November 2010

11/18 AFL update

The Mesa Solar Sox were held to three hits in a 6-0 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions Wednesday in Arizona Fall League play. Both Josh Vitters and Ryan Flaherty were hitless for the Solar Sox. Chris Carpenter pitched one inning in relief and struck out two of the three batters he faced. On Thursday, the Solar Sox will play host to the Peoria Saguaros.

— Carrie Muskat

11/18 Football food drive at Wrigley

Fans attending Saturday’s college football game at Wrigley Field can also help by donating food items to the Lake View Pantry. Meijer stores are teaming up with the Cubs for the food drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT next to the Billy Williams’ statue on Addison and Sheffield streets. Bring canned food items — and they don’t need to be purple.

— Carrie Muskat

11/17 Ice skating is back at Wrigley

Get your ice skates. For the second year, skaters can glide next to Wrigley Field at The Rink at Wrigley. It will open Dec. 1 and continue until Feb. 28. You can skate Monday through Thursday from 3-10 p.m.; on Fridays from 3-11 p.m.; on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.; and on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. A grand opening is planned for Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. and will include an open skate. Admission Monday through Thursday is $5 per adult, $3 per child, and proceeds will help offset the cost of the rink. From Friday through Sunday, admission will be $10 per adult and $6 per child. Skate rentals will be available for an additional fee. The Rink at Wrigley is sponsored by the Ricketts family, the Cubs, 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney, the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, local businesses and community groups.

— Carrie Muskat

11/17 Big Z staying with Cubs

When Carlos Zambrano was undergoing treatment for anger management issues this summer, there were rumors that the Cubs were trying to trade him. Zambrano rejoined the rotation and went 8-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his last 14 games, including 11 starts.

Big Z is staying put.

“Carlos has not asked the Cubs to be traded nor have the Cubs asked Zambrano to waive his no-trade clause,” Zambrano’s agent Barry Praver said Wednesday at the MLB general manager meetings in Orlando, Fla.

— Carrie Muskat

11/17 Hoffpauir to Japan

The Cubs’ top priority this offseason is to acquire a first baseman but Jim Hendry will leave the general manager meetings in Orlando with nobody there on the depth chart because Micah Hoffpauir is going to play in Japan. An official announcement was expected Friday. Sources say Hoffpauir has agreed to a one-year deal with the Nippon Ham Fighters. In 162 games with the Cubs over three seasons, he batted .251.

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 AFL update

Jake Muyco lasted two innings, giving up six runs on five hits, including a grand slam by Cale Iorg, in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 7-2, seven-inning loss to Surprise on Tuesday in Arizona Fall League play. Josh Vitters was 1-for-4. Mesa travels to Scottsdale Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 Moore back with Cubs

Infielder Scott Moore has reportedly rejoined the Cubs. According to the Baltimore Sun, Moore has signed a Minor League deal. He made his Major League debut with the Cubs in 2006 before he was traded to the Orioles in the Steve Trachsel deal. Moore, who turns 27 on Wednesday, batted .280 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs in 61 games for Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles added a Cubs player as well, signing pitcher Mitch Atkins to a Minor League deal.

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 Wild Card talks

Major League Baseball GMs spent Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., discussing several topics as they prepared for the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. One of the issues was expanding the current playoff system and adding another Wild Card team. Cubs GM Jim Hendry said he’s in favor.

“I don’t have the formula on how to make it work and I haven’t thought about how it will affect the season or move it up or shorten it or things like that,” Hendry said. “I think it’s great for the fans. The Wild Card has proven over time to be terrific and the more teams in the race that have a chance is great for the fan base. If you can make it work and it doesn’t go too deep into the winter, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want more teams involved.”

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 Cubs get backing on Wrigley plan

The Cubs have the backing of some of Chicago’s and Wrigleyville’s labor officials, business and community leaders for their plan to invest a combined $400 million in Wrigley Field and the adjacent “triangle parcel.” The plan, the Cubs say, will create 1,000 construction jobs, hundreds more permanent jobs, and long-lasting economic and tax revenue benefits to the city, the county and the state of Illinois.
 The economic stimulus plan for renovating Wrigley Field and the land along Clark Street just west of the ballpark is estimated to generate more than $3 billion in economic growth in the next 35 years, according to the Cubs. Of that $3 billion, the plan is projected to generate $454 million in new sales, hotel, property, restaurant and personal income taxes for the city, county and state of Illinois.
Besides the jobs, the $200 million bonded portion of the program will be based only on the incremental growth in the amusement tax tacked onto tickets bought by fans attending games at Wrigley Field. No other fans attending games at other venues will pay.

This plan also helps the Cubs preserve Wrigley Field. Proceeds from the bond offering will be devoted to shoring up Wrigley’s infrastructure to ensure the ballpark can be preserved for the next 50 years.

The bond program will allow the Cubs owners to invest $200 million in private dollars in developing the triangle parcel of land. Also, according to the research firm Conventions, Sports and Leisure International, the combined $400 million program will immediately boost sales tax revenues for construction supplies and generate a long-term increase to the annual sales tax and property tax revenues to the city, county and state by $9 million.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 Wrigley Field plan

About 30 union leaders and numerous business owners and residents from the Wrigley and Lakeview area will join Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts on Tuesday in support of “Wrigley Investment Now-WIN for Jobs.” Ricketts is asking the state of Illinois to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field.

Last week, Ricketts said the Illinois General Assembly will consider a bill to preserve Wrigley Field. The plan will allow a portion of future city and county amusement taxes, paid entirely by Cubs fans, to be invested directly in the preservation of the ballpark. A bill is being drawn up that will be considered in the veto session.

Backers of the plan say at least 1,000 union labor jobs will
be created and as many as 500 permanent jobs would also be created in and around the Wrigley Field area.
The economic stimulus plan of renovating Wrigley Field and the “triangle” parcel development is estimated to generate more than $3 billion of economic growth in the next 35 years (approximately $66 million in year one, growing 2 percent per year, according to proponents).  Of that $3 billion, the plan is estimated to generate $454 million in new sales, hotel, property restaurant and personal income taxes for the city, county and state.

— Carrie Muskat