The Chicago Cubs will make their ninth straight appearance to Las Vegas for two games against the Texas Rangers on Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17. Game times are TBA due to television and both games will have split-squads. Big League Weekend ticket packages are available NOW by calling the 51s office at (702) 798-7825.
The Cubs have recorded 14 sellouts over the past eight seasons (2005-12) for their annual Big League Weekend visits to Cashman Field.
"Once again we are excited to welcome Major League Baseball back to Las Vegas for the twenty-third year of Big League Weekend," Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said. "It is great to have the Chicago Cubs and their fans back in town again in March, and we look forward to their rematch with the American League powerhouse Texas Rangers. Las Vegas and professional baseball have been great partners for more than two decades and we're ready for another great Big League Weekend."
The Cubs, under manager Dale Sveum, compiled a 61-101 record (.377) in 2012 and finished in fifth place in the National League Central Division, 27 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds.
Starlin Castro, one of the most talented shortstops in the National League, will return for his fourth season. In 2012, he appeared in a team-high 162 games and batted .283 (183-for-646) with 29 doubles, 12 triples (ranked second in N.L.), 14 home runs, 78 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 38 attempts. Outfielder Alfonso Soriano appeared in 151 games and batted .262 (147-for-561) with 33 doubles and led the team in home runs (32) and RBI (108).
Right-hander Jeff Samardzija appeared in 28 games (all starts) and compiled a 9-13 record with a 3.81 ERA. He led the team in victories, innings pitched (174.2) and strikeouts (180). Right-hander Carlos Marmol appeared in 61 games and led the team with 20 saves and struck out 72 batters, allowed 40 hits in 55.1 innings pitched.
"We are excited to announce that the Cubs will return to Las Vegas for the ninth straight season," 51s Executive Director Don Logan said. "The Chicago fans, both locally and the tourists that visit during this event, provide a great atmosphere in the ballpark. We also welcome the Texas Rangers for their second straight visit to Las Vegas. The Rangers are a class organization and have enjoyed great success with two World Series appearances over the last three seasons."
The Rangers, under manager Ron Washington, compiled a 93-69 record (.574) in 2012 and finished in second place in the American League Western Division, one game behind the Oakland A's. The Rangers, in first place for the majority of the season, lost the division lead over the final weekend of the campaign against the A's. Baltimore then defeated the Rangers, 5-1 on Oct. 5, in the Wild Card playoff game. Texas was the two-time American League Champions (2010-11) and advanced to the World Series. In 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Rangers in game seven to capture the World Series and the Rangers lost to the San Francisco Giants in five games in the 2010 Fall Classic.
Adrian Beltre, one of the premier third baseman, appeared in 156 games and ranked third in the American League with a .321 average (194-for-604) with 33 doubles, 36 home runs and 102 RBI. Outfielder Nelson Cruz, the 2008 PCL MVP, appeared in 159 games and batted .260 (152-for-585) with a team-high 45 doubles, 24 home runs and 90 RBI.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton, a free agent and the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player, appeared in 148 games and batted .285 (160-for-562) with 31 doubles and ranked tied for second in the A.L. in home runs (43) and second in RBI (128). Shortstop Elvis Andrus appeared in 158 games and batted .286 (180-for-629) with 31 doubles, 9 triples, 62 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 31 attempts.
Left-hander Matt Harrison led the staff in starts (32), victories (18) and innings pitched (213.1) and ERA (3.29) among starters. Right-hander Yu Darvish appeared in 29 games in his inaugural major league season and compiled a 16-9 record with a 3.90 ERA. He allowed 156 hits in 191.1 innings pitched and led the staff with 221 strikeouts.
Right-hander Joe Nathan appeared in a team high 66 games and led the staff with 37 saves in 40 opportunities. He compiled a 3-5 record with a 2.80 ERA and allowed 55 hits in 64.1 innings pitched and struck out 78 batters.
The Cubs will be returning to Cashman Field for the ninth straight season and 12th all-time appearance in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend (1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).
In 2012, the Cubs total attendance for the two-day event was 18,511. The Rangers defeated the Cubs, 12-7, on March 17 before a sellout crowd of 9,889. The Cubs then defeated the Rangers, 3-2, on March 18 before a crowd of 8,622.
Texas will be making its second all-time appearance to Cashman Field for Big League Weekend.
The 51s open their 31st season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 4 against division-rival, the Sacramento River Cats, Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A's, at Sacramento, Calif. Las Vegas' home opener is against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, on Friday, April 12 at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field.
Season tickets and mini-plan packages (10 & 10-Games You Pick'em, 20, 33-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 798-7825. Individual game tickets for the 72-game home schedule will go on sale in March.
Official licensed 51s team merchandise is available on the "Team Shop" section of the website.