January 2016

MLB Network to show Harry documentary. #Cubs

Cubs legendary broadcaster Harry Caray will be the featured subject in “Holy Cow! The Story of Harry Caray,” the latest edition of MLB Network Presents, to premier Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. CT. Narrated by award-winning actor and die-hard Cubs fan William Petersen, the one-hour program on MLB Network documents Caray’s rise to becoming one of baseball’s most iconic voices and how his legacy still resonates throughout the game.

The episode covers a rare look into Caray’s childhood and relationship with his family, including interviews with Atlanta Braves broadcaster and Harry’s grandson, Chip Caray, and Harry’s widow, Dutchie.

Broadcasters Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Pat Hughes, Tim McCarver, Steve Stone and Rick Sutcliffe describe Caray’s unique style that endeared him to generations of fans. Former Cubs president John McDonough and Chicago columnist Rick Kogan detail Caray’s special bond with Chicago, where Caray called White Sox games for 11 seasons and Cubs games for 16 seasons. Longtime comedians and Chicago natives Tom Dreesen and Jeff Garlin highlight Caray’s colorful personality.

*On Friday on MLB Network, fans can watch Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta receive their BBWAA awards, which were presented in New York last Saturday.  Check your local listings for the time.

#Cubs announce spring broadcast sked

Cubs fans will be able to watch or listen to nearly every Spring Training game this year via television, radio or internet radio broadcast.

The Cubs announced Wednesday that a Cubs game will be available every game day of the spring schedule via one or more broadcast mediums, and 30 of the 32 games are scheduled to be available overall. The only games not available are road split squad games, March 7 against the Rockies and March 12 against the Dodgers.

The schedule features nine games to be televised by Cubs broadcast partners, including six by Comcast SportsNet Chicago and three by WGN-TV. Nine games will be broadcast on 670 The Score Cubs Radio Network, and 21 will be available via internet radio broadcast on http://www.Cubs.com. Fans can access the Cubs webcasts on Cubs.com and MLB.com for free by registering for a log-in account with the website.

Two games will be broadcast on ESPN: March 17 against the Diamondbacks from Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz., and March 24 against the Giants from Scottsdale.

670 The Score, the team’s new radio rightsholder, will broadcast its first game on March 5 when the Cubs play host to the Reds. Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer return as the radio voices of the Cubs.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s first game will be March 16 when the Cubs play in Surprise, Ariz., against the defending World Champion Royals. WGN-TV’s first game will be March 20 when the Cubs play host to the Royals in Mesa. Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies return to call all Cubs TV games.

Kasper will join Mick Gillispie, radio broadcaster for the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee affiliate, for most of the Cubs.com internet radio broadcasts. They will kick off the Cactus League season on March 3 when the Cubs travel to Maryvale, Ariz., to face the Brewers.


Kerry Wood’s event a success. #Cubs

Thanks to the generosity of fans, Kerry Wood’s Winter Warm Up raised more than $125,000 at its Jan. 15 fundraiser at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch Restaurant in Chicago. More than 750 guests attended the event, which celebrated its fifth year.

“This is one of our favorite events to host each year,” Wood said. “The current and past Cubs players create a lot of excitement when they are in the room, not to mention our celebrity guests who are bartending throughout the night … It’s an all out really fun time.”

Among the Cubs players who attended were Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, Justin Grimm, Miguel Montero, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Chad Noble, Dan Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson, David Ross, John Lackey, Ryne Sandberg, Scott Sanderson, Steve Trout, Joe Maddon, Mike Borzello, Eric Hinske, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Crane Kenney. Other celebrity guests included the Bears’ Israel Idonije and the Blackhawks’ Brent Sopel.

“We appreciate everyone that came out to support the foundation and our Pitch In program,” said Wood’s wife Sarah. “This event allows us to provide more resources for our students and mentors so that our mentoring program continues to grow.”

The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in June 2011. It’s goal is to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago. Proceeds from the event go to the WFF’s “Pitch In” group mentoring program serving fourth through eighth graders in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.

If you missed the event and want to make a donation, go to http://www.woodfamilyfoundation.org.


#Cubs Baez winter league update

The Cubs’ Javier Baez went 1-for-4 in Santurce’s 3-1 loss to Caguas on Wednesday night in the Puerto Rican league round robin playoffs. Baez, who has played second or shortstop during the playoffs, was batting .222. Santurce faces Caguas Thursday night.

Looking for #Cubs Schwarber’s HR ball?

The home run ball that Kyle Schwarber hit on top of the right field video scoreboard during the  is still in the plexiglass case, but it’s now located on a shelf near the Cubs Authentics booth at the Cubs Convention, which opens Friday at the Sheraton Grand. Schwarber hit the ball during the NLDS against the Cardinals, and it was preserved on top of the scoreboard in a plexiglass case. No word on it’s future, although Schwarber said he’d like it back.



#Cubs avoid arb with 5 players

The Cubs avoided arbitration Friday with five of the seven players eligible, signing Travis Wood, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm, and Adam Warren to one-year contracts.

The deadline to exchange salary figures was noon CT Friday. The Cubs players yet to sign included National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and outfielder Chris Coghlan. The Cubs have talked about the possibility of signing Arrieta, 29, to a long term contract. The right-hander is coming off a stellar year in which he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. He will be a free agent after the 2017 season.

Wood, who turns 29 next month, signed a $6.17 million contract. The lefty was 5-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 54 games last season, making a smooth transition from starter to reliever. He began the year in the Cubs rotation, and was 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA, and posted a 2.95 ERA in 45 games in relief. Wood made $5.685 million last season.

The Cubs’ primary set-up pitcher, Strop, 30, compiled a 2.91 ERA in 76 games, striking out 81 over 68 innings. The right-hander made $2.525 million last year, and signed for $4.4 million.

This is the first year Warren, Rondon and Grimm are arbitration eligible. Grimm, 27, signed a one-year, $1.275 million contract. He compiled a career-best 1.99 ERA in 62 games, striking out 67 over 49 2/3 innings.

Rondon, who turns 28 next month, signed a one-year, $4.2 million deal. He compiled a career-best 1.67 ERA in 72 games, converting 30 of 34 save opportunities. He lost his job as the closer, but called manager Joe Maddon’s move the “best thing that happened to me.” The right-hander posted a 1.10 ERA after the All-Star break. Rondon made $544,000 last year.

Warren, 28, was acquired from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. The right-hander was 7-7 with a 3.29 ERA in 43 games, including 17 starts. He was 6-6 as a starter with a 3.66 ERA, and had a 2.29 ERA in 26 games in relief. He signed for $1.7 million.

— Carrie Muskat

Ryno to join #Cubs as ambassador

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg will rejoin the Cubs as an ambassador to the team, with an official announcement expected this weekend at the Cubs Convention.

Sandberg, 56, who played 15 seasons with the Cubs from 1982-94 and again from 1996-97, was on the list of attendees at the Cubs Convention, which officially opens Friday. A team official said details of Sandberg’s role would likely be announced at the fan fest.

A nine-time Gold Glove winner and Most Valuable Player with the Cubs, Sandberg was back at Wrigley Field last October when he threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Maddon doesn’t expect any additions

The Cubs spent $272 million this winter on free agents Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist. Are they done adding players?

“Honestly, there’s a lot of talk,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. “But I’m working under the assumption — and I really mean this — that [the team] is going to look exactly like this when we go to camp.

“Do I anticipate anything? Not necessarily,” he said. “I would imagine we’re pretty close to what we’re going to look like when we get there and into the first part of the season. But if that’s the case, I have nothing to complain about.”

Fangraphs has projected that the Cubs, who were third in the National League Central with 97 wins, will lead the Major Leagues with 95 wins in 2016. The Cubs players know they can’t take anything for granted.

“Now we know what to expect,” Kyle Schwarber said of getting to the postseason. “There will probably be more targets on our back and we’ll have to come with our ‘A’ game every

— Carrie Muskat

Rooftops to watch #Cubs games now for rent

On Wednesday, Wrigley Rooftops launched an interactive website, http://www.WrigleyRooftops.com, to showcase 10 rooftops with a view for rent on both Sheffield and Waveland Avenues.

The website features a 3-D map and 360-degree views from the skybox seats of each rooftop. There also is a list of amenities, photos of group spaces, and real-time reservation availability. Tickets for groups and individuals are now on sale.

Wrigley Rooftops is a brand owned by the Ricketts family, who own the Cubs.

Each site can host groups of up to 200 people, and provides state-of-the-art equipment and customizable group meeting spaces. Tickets to the rooftop space includes food, beverage and a view of the Cubs’ game. Prices start at $65 per ticket.

Wrigley Rooftops includes the following locations: 3609 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3617 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3619 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3637 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3639 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3643 N. Sheffield Ave.; 1010 W. Waveland Ave.; 1032 W. Waveland Ave.;
1038 W. Waveland Ave.; and 1048 W. Waveland Ave.

#Cubs notes: arbitration, Baez & meatballs

*NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta was one of seven Cubs players to file for arbitration on Tuesday. The salary proposals between the players and teams will be made public on Friday is no agreement is reached before then.

Other Cubs players to file for arbitration on Tuesday included Chris Coghlan, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Adam Warren, and Travis Wood. Hearings will be held in February if the two sides do not settle on a salary figure.

The Cubs have talked about the possibility of signing Arrieta, 29, to a long term contract. The right-hander is coming off a stellar year in which he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. He will be a free agent after the 2017 season.

*Javier Baez went 1-for-4 with a double in Santurce’s 3-0 loss to Mayaguez in Puerto Rican round robin playoff action. With the loss, Santurce now is 2-5 in the playoffs; Mayaguez is 5-2. Santurce’s next game is Thursday against Caguas (3-3).

*The Cubs Caravan kicks off Wednesday with manager Joe Maddon serving an Italian dinner to folks at the Chicago Help Initiative in Chicago. The Cubs Convention will begin Friday, and if you can’t go, you can watch opening ceremonies on Comcast Sportsnet. Comcast also is showing a feature on Maddon and his hometown on Thursday night.0112Joe

(Photo courtesy of the Cubs)