfielder David DeJesus and his wife Kim were at the Friendly Confines for a live broadcast on WGN-TV's morning show to support the Toy Drive.  The toys collected at Wrigley Field will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.

The Tree Lighting ceremony took place at 5pm under the Wrigley Field marquee and had a good turnout, as I was there to join in the festivities.  David and Kim DeJesus helped light the tree, which was designed by Christy Webber Landscapes.  The funny thing is that Webber mentioned that she's actually a Sox fan (which Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts later joked that she "could have left out that piece of information").  Webber said the good part about her rooting for the Southsiders is that she won't be asking Ricketts for any Cubs tickets.  Haha.

Also present at the Tree Lighting was Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, Todd Ricketts (Cubs Board of Directors), Crane Kenney (President of Business Operations) and lots of Cubs personnel.  There was also complimentary hot chocolate and cookies for attendees, which was a nice touch!

After the tree lighting, the Cubs offered free skating at the Rink at Wrigley, as well as free popcorn and hot chocolate and coffee.  The rink is located in the Cubs’ parking lot at the corner of Clark and Waveland.  For skating fees and hours, visit

Below are some photos I took at the Tree Lighting ceremony:

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts addresses the crowd at the Tree Lighting ceremony (photo by Karen Burchell)

The DeJesus family at the Tree Lighting ceremony at Wrigley Field (photo by Karen Burchell)

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Wrigley Field kicked off the holiday season (photo by Karen Burchell)

Before and after the Christmas tree lighting at Wrigley Field on Friday night (photo by Karen Burchell)
In other Cubs news, the team decided to non-tender third baseman Ian Stewart, who is now a free agent.  Stewart's 2012 season was cut short after only playing 55 games due to a wrist injury, which he ended up having surgery for.  There's still a chance the Cubs will still negotiate a new contract with Stewart, especially since there isn't an abundance of available third basemen both in and out of the Cubs organization.

The Cubs decided to non-tender third baseman Ian Stewart before Friday's deadline (Chicago Tribune photo)
Right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week in order to make room on the 40-man roster for recently acquired right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman, who came to the Cubs from the Texas Rangers and signed a one-year, $6 million deal and is expected to be a part of the 2013 starting rotation.  Coleman was assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa today.

The Cubs signed a one-year contract with right handed pitcher Scott Feldman (AP photo)
The Cubs also signed right-handed pitcher Scott Baker to a one-year, $5.5 million contract on November 13th.  Feldman and Baker will join Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Travis Wood in the Cubs' rotation, even though GM Jed Hoyer says the team may not be finished shopping for starting pitchers yet.

The Cubs signed a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Scott Baker
The Cubs hired 25-year old Scott Harris as their new Director of Baseball Operations on Thursday.  Harris spent the last two years with Major League Baseball as the league’s Coordinator of Major League Operations.  Harris also interned for the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and the Washington Nationals in 2008. 

The Cubs released their spring training schedule earlier today, which includes 17 home dates at HoHoKam Park, 16 Cactus League road games and two games in Las Vegas against the Texas Rangers.  The Cubs will open their schedule on February 23 against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe, AZ and end it on March 28 against the Seattle Mariners.

Individual tickets for home games at HoHoKam Park can be purchased starting January 4th at or by calling 1-800-905-3315.  Below is the 2013 spring training schedule, with all games beginning at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time unless otherwise noted:

 Date  Opponent  Location
 Feb. 23  Los Angeles (AL)  Tempe
 Feb. 24  San Francisco  Mesa
 Feb. 25  Los Angeles (NL)  Glendale
 Feb. 26  Colorado  Mesa
 Feb. 27  Los Angeles (NL)  Mesa
 Feb. 28  Oakland  Mesa
 March 1  Arizona  Mesa
 March 2  San Francisco  Scottsdale
 March 3  Milwaukee (ss)  Mesa
 March 3  Los Angeles (AL/ss)  Tempe
 March 4  Cleveland  Mesa
 March 5  Colorado  Scottsdale (1:10 p.m.)
 March 6  Texas  Surprise
 March 7  White Sox  Mesa
 March 8  Cincinnati  Goodyear (7:05 p.m.)
 March 9  Cleveland  Mesa
 March 10  San Diego  Mesa
 March 11  Arizona  Scottsdale
 March 12  OFF DAY  
 March 13  Colorado  Mesa
 March 14  Los Angeles (NL)  Glendale
 March 15  White Sox  Glendale (12:05 p.m.)
 March 16  Kansas City (ss)  Mesa
 March 16  Texas (ss)  Las Vegas (game time TBD)
 March 17  Oakland (ss)  Phoenix
 March 17  Texas (ss)  Las Vegas (game time TBD)
 March 18  San Diego  Peoria
 March 19  Texas  Mesa
 March 20  OFF DAY  
 March 21  Seattle  Peoria
 March 22  Milwaukee  Maryvale
 March 23  Los Angeles (AL)  Mesa
 March 24  Cleveland  Goodyear
 March 25  San Francisco  Mesa
 March 26  Cincinnati  Mesa (7:05 p.m.)
 March 27  Kansas City  Surprise (6:05 p.m.)
 March 28  Seattle  Mesa (12:05 p.m.)

Hope everyone enjoys the unseasonable 'warmer' weather in Chicago this weekend, as there's sure to be more Cubs news next week!  And for those of you not in Chicago, hope you have a great weekend as well!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cubs busy making changes during offseason; Wrigley Field updates

Even though it's the off-season, there's still plenty of Cubs news going on.

First off, congratulations to Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart and his wife Susan, who welcomed their second child, Mila Rose Stewart, into the world on November 8th.  Here are a couple of photos that Stewart shared through his Twitter account:

Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart and his newborn daughter, Mila Rose Stewart (photo from
Ian, Susan and Mila Stewart (photo from
Stewart appears to have recovered from wrist surgery earlier this season and the big question will be whether or not the Cubs will decide to keep him and see how he plays when he's healthy.

The Cubs acquired right handed pitcher Scott Baker, who comes to the North Side after spending seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins.  He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and missed the 2012 season as a result.  Baker is 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA, 770 strikeouts, 224 walks in 958 innings pitched over 163 appearances.  Baker's contract is for $5.5 million for one year and includes another $1.5 million in possible performance bonuses.

The Cubs recently  acquired RHP Scott Baker from the Twins (photo from
The Cubs hired PJ Mainville as their new head athletic trainer.  Mainville was the former Diamondbacks assistant athletic trainer, a position he held for two years.

The historic Wrigley Field scoreboard is being rehabbed.  Here's a photo from Doug Padilla on Twitter:

The Wrigley Field scoreboard is undergoing renovations (photo from )

If you enjoy ice skating, the Rink at Wrigley is being prepped for the season.  The rink will be open starting 11/23 through 3/3/13.  Here's a photo that Wayne Buckner posted today on Twitter:

The Rink at Wrigley is being prepped for winter (photo from )

The Cubs activated Matt Garza, Ian Stewart and Arodys Vizcaino from the 60 day disabled list.  The roster now stands at 37. 

Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro are in the running for the GIBBY Awards.  You can vote as many times as you want until Sunday, 12/2 at 10:59pm CT at

Former Cub Justin Germano was picked up as a free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays.  He tweeted on November 9th, "Excited for the new opportunity with and getting to play with my buddy ! Looking forward to Spring and the 2013 season!" 

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Join David and Kim DeJesus at Bite Nite on November 12th to benefit the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter and fight Lou Gehrig's disease

Cubs right fielder David DeJesus and his wife Kim will be hosting the inaugural Bite Nite this coming Monday, November 12, 2012 to help fight Lou Gehrig's disease.  The event will take place from 6:30-9:30pm at Kendall College at 900 N. Branch Street in Chicago.

From the event website:

Bite Nite is an evening of haute cuisine sponsored by The ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter.  This extraordinary, inaugural chapter event will bring together ten of Chicago’s finest chefs who will showcase tasting-size portions of their exquisite culinary delights. 

The evening will feature a specialty vodka bar, along with a range of imbibements and refreshments. In addition, musical rhythms will be spun by DJ Opio and an exquisite selection of fine art, displayed for silent auction, is sure to please your visual senses. 

Tickets are $75 each and the proceeds will benefit the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, which supports research, advocacy, awareness, community and local care services for those affected by Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Darwin Barney wins the Gold Glove award

One of the brightest spots in a tough season this year for the Cubs was when the announcement came on Tuesday night that second baseman Darwin Barney won the NL Gold Glove award for his position.

Darwin Barney's 141-game errorless streak earned him the NL Gold Glove award at second base for 2012 (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Barney had an incredible season as he played in 141 error-free games and tied a Major League single-season record at second base, which had been set in 2007 by Placido Polanco.  Barney was just three outs away from setting a new record when he was charged with a throwing error in the eighth inning on September 28th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Barney is the first Cub to win a Gold Glove since first baseman Derrek Lee in 2007.  He is also the first to win a Gold Glove at second base since Hall of Fame member Ryne Sandberg, or as some like to call him, "Ryno," won his ninth and final Gold Glove in 1991.

Ryno and Barney are well acquainted, as Sandberg was Barney's manager in the Minor Leagues for three seasons and had a big part in working with and training Barney for second base, since he originally played shortstop.  

"I'm extremely thrilled," Barney said.  "It's something you came into the season working towards, but it's not something where I thought the results would be there as quickly as they were.  I'm extremely happy about it.  There's a lot of good competition.  I'm really surprised it ended up happening for me.  It's an exciting night for me."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "It goes without saying he's Gold Glove material.  I've been in the game 30 years, and I've never seen anyone play second base like [Barney] has."

Every Major League manager and up to six coaches on each staff helped determine the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glose Awards.  They chose from a pool of qualified players in their respective league and couldn't vote for players on their own team.

Even though Barney is thrilled about winning the award, he isn't letting it get to his head.  "From top to bottom, you have to continue to work on your routine plays and being consistent," he said.  "You know you're not going to run into a streak defensively every single year -- or I guess not very often at all.  You want to be as consistent as you can and keep working.  You can't be satisfied."

He also said, "Winning Gold Gloves doesn't satisfy me for the future.  It makes me proud of my season.  It makes me hungry to work and try to get another one someday.  It's been a long path.  It's a big accomplishment for me."

Darwin Barney shakes hands with teammates after scoring the winning run in the last game of the season on October 3rd (photo by Karen Burchell)
Congratulations to Darwin Barney - I'll always have a soft spot for you since meeting you in January of 2011, when you weren't even sure if you'd make the big league team out of spring training, but you were extremely nice and down to earth and I could tell you would soon make an impression in the baseball world!