Start stockpiling the sunblock.
Cubs Spring Training games go on sale to the public on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 11:00 a.m Central. I’ve never made the trip to Mesa, but I’m seriously considering it this year.
I probably can’t afford it at the moment, but braving the snow and subzero temps yesterday at lunch, and then a lovely commute home, had me thinking otherwise.
You can buy tickets online at cubs.com or by phone (1-800-THE-CUBS). Spring Training games begin March 5.
In other Spring Training news, the Cubs have changed the name of their recently-built stadium from Cubs Park to Sloan Park.
Sloan Valve makes plumbing fixtures, so the news naturally spurred a number of Cubs/toilet/trough jokes. The company apparently is OK with that, according to Danny Ecker from Crain’s.
Ecker writes that signage will be placed throughout Wrigley Field as well, and it could somehow tie in references to the infamous Wrigley troughs.
“The good news is they don’t take themselves too seriously,” said Colin Faulkner, Cubs vice president of sales and partnerships. “They want to have a lot of fun with this, and this is an easy one to try to tie in the troughs and the restrooms.”
With the deal, Sloan becomes the Cubs’ sixth “Legacy” sponsor, the others being Starwood Hotels, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Under Armour, ATI Physical Therapy and Wintrust Financial.
I’m not sure how people generally feel about such sponsorships and increased signage at Wrigley, but I don’t really mind it. I just want the Cubs to be doing everything possible that helps them win. And if that means a few extra advertisements around the park, I’m cool with it.
WGN deal finalized
The Cubs have officially announced their TV deal with WGN-TV, as I wrote about on Wednesday.
WGN will air 45 games per year for the next five years. And as a reminder: the games will only be shown locally.
People outside Chicago may need to resort to other methods, such as the MLB Extra Innings or MLB.tv subscriptions, to view the games. It’s unfortunate for some, but WGN America has decided to go a similar route as TBS in terms of what it broadcasts (i.e., no sports, lots of bad shows/movies).
It’s unclear whether local affiliates in certain outside-of-Chicago areas will pick up WGN and ABC games. We’ll just have to wait and see on that matter.
As a side note, Bruce Levine reports that broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies are now Cubs employees. (They used to be employed by WGN.)
* Jesse Rogers had an interesting write-up on David Ross. When deciding where to sign, the new Cubs catcher was impressed with the team’s plan, and the acquisition of Jon Lester showed him they were committed to winning. Ross picked the brains of former Cubs Ryan Dempster and Mark DeRosa, who explained what it’s like to play for a winning team in Chicago. Rogers also writes that we can’t pencil in Ross as Lester’s personal catcher (the two are former teammates). Lots of good quotes from Ross in this one.
* Just when you thought this matter was finished…The Wrigleyville Rooftops filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging the Cubs purposely built signs to block rooftops that refused to sell, while clearing rooftop views for buildings the team was able to purchase, according to the Sun-Times. I’m thinking this will end up being a minor issue, and doubt the rooftops have much of a case. But we’ll see.
* As Mike Rankin wrote yesterday about how the Cubs should bring in utility man Ben Zobrist (and I agree wholeheartedly), Ken Rosenthal says Zobrist would be a good fit in Washington — even though the Nationals appear to not be interested. With Jason Werth needing shoulder surgery, the Nationals will have an opening in the outfield, and they have the prospects to make a deal (Rosenthal notes that the Cubs have the prospects to acquire Zobrist as well).
* Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal are reporting that the Cardinals are interested in landing an ace starting pitcher, namely Cole Hamels, David Price or Max Scherzer. A trade for Hamels or Price would be preferred for St. Louis, as they would like to add a lefty. Scherzer is a free agent, and is looking for a ton of money. Even though he’s a St. Louis native, I don’t see the Cards ponying up the cash for him. Morosi and Rosenthal say that Hamels would welcome a trade to St. Louis, but would the Cardinals have the prospects to make a deal? I’m hoping not. If Price or Hamels find themselves in the NL Central in the next year or two, I hope it’s as a Cub.
* After the Cubs were briefly linked to outfielder Colby Rasmus earlier in the offseason, it’s sounding as though it’s unlikely to result in a signing. Jim Bowden reports that talks between the Orioles and Rasmus are “gaining steam.”