It's snowing in Chicago Monday afternoon, so let's talk baseball.
In 144 days -- now, that doesn't seem so far away, does it? -- the Cubs will play their home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies. That will kick off a season's worth of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the opening of Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park. You already know all this, and I posted a few of the events in my recap of the season-ticket holder event Saturday.
Here is a complete list of all the events the Cubs have planned for the 2014 season:
- Wrigley Field’s 100 Great Moments: Starting at the Cubs Convention and continuing through Spring Training and each regular season home game, the Cubs will unveil and pay tribute to 100 great moments in Wrigley Field History. Many former athletes, performers and dignitaries associated with these moments will be honored at Wrigley Field, and fans worldwide will be able to follow these unveilings via social media.
- Historic Bobbleheads: During the first Friday home game of each decade-themed homestand, the first 10,000 fans in the ballpark will receive a never-before-produced bobblehead honoring key individuals or events from that decade. The historic bobbleheads will be unveiled at the Cubs Convention in January.
- Throwback Uniforms: The Cubs have partnered with Majestic Athletic to recreate throwback uniforms from significant events at Wrigley Field during each decade of the ballpark’s history. The first uniform, a 1914 Chi-Feds uniform, will be worn on the actual 100th birthday game April 23, 2014, vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. The remaining uniforms will be worn on the "Throwback Sunday" game; the first Sunday of each corresponding decade. Fans of the visiting teams will also enjoy the vintage atmosphere, as many visiting clubs plan to wear retro uniforms as well. In addition to the Cubs’ home threads, the team will introduce an alternate road jersey for 2014 that pays homage to the team’s road jersey worn in the 1920s.
- Retro Toys: In addition to the retro uniforms, "Throwback Sunday" games will offer a great family atmosphere complete with retro toy promotional giveaways to children 13-and-under. The retro toys representing each decade will be unveiled to fans at Cubs Convention.
- Special Events Calendar: The Cubs once again will host a robust Special Events calendar for groups and individuals looking to enjoy a Cubs game while participating in a themed event. This year’s Special Events will align with each homestand’s themed decade. For instance, Golfers’ Night will take place during the 1950s homestand, when golfer Sam Snead famously hit the center field scoreboard with a golf ball while hitting his four-iron. The full list of Special Events will be revealed later this offseason and tickets will go on sale Friday, March 7, during the general on-sale at www.cubs.com/specialevents.
- Dining Through the Decades: Fans hungry for an authentic, historic visit to Wrigley Field will be able to enjoy popular food and beverage offerings from that homestand’s specified decade, thanks to the team’s partnership with Levy Restaurants. Specialty food offerings will celebrate unique Chicago flavors through the years, and items throughout the park will be served in commemorative collectable cups, helmets and more.
- Historic Guests and Game Entertainment: With so many historic events taking place at Wrigley Field, the Cubs have an opportunity to host many former athletes, relatives, representatives and dignitaries who helped shape Wrigley Field into such an iconic venue. These guests will be honored by the team and fans throughout the season in special pregame ceremonies, ceremonial first pitches and as guest seventh-inning stretch conductors. There will also be popular music from the homestand’s featured decade.
- Ballpark Décor: Wrigley Field is celebrating a milestone year and the ballpark will dress the part. Wrigley Field 100th décor will be featured throughout the exterior of the park, the concourse, field level and rooftop flags. The Wrigley Field 100th logo will be painted on the grass behind home plate and "100" will be brushed in the center field grass throughout the season. Each baseball used at Wrigley Field will be stamped with the Wrigley Field 100th logo next season, making for great foul-ball or home run souvenirs. Bases will adorn a commemorative base jewel featuring the Wrigley Field 100th logo, opponent and date. Finally, Cubs players will wear the Wrigley Field 100th patch on their jersey sleeve and side of their caps.
- Commemorative Ticket Designs: If you are a season-ticket holder, you'll find themed artwork on each ticket inspired from past Wrigley Field game programs. Many of these program covers were designed by artist Otis Shepard, who served as the art director for Wrigley Gum for more than 30 years.
A few comments: it's good that the visiting teams will participate in the throwback uniform games. The Cubs have had just one throwback uniform day in Wrigley Field history -- June 12, 2008 against the Braves, which celebrated the 60th anniversary of WGN-TV doing Cubs games. Three years later, I noted that the Cubs were undefeated wearing throwbacks -- at the time, they were 5-0 wearing old-time uniforms. Since then, they have lost once (June 2, 2012 at San Francisco) and won once (June 29, 2013 at Seattle). 6-1 all-time in throwbacks -- bring 'em on!
In addition to what's mentioned above, the Cubs will be giving away 30,000 replica Chi-Feds jerseys on April 23, the 100th anniversary date, which will also feature the following:
Like any good birthday party, Wrigley Field’s celebration will feature special guests, gifts, cake, entertainment and even a serenade to the tune of "Happy Birthday." An extended pregame ceremony will give fans a chance to welcome a lineage of Wrigley Field’s most important icons back to the cherished ballpark. Throughout the day, Wrigley Field will mirror the sights and sounds of a century ago, including throwback uniforms, music and décor. Birthday tributes from players, alumni and celebrities will play on the right field video board throughout the game, and the crowd will have a chance to sing "Happy Birthday" to their favorite ballpark in the 5th inning. This birthday party even has dessert for its guests – fans will receive a special treat as they depart post-game.
This all sounds good -- the Cubs marketing people have clearly done their homework on this one. I'll keep you posted on whether Lennie Merullo makes it to Chicago for one of these events.