Last year, during the pandemic-shortened MLB season in which no minor league games were played, teams set up alternate training sites so that players not on the MLB roster could have at least some baseball. It wasn’t ideal, but at least there were some intrasquad games to keep players in shape.
The Cubs’ site was at the home of their South Bend Cubs affiliate, Four Winds Field. They’ll use the same site this year.
This year, instead of intrasquad games, Cubs players at their alternate site will have some actual competition from another team:
The alternate training site for the White Sox will be in Schaumburg. There's a 13-game schedule set up for games against the Cubs and Brewers alternate site squads.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) March 26, 2021
The White Sox used the home of the independent Schaumburg Boomers last year as well. It’ll be a couple hours bus ride from South Bend to Schaumburg for Cubs players to have competitive games, but this will at least tide players over until the minor league season begins May 4. The Brewers alternate site is in Appleton, Wisconsin, and here is a list of all 30 MLB teams’ alternate sites for this year. Most are at teams’ affiliate sites or spring training facilities; some are at independent league ballparks and then there’s the Pirates, who will be using facilities in Pittsburgh.
This is the most intriguing note about the Cubs/White Sox alternate site contests:
One of those alternate site games against the Cubs will take place at Guaranteed Rate Field, when the White Sox are out of town.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) March 26, 2021
I doubt the Sox will sell tickets for that game, but they surely could fill the 25 percent of their ballpark permitted by the city of Chicago if they did.
And so, Nico Hoerner will get some at-bats against White Sox alternate site pitchers, now that he’s been assigned there. Apart from that, the Cubs will certainly have intrasquad games at Four Winds Field.