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 2015 National League Champion New York Mets, announced today the schedule for the 2016 Big League Weekend at Cashman Field.
The Chicago Cubs will make their 12th straight appearance to Las Vegas for two games against the New York Mets on Thursday-Friday, March 31 - April 1.
REVISED: The Chicago Cubs Media Relations Department announced their Spring Training Broadcast Schedule on January 27: Game times are Thursday, March 31 at 5:05 p.m. (televised by Comcast SportsNet Chicago) and Friday, April 1 at 1:05 p.m. (televised by WGN). Big League Weekend ticket packages are available NOW by calling the 51s office at (702) 798-7825.
The two-game Spring Training series will feature a rematch of the 2015 National League Championship series. The Cubs will open the 2016 campaign on Monday, April 4 against the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, Calif. and the Mets open on Sunday, April 3 at Kansas City against the Royals (ESPN). Both teams will travel to Las Vegas with their potential 25-man rosters for "Opening Day."
The Cubs have recorded 16 sellouts over the past 11 seasons (2005-15) 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 51s have compiled a three-year record of 239-193 (.553) as the Mets top affiliate (2013-15) which included back-to-back Pacific Conference Southern Division Titles (2013 & 2014, 81-63 record each season) under manager Wally Backman.
In 2015, the Mets advanced to the World Series for the first time in 15 years (2000). A total of 11 players on the World Series 25-man roster played with Triple-A Las Vegas over the past three seasons. The players include: Travis d'Arnaud (catcher), Jacob deGrom (RHP), Lucas Duda (1B), Jeurys Familia (RHP), Wilmer Flores (SS), Juan Lagares (OF), Steven Matz (LHP), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (OF), Kevin Plawecki (catcher), Hansel Robles (RHP), Noah Syndergaard (RHP). In addition, three former 51s players also appeared on the N.L.D.S. & N.L.C.S. rosters (Erik Goeddel, Matt Reynolds, Ruben Tejeda).
The Mets will be making their third all-time appearance to Cashman Field for Big League Weekend. The Mets faced the Cubs for two games in 2014. New York defeated Chicago, 9-4, on March 15 (9,106) and the Cubs then defeated the Mets, 6-3, on March 16 before a sellout crowd of 10,408.
"Big League Weekend has become an incredible tradition here in Las Vegas, and we're very excited to have Major League Baseball back for the 26th year," Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said. "This year's games are taking Big League Weekend to a new level by having a rematch of last year's National League Championship Series. Having the Cubs battle the Mets for their final spring training games will be a great treat for the fans."
The Cubs, under Joe Maddon (2015 N.L. Manager of the Year), compiled a 97-65 record (.599) in 2015 and finished in third place in the toughest division in baseball (National League Central Division), three games behind first-place St. Louis (100-62, .617). The top three records in MLB all came from the N.L. Central: Cardinals, Pittsburgh (98-64, .605) and Chicago.
Chicago defeated Pittsburgh, 4-0, in the N.L. wild-card game on October 7. The Cubs then defeated St. Louis, 3-games-to-1, in the N.L.D.S and lost to the Mets, 4-games-to-0, in the N.L.C.S.
"We are excited to announce that the Cubs will return to Las Vegas for the 12th straight season and we also welcome our Major League affiliate, the New York Mets," 51s President/COO Don Logan said. "We thank the Mets organization for traveling across country (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) to conclude their Spring Training schedule in Las Vegas. These two games 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.
"It will also give all of our 51s fans the opportunity to see the former 51s players returning to Cashman Field that helped lead the Mets to the 2015 National League championship.
"Big League Weekend provides 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)."
Las Vegan Kris Bryant, the 2015 Sporting News & BBWAA National League Rookie of the Year, appeared in 151 games for the Cubs and batted .275 (154-for-559) with 62 extra-base hits (31 doubles, 5 triples, 26 home runs) and established Cubs rookie records in home runs and RBI (99). Hall of Famer Billy Williams previously held the Cubs rookie home run record with 25 in 1961 (54 years ago). Bryant led all MLB rookies in doubles, home runs and RBI.
The N.L. All-Star third baseman has also appeared in the 2014 & 2015 Big League Weekend games. He belted two home runs (2-for-2, 3 RBI) against Oakland on March 14, 2015 at Cashman Field.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo, a 2014 & 2015 N.L. All-Star, led the team in games played (160, N.L. leader), doubles, (38), home runs (31), extra-base hits (72) and RBI (101). He batted .278 (163-for-586) and ranked second on the team with 17 stolen bases.
Shortstop/second baseman Starlin Castro recorded another solid season. He appeared in 151 games and batted .265 (145-for-547) with 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 69 RBI.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler appeared in 156 games and batted .250 (149-for-596) with 29 doubles, 17 home runs, 46 RBI and team leader in stolen bases (20), triples (8) and at-bats.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta, the 2015 N.L. Cy Young Award winner, appeared in 33 games and led the Major Leagues with a 22-6 record and a 1.77 ERA (2nd in N.L.). He allowed 150 hits and struck out 236 batters in 229.0 innings pitched (2nd in N.L.). He recorded a complete-game, five-hit shutout (0 BB/11 SO) against Pittsburgh in the N.L. wild-card game on October 7 (Cubs, W 4-0).
The Mets, under manager Terry Collins, compiled a 90-72 record (.556) in 2015 and finished in first place in the National League East Division, seven games in front of Washington (83-79). New York returned to the post-season for the first time since 2006. The Mets defeated Los Angeles 3-games-to-2 in the N.L.D.S. and swept the Cubs 4-games-to-0 in the N.L.C.S. Kansas City defeated New York 4-games-to-1 in the World Series.
Right-hander deGrom, a 2015 National League All-Star, was tied for the team-lead with 14 victories (14-8) and led the starters with a 2.54 ERA. He appeared in 30 games and allowed 149 hits and struck out 205 batters (team leader) in 191.0 innings pitched. He recorded three victories in the post-season including defeating Los Angeles on Oct. 9 (7 shutout innings, 5 H/1 BB/13 SO).
Outfielder Curtis Granderson led the Mets offense with a solid season. He was the team leader in games played (157), at-bats (580), runs scored (98), extra-base hits (61), hits (150) and walks (91). He batted .259 and ranked second in doubles (33) and home runs (26).
First baseman Duda appeared in 135 games and batted .244 (115-for-471) with 33 doubles and led the team in home runs (27) and RBI (73, tied for team lead).
Second baseman Daniel Murphy appeared in 130 games and batted .281 (140-for-499) and was the team leader in doubles (38), 14 home runs and tied for team lead in RBI (73). He batted .529 (9-for-17) with 4 HR, 6 RBI in the N.L.C.S. and recorded 7 HR and 11 RBI in 14 post-season games.
Right-hander Syndergaard began the season with Triple-A Las Vegas and was promoted to the big leagues on May 9 (3-0 record/1.82 ERA with Las Vegas). He appeared in 24 games for New York and posted a 9-7 record with a 3.24 ERA. He allowed 126 hits and struck out 166 batters in 150.0 innings pitched. He was the winning pitcher in Game #3 of the World Series vs. Kansas City on October 30 at Citi Field (6 IP/7 H/3 ER/2 BB/6 SO).
Right-hander Matt Harvey, 2015 N.L. Comeback Player of the Year, appeared in 29 games and posted a 13-8 record with a 2.71 ERA. He allowed 156 hits and struck out 188 batters in 189.1 innings pitched.
Right-hander Familia ranked third in the N.L. with 43 saves (48 opportunities). He appeared in 76 games and posted a 2-2 record with a 1.85 ERA. He allowed 59 hits and struck out 86 batters in 78.0 innings pitched.
The Cubs will be returning to Cashman Field for the 12th straight season and 15th all-time appearance in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend (1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).
In 2015, the Cubs total attendance for the Big League Weekend two-day event was 18,382. The Cubs defeated Oakland, 5-3, behind right-hander Arrieta on March 13 before a crowd of 8,007. The Cubs then defeated the A's, 3-1, led by Bryant's two homers on March 14 before a sellout crowd of 10,375.
The 51s will open their 34th season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 7 against the defending PCL & Triple-A Champions, Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, at Cashman Field at 7:05 p.m.
2016 season tickets and mini-plan packages (11, 22, 36-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.