Want a head start to purchase 2016 Cubs tickets? Beginning Thursday, you can buy tickets for the upcoming season through the 6-Game Packs and 12-Game Flex Packs. These will be available before single game tickets go on sale in February.
The multi-game packages include tickets to the home opener vs. the Reds on April 11, summer Friday games, Kids Sundays and holiday matchups. Also included are games vs. the White Sox, Pirates and Cardinals as well as Interleague games against the Angels, Mariners and Rangers.
The Cubs 6-Game Packs and Cubs 12-Game Flex Packs go on sale at http://www.cubs.com/packs on Thursday at noon CST.
Cubs 6-Game Pack
This provides a choice of four different pre-selected, six-game plans. Options include the “Friday Pack,” featuring six Friday games throughout the season; the “Sunday Pack,” featuring Sunday home games with opportunities for kids 13-and-under to run the bases post-game; the “Rivals Pack,” featuring matchups with the White Sox, Mets and NL Central Division foes; and the “Holiday Pack,” featuring games on holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day Weekend.
Cubs 6-Game Packs are available in both the Budweiser Bleachers and reserved seating bowl of Wrigley Field. Fans must order the same number of tickets for each of the six games in their package. Prices start at $126 before service fees and City and County amusement taxes for a “Rivals Pack” in the Upper Deck Reserved Outfield, with other prices varying based on plan and location.
Cubs 12-Game Flex Pack
Fans who want to customize their ticket package can choose the Cubs 12-Game Flex Pack, which allows you to select from three prime games, such as the home opener vs. the Reds or Crosstown Cup Series vs. the White Sox, plus nine additional games from each month throughout the season. Cubs 12-Game Flex Packs are available in both the Budweiser Bleachers and reserved seating bowl. Prices start at $179 in the Upper Deck Reserved Outfield before service fees and City and County amusement taxes, with other prices varying based on plan and location. Overall, fans can select from 56 total games when purchasing the Cubs 12-Game Flex Pack.
*Tickets may be purchased online through http://www.cubs.com/packs, by calling 1-800-THE-CUBS (1-800-843-2827) or by speaking with the fan services team at 773-388-8270.
On Tuesday night, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Maddon celebrated by dining on pizza and sipping Tuscan wine at his restaurant, Ava, in Tampa Bay. He says he’ll talk to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein this week about 2016 and will help recruit players if needed.
“The spotlight is shining from Wrigley Field, and you just have to believe that’s going to attract other people who want to be there,” Maddon said. “Obviously, a huge attraction is the fact we have not won a World Series in over 100 years. I think there’s a lot of competitive Major League players who would like to be a member of the first group who did that.”
He’s the fourth Cubs manager to win the award, and the seventh to win the award in both leagues. Maddon was the only manager named on all 30 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
It’s the second BBWAA award for the Cubs this offseason. On Monday, Kris Bryant was named NL Rookie of the Year. Jake Arrieta will find out Wednesday how he did in the NL Cy Young balloting.
During the announcement Tuesday on MLB Network, Maddon thanked the players and gave a shout out to his mother, Beanie. Cubs players and coaches then chimed in on Twitter to congratulate their manager:
Dexter Fowler: “Not gonna lie I had @CubsJoeMadd as my manager of the year! Congrats skip! @MLB #MOY #oneofthebestinthebuilding”
David Ross: “Congrats skipper! Thanks for teaching while leading. @CubsJoeMadd #MOTY2015 #Cubs”
Anthony Rizzo: “Congratulations skipper! Well deserved, you’ve led us since day one! @CubsJoeMadd”
Kris Bryant: “NL Manager of the Year, congrats to @CubsJoeMadd! An absolute incredible guy to play for!”
John Mallee: “Congrats Skipper. We all learned a ton and looking forward to going to battle with you again! #manageroftheyear”
Jason Motte: “Congrats to the NL Manager of the Year, yup @CubsJoeMAdd. Awesome guy to play for.”
And Maddon’s daughter, Sarah, joined in on Twitter: “Congratulations, daddy-o! As always, super proud!! #ShotandaBeerTime @CubsJoeMadd”
— Carrie Muskat
David Ross says he’ll probably retire after the 2016 season. Speaking on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM on Monday, Ross is entering the final season of a two-year $5 million deal with the Cubs.
“I think this is probably going to be it for me,” Ross said, adding that it’s “time to be a dad.”
The 2016 season will be Ross’ 15th in the big leagues. He began his career with the Dodgers in 2002 and has played for the Pirates, Padres, Reds, Red Sox, Braves and now the Cubs. He has a World Series ring from the 2013 season with the Red Sox.
The 38-year-old catcher contributed much more to the Cubs than his statistics show. He batted .176 with one home run and nine RBIs but his veteran presence was key in the Cubs young clubhouse. Who knows? Maybe he’ll convert to pitcher. Ross appeared in two games in 2015 on the mound, and retired all six batters he faced.
Anthony Rizzo isn’t ready for Ross to go. On Tuesday, he posted on Twitter: “Whoa whoa whoa what’s this about retiring? TWO MORE YEARS!!!”
This wasn’t the first time Ross has talked about how 2016 will be the last year. After the 2015 season ended, he told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that 2016 would probably be his final season.
“It was a great ride,” Ross told Cafardo in late October about the Cubs’ postseason run. “It’s more sad we didn’t play well and [the Mets] played great. A lot of positives as I look back, but I thought we had a legit chance at the World Series. I really wanted to get [Jon] Lester and [Jake] Arrieta another start.”
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was unanimously named the National League Rookie of the Year on Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Bryant received all 30 first-place votes for a total of 150 points. The Giants’ Matt Duffy was second with 70 points.
Bryant is the first player in Cubs history to earn unanimous Rookie of the Year honors, and the sixth player in team history to win overall.
The 23-year-old Bryant was a 2015 NL All-Star and led all Major League rookies in several offensive categories, including 26 home runs (tied), 99 RBI, 31 doubles and 87 runs scored while placing second with 77 walks. Bryant is only the second player in Major League history to reach those totals in homers, RBI, doubles, runs and walks in his rookie campaign, joining Boston’s Ted Williams in 1939. Bryant this year also set rookie franchise records in home runs, RBI, total bases (273) and extra-base hits (62).
The Cubs announced a limited number of hotel packages have been made available for the 31st annual Cubs convention to be held Jan. 15-18. Individual weekend passes for the event are sold out.
Fans can secure Cubs convention passes by booking a hotel package for the weekend at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers or the W Chicago Lakeshore, located approximately a half mile from the Convention at 644 N. Lake Shore Drive. A courtesy shuttle service will be provided between the two hotels throughout the weekend.
Attendees can book hotel packages by visiting www.cubs.com/convention or calling the Starwood reservations line at 1-877-STARWOOD and asking for the Cubs convention rate of $191 per night plus tax. Hotel guests may purchase up to four Cubs convention passes for a reduced rate of $30 each.
The Cubs convention will take place Jan. 15 from 1-10 p.m. CT; Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT; and Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT. More information will be posted on www.cubs.com as details are confirmed.
A percentage of the proceeds from the Cubs convention benefits Cubs Charities. To date, the Cubs convention has raised more than $4 million for Cubs Charities.
The University of Cincinnati baseball team is raising awareness and funds for cancer research in memory of Cubs draft pick Ian Happ’s father, Keith, who passed away Oct. 27. Keith Happ was 58. Ian Happ played for the UC baseball team from 2012-15, and he was selected by the Cubs in the first round of the June 2015 First Year Player Draft.
On his Twitter account @ihapp_1, Happ wrote on Saturday: “Help me and @GoBearcatsBASE honor my dad’s memory #noshave #cancersucks” and provided a link to the website.
“Almost three weeks ago, my father lost his battle with brain cancer,” Ian Happ wrote. “Keith Happ was my role model and my hero. My dad was my biggest supporter, my batting practice thrower, fungo hitter, throwing partner, golf coach and much more. He was my mentor in every endeavor. I am grateful for the 21 years I spent with my father.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their support my family and I have received,” he wrote. “It has been truly humbling and unbelievable. The University of Cincinnati Baseball Program is honoring Keith’s memory with a No-Shave November Fundraiser for Cancer Prevention, Awareness and Research.”
The twitter post provided a link to https://www.no-shave.org/team/BearcatBaseball.
“Mr. Happ’s life is one that we would like to honor,” the website states. “We plan on spreading the word about cancer research and are participating in No Shave November as a team to raise awareness.”
The site encourages people to donate the money that a person would typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives and aid those fighting the battle. The goal was $5,000, and as of early Sunday, the site had already passed that and raised more than $7,000.
Happ, 21, batted .259 combined for short-season Eugene and Class A South Bend. Although he primarily played the outfield, the switch-hitter will likely play more second base next year.
— Carrie Muskat
Rain held off Sunday morning for the fourth annual Anthony Rizzo “Walk Off for Cancer” at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla., with the event raising more than $200,000 for pediatric cancer research and to provide support to children and their families battling the disease.
With Sunday’s event, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation now has raised more than $1 million. The first Walk Off — a 5K walk around the tree-lined park in Rizzo’s hometown — was the inaugural event for the foundation.
“Four years later, $1 million later — we couldn’t have pictured this,” Rizzo said.
The Cubs’ first baseman knows first-hand the importance of helping families. Rizzo was diagnosed with limited state classical Hodgkins lymphoma in April 2008 while a Minor Leaguer in the Red Sox organization. Now 26, Rizzo is a two-time All-Star and was in the mix for the Most Valuable Player Award this season after batting .278 and hitting 31 homers, 38 doubles and driving in 101 runs.
Rizzo’s message to the children he meets in his regular hospital visits is that if he can beat cancer, so can they.
“The big thing is Anthony’s setting an example, he’s saying, ‘I was there, I know what it’s like to be sick and I want to support the kids who are sick now,'” said Don Eachus, director of development at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. “He understands what it was like — he was there. He knows what it’s like to be a patient. He remembers, because he was older at the time, what his parents went through. He wants to make it as good as it can be for the children locally.”
Dexter Fowler rejected the Cubs’ qualifying offer of one-year, $15.8 million on Friday, which leaves the team with a large gap to fill in center field, the lineup, and the clubhouse. By making the offer, the Cubs guaranteed themselves a compensation Draft pick should Fowler sign elsewhere this offseason. No player had accepted a qualifying offer until this year when the Astros’ Colby Rasmus became the first to do so. On Friday, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and the Dodgers’ Brett Anderson also did so. The $15.8 million figure was determined by averaging the top 125 player salaries from the previous season.
Cubs officials did talk to Fowler’s agent, Casey Close, during the GM meetings this week at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. Close also represents Rasmus, and free agents Jason Heyward and Alex Gordon, so he’s well aware of the market for outfielders.
Fowler, one of the key veterans on the team, will be hard to replace at the top of the lineup. If the Cubs don’t find a true lead off man, they could try an unconventional mix there. Hoyer pointed out that the Red Sox used Kevin Youkilis in that role.
Fowler made $9.5 million in his first season with the Cubs, when he set career highs in runs (102), hits (149), home runs (17), walks (84) and games played (156).
The in-house candidates may include Javier Baez, who will get some playing time in the outfield this spring. In explaining why he batted the pitcher eighth and not ninth, manager Joe Maddon called the No. 9 batter a “leadoff man in training.” Rookie Addison Russell filled that role this season with the Cubs but he may not be ready to move to the top spot of the lineup in his sophomore season.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said they have brainstormed about some trade options. There were reports Thursday that the Cubs were talking to the Red Sox about possibly dealing for Jackie Bradley Jr., a defensive whiz who batted .249 in 74 games. Epstein was the Red Sox’s general manager when the Boston drafted Bradley in the first round in 2011.
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs season ticket holders can start thinking about next year. The Cubs sent a letter Friday to their season ticket holders to explain the renewal process for 2016, prepare them for an increase in cost, and offer a chance to relocate if desired.
Colin Faulkner, vice president, sales and partnerships, said Friday that nearly 1.2 million people sought to purchase Cubs postseason tickets. There now are more than 73,000 on the Cubs season ticket waiting list. According to the Cubs’ data, the average ticket price increased more than 20 percent from 2014 to 2015 on the secondary market. Postseason tickets often were being sold for three to four times face value. The Cubs expect the secondary market pricing to continue to increase in 2016.
“It’s clear there’s demand for our tickets right now,” Faulkner said. “Weighing all the data available to us, we’ve made the decision to adjust prices to all sections of the ballpark. It will vary on season ticket holders location but the average increase is around 10 percent. There are some that will be slightly lower than that, some slightly higher.”
Faulkner said he understands no one likes to pay more but said “the goal is to remain competitive for the long term and provide our fans with great facilities, great customer service, and value as a season ticket holder with meaningful baseball.”
How much a season ticket holder’s increase will be is outlined in each individual letter. If they want to renew, season ticket holders must make a 20 percent payment by Dec. 2. The remaining 80 percent balance is due Jan. 12.
If a season ticket holder wants a different view, the Cubs will offer a relocation event online on Dec. 8. This is the second year the team has offered this option online because of ongoing construction at Wrigley Field. However, Faulkner cautioned that he expected the majority of season ticket holders to renew, which would mean there will not be many options to move.
*The Cubs will announce the date when single game tickets go on sale at a later time, although it was expected to be in late February. Next week, the Cubs will expected to provide information on the ticket packages available, which will be for sale in time for the holidays.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs radio broadcasts will move from WBBM-AM 780 up the dial to WSCR-AM 670 next season. On Wednesday, the Cubs and WSCR-AM 670 announced the switch. In 2015, WBBM-AM 780 broadcast Cubs games as part of a multi-year sports and entertainment agreement signed with CBS RADIO in 2014.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with CBS RADIO and join Chicago’s top sports station,” Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said. “With the broadcast team continuing to deliver great coverage, our first
year with CBS was outstanding, and we look forward to many more to come on WSCR.”