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 2018 Big League Weekend at Cashman Field.
The Chicago Cubs will make their 14th straight appearance in Las Vegas for a two-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday-Sunday, March 17-18.
Game times for the Spring Training series are 4:05 p.m. (PT) on Saturday, March 17 and 1:05 p.m. (PT) on Sunday, March 18. Game times are subject to change due to television. Big League Weekend ticket packages are available NOW by calling the 51s office at (702) 943-7200.
The Cubs have recorded a total of 20 sellouts over the past 13 seasons (2005-17) for their annual Big League Weekend visits to Cashman Field.
The Cleveland Indians will make their second all-time appearance in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend. Cleveland defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 13-7, on March 29, 1998 before a sellout crowd of 12,974 at Cashman Field.
Big League Weekend will feature a rematch of the 2016 World Series. The Cubs captured the World Series championship for the first time in 108 years (1908) in a thrilling seven-game series against the Indians.
The Cubs, trailing 3-games-to-1, won the final three games of the series to capture the '16 fall classic, the first team to come back from a 3-games-to-1 deficit since Kansas City in 1985 (vs. St. Louis). Chicago also became just the fourth team in World Series history (trailing 3-games-to-1) to win the final two games on the road, the first since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (vs. Baltimore).
In 2017, the Cubs total attendance for the Big League Weekend two-day event was 22,740. The Cubs defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 11-7, on March 25 before a sellout crowd of 11,455. The Cubs then defeated the Reds, 22-4, on Saturday, March 26 before another sellout crowd of 11,285.
"We are excited to welcome Major League Baseball back to Las Vegas for the 28th year of Big League Weekend in March 2018," Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said. "The Cubs and Indians will provide a great matchup for fans and Las Vegas will provide a great experience for visitors coming to see the games."
The Cubs, under manager Joe Maddon, compiled a record of 92-70 (.568) and finished in first place in the National League Central Division.
Chicago defeated Washington, 3-games-to-2, in the N.L.D.S. and advanced to its third straight N.L.C.S. The Los Angeles Dodgers then defeated the Cubs, 4-games-to-1, to advance to the World Series.
"We are excited to announce that the Cubs will return to Las Vegas for the 14th straight season," 51s President/COO Don Logan said. "We also welcome the Cleveland Indians back to Las Vegas for their second all-time visit to Big League Weekend.
"This two-game series will feature a rematch of the 2016 World Series, one of the most memorable fall classics in history. The games will provide a great atmosphere in the ballpark. The fans, both locally and the tourists that visit during this event, will have a memorable time. The Cubs continue to have such a tremendous nationwide fan-base and Las Vegas has become a 'second' Spring Training home for them.
"Big League Weekend also provides great exposure for Las Vegas with the games being broadcast into Chicago, the #3 media market in the country and Cleveland (#17 media market)."
The Cubs will be returning to Cashman Field for the 14th straight season and 17th all-time appearance in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend (1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
Las Vegan Kris Bryant , appeared in 151 games for the Cubs in 2017 and batted .295 (162-for-549) with 71 extra-base hits, team leader (38 doubles, 4 triples, 29 home runs) and 73 RBI. He ranked third in the N.L. in bases on balls (95); fifth in runs scored (111) and fifth in on base percentage (.409).
He captured the 2016 N.L. MVP award and appeared in 155 games (tied for team lead) and batted .292 (176-for-603) with 77 extra-base hits (35 doubles, 3 triples, 39 home runs, 3rd in N.L.) and 102 RBI. He led the N.L. with 121 runs scored and ranked third in total bases (334).
In 2015, Bryant captured the N.L. Rookie of the Year and batted .275 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 two-time N.L. All-Star third baseman has also appeared in the last four Big League Weekends in the Silver State (2014-17). He belted two home runs (2-for-2, 3 RBI) against Oakland on March 14, 2015 at Cashman Field. In 2017, he appeared in two games against the Reds and was 3-for-5, two doubles, HR, 2 RBI.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo , a three-time N.L. All-Star (2014-16), appeared in 157 games (team leader) for the Cubs and batted .273 (156-for-572) with 67 extra-base hits (32 doubles, 3 triples, team-leader with 32 HR) and 109 RBI, ranked fifth in the N.L.
Infielder Javier Baez appeared in 145 games and batted .273 (128-for-469) with 24 doubles, 23 home runs and 75 RBI.
Left-hander Jon Lester led the staff in starts (32) and posted a 13-8 record with a 4.33 ERA. He allowed 179 hits and struck out 180 batters (team leader) in 180.2 innings pitched (team leader).
Right-hander Jake Arrieta appeared in 30 games (all starts) and posted a 14-10 record (team leader in victories) with a 3.53 ERA (ranked tied for ninth in the N.L.). He allowed 150 hits and struck out 163 batters in 168.1 innings pitched.
Right-hander Wade Davis , a 2017 N.L. All-Star, appeared in 59 games and posted a 4-2 record with a 2.30 ERA and ranked third in the N.L. with 32 saves (33 opportunities). He allowed 39 hits and struck out 79 batters in 58.2 innings pitched.
The Indians, under manager Terry Francona, compiled an American League best 102-60 record (.630) and finished in first place in the Central Division. Cleveland, the 2016 A.L. Champions, had the second-best record in Major League Baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers compiled a MLB-best record of 104-58 (.642).
Cleveland established an A.L. record of 22 consecutive victories from August 24 - September 14 and compiled a record of 27-1 from August 24 - September 21. The 1916 New York Giants hold the Major League record with 26 straight wins.
The New York Yankees defeated Cleveland, 3-games-to-2, in the A.L.D.S.
LAS VEGAS STARS/51s/INDIANS CONNECTION: Sandy Alomar, Jr., Cleveland First Base/Catching Coach, played for the Las Vegas Stars for two seasons. The catcher is the only player in franchise history to capture back-to-back PCL MVP awards in 1988 (.297, 16 HR, 71 RBI) & 1989 (.306, 13 HR, 101 RBI). Brad Mills, Cleveland Bench Coach, was the 2002 PCL Manager of the Year. He led the 51s to a franchise-best 85-59 record (.590) as the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Infielder Edwin Encarnacion (2010) and catcher Yan Gomes (2011-12) were members of the 51s as the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Infielder Jose Ramirez led the Indians offense and ranked fourth in the A.L. with a .318 average (186-for-585) with 83 RBI and led the A.L. in doubles (56) and extra-base hits (91: 56 2B, 6 3B, 29 HR); ranked third in slugging percentage (.583), second in total bases (341) and had 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor ranked third in the A.L. in games played (159) and extra-base hits (81: 44 doubles, 4 triples, 33 home runs) with 89 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts. He batted .273 (178-for-651) and led the A.L. in at bats.
Designated hitter/first baseman Encarnacion appeared in 157 games and batted .258 (143-for-554) with 20 doubles and led the team in home runs (38), RBI (107) and ranked second in the A.L. with 104 bases on balls.
First baseman Carlos Santana appeared in 154 games and batted .259 (148-for-571) with 37 doubles, 23 home runs and 79 RBI.
Right-hander Corey Kluber , the 2017 A.L. Cy Young Award winner, led the A.L. with a 2.25 ERA and ranked tied for first with 18 wins (18-4 record), along with teammate Carlos Carrasco . He appeared in 29 games and also ranked tied for first in the A.L. in complete games (5) and shutouts (3). He allowed 141 hits and struck out 265 batters (ranked second in the A.L.) in 203.2 innings pitched (team leader).
Right-hander Carrasco led the staff with 32 starts and posted a 18-6 record with a 3.29 ERA (ranked sixth in the A.L.). He allowed 173 hits and struck out 226 batters in 200.0 innings pitched.
Right-hander Trevor Bauer appeared in 32 games (started 31) and posted a 17-9 record with a 4.19 ERA. He allowed 181 hits and struck out 196 batters in 176.1 innings pitched.
The 51s will open their 36th season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 5 against the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, at Cashman Field at 7:05 p.m.
2018 season tickets and mini-plan packages (11, 22, 35-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 943-7200. Individual game tickets for the 70-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.