LAS VEGAS: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and the Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, announced today the schedule for the 2014 Big League Weekend at Cashman Field.
The Chicago Cubs will make their 10th straight appearance to Las Vegas for two games against the New York Mets on Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16. Game times are 1:05 p.m. (Pacific) and both games will feature 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 nine seasons (2005-13) for their annual Big League Weekend visits to Cashman Field.
The 51s welcome their Major League affiliate to the Silver State for Big League Weekend. The Mets/51s signed a two-year Player Development Contract (PDC) on Sept. 17, 2012, through the 2014 season. In 2013, under manager Wally Backman, the 51s compiled the second-best record in the 16-team PCL with an 81-63 (.563) mark and advanced to the PCL Playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons (2002).
"It's great to continue our relationship with Major League Baseball for the twenty-fourth year of Big League Weekend," Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said. "We are excited to welcome back the Chicago Cubs and their fans, and it will be great to see them take on the New York Mets, the parent organization for our hometown Las Vegas 51s. Both teams have a great following and it will be another fantastic weekend of big league baseball at Cashman Field."
The Cubs, under manager Dale Sveum, compiled a 66-96 record (.407) in 2013 and finished in fifth place in the National League Central Division, 31 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals (97-65, .599). The Cubs, on November 7, 2013, announced the hiring of new manager Rick Renteria.
"We are excited to announce that the Cubs will return to Las Vegas for the 10th straight season and we also welcome the Mets, our Major League affiliate," 51s President/COO Don Logan said. "We thank the Mets organization for traveling across country (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) for 2014 Big League Weekend. It's been 16 years (1997) since the Mets last played in Las Vegas and it will provide a great atmosphere in the ballpark for all of the Mets and Cubs fans, both locally and the tourists that will visit during this event.
"This will also provide great exposure for the city of Las Vegas with broadcasts to two of the top three television markets in the country (New York #1 & Chicago #3)."
Starlin Castro, one of the most talented shortstops in the National League, will return for his fifth season with the Cubs. In 2013, he appeared in a team-high 161 games and was the team leader in at-bats (666) and hits (163). He batted .245 with 34 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI. First baseman Anthony Rizzo led the team in doubles (40), home runs (23) and RBI (80) and ranked second in games played (160), at-bats (606) and hits (141).
Left-hander and N.L. All-Star Travis Wood led the staff in victories (9) and ERA (3.11). He ranked second in starts (32), innings pitched (200.0) and strikeouts (144). Right-hander Jeff Samardzija led the staff with 33 starts and compiled an 8-13 record with a 4.34 ERA. He also led the team in innings pitched (213.2) and strikeouts (214).
The Mets, under manager Terry Collins, compiled a 74-88 record (.457) in 2013 and finished in third place in the National League East Division, 22 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves (96-66, .593).
Third baseman David Wright, one of the premier third baseman in the National League, is the cornerstone player for the Mets. In 2013, he appeared in 112 games and was the team-leader with a .307 batting average (132-for-430) with 23 doubles, 6 triples, 18 home runs and 58 RBI. Second baseman Daniel Murphy led the team in games played (161), at-bats and hits (.286, 188-for-658), doubles (38) and RBI (78). He also ranked second with 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts.
Outfielder Eric Young, acquired in a trade from Colorado on June 19, appeared in 91 games for the Mets and batted .251 (94-for-374) and led the team with 38 stolen bases (45 attempts). Overall, in 148 games, he led the National League with 46 stolen bases (57 attempts).
Right-hander Matt Harvey appeared in 26 games and compiled a 9-5 record with a team-best 2.27 ERA. He allowed 135 hits and struck out a team-high 191 batters in 178.1 innings pitched. He underwent Tommy John Surgery on Oct. 22 to repair a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will miss the 2014 season.
Right-hander Dillon Gee led the staff in victories (12), starts (32) and innings pitched (199.0). He allowed 208 hits and struck out 142 batters with a 3.62 ERA.
Right-hander Zack Wheeler, the Mets' Top Prospect according to Baseball America, began the 2013 campaign with Triple-A Las Vegas. He appeared in 13 games for the 51s and compiled a 4-2 record with a 3.93 ERA. He allowed 61 hits and struck out 73 batters in 68.2 innings pitched. He was promoted to the Mets in mid-season and appeared in 17 games and compiled a 7-5 record with a 3.42 ERA. He allowed 90 hits and struck out 84 batters in 100.0 innings pitched.
The Mets recalled a total of 19 players from Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2013 season. Most notable players included: catcher Travis d'Arnaud, outfielder Matt den Dekker, infielder Wilmer Flores, outfielder Juan Lagares, infielder Zach Lutz, infielder Josh Satin and right-hander Carlos Torres.
The Cubs will be returning to Cashman Field for the 10th straight season and 13th all-time appearance in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend (1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
In 2013, the Cubs total attendance for the two-day event was 17,807. The Cubs defeated the Rangers, 5-1, on March 16 before a crowd of 9,005. The Rangers then defeated the Cubs, 8-5, on March 17 before a crowd of 8,802.
The Mets will be making their second all-time appearance to Cashman Field for Big League Weekend. New York played two games in 1997 and defeated Seattle, 4-0, on March 29 (11,310) and Boston defeated the Mets, 8-7, on March 30 before a crowd of 7,546.
The 51s open their 32nd season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 3 against the Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field.
2014 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.