LAS VEGAS: The Las Vegas Aviators® professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics and 2019 Pacific Southern Division Champions, announced today the schedule for the 2020 Big League Weekend at Las Vegas Ballpark®.
Las Vegas Big League Weekend is back! In 2019, BLW took a one-year hiatus due to construction deadlines and completion of the Las Vegas Ballpark for the PCL season which began in April.
The Cleveland Indians will face the Oakland Athletics on Saturday-Sunday, February 29 - March 1. Game times for the Spring Training series are at 1:05 p.m. (PT).
The Cincinnati Reds will then face the Chicago Cubs in a two-game series on Saturday-Sunday, March 7-8 at 1:05 p.m. (PT). Times are subject to change due to TV. Big League Weekend ticket packages are available NOW by calling the Aviators office at (702) 939-7200. BLW individual game tickets will go on sale in early 2020 (date TBA).
Cleveland will make their third all-time appearance (1998, 2018) in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend. 2018 BLW featured a rematch of the 2016 World Series. The Cubs captured the World Series championship for the first time in then-108 years (1908) in a thrilling seven-game series against the Indians.
The Cubs defeated the Indians, 11-4, on March 17, 2018 before a sellout crowd of 10,651 at Cashman Field. The Indians then defeated the Cubs, 11-4, on March 18, 2018 before a sellout crowd of 10,774.
Oakland will make its sixth all-time appearance to Las Vegas (1994, 1997, 2000, 2015). The Athletics also played the first six games of the 1996 Major League Baseball season (April 1, 3-7) at Cashman Field due to construction delays in their home stadium. The games marked the first time ever that an MLB season opener was held at a minor league park.
The A's last appearance was in 2015 in a two-game series against Chicago. The Cubs defeated the A's twice: 5-3 on March 13, 2015 before a crowd of 8,007 at Cashman Field and 3-1 on March 14, 2015 before a sellout crowd of 10,375.
"We are excited to welcome back Big League Weekend to Las Vegas Ballpark," Aviators President/COO Don Logan said. "This year will feature four great teams over two weekends of Major League Baseball for a total of four games
"We welcome our major league affiliate, the Oakland Athletics, who will face Cleveland and the Cubs will be making their 18th all-time appearance in Las Vegas against the Reds. Las Vegas Ballpark will provide an outstanding atmosphere and environment for Big League Weekend.
"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."
LAS VEGAS STARS/51s/AVIATORS INDIANS CONNECTION: Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland First Base 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.
The Indians, under manager Terry Francona, compiled an overall record of 93-69 (.574) in 2019 and finished in second place in the American League Central, 8.0 games behind the Minnesota Twins (101-61, .623).
The Athletics, under manager Bob Melvin, compiled an overall record of 97-65 (.599) for the second straight season (2018-19) and finished in second place in the American League West, 10.0 games behind the Houston Astros who compiled an MLB-best 107-55 record (.660). The A's lost to Tampa Bay, 5-1, on October 2 in the A.L. wild-card round.
The Aviators welcome their Major League affiliate to the Silver State for Big League Weekend. The 2019 Aviators, under PCL Manager of the Year Fran Riordan, compiled the second-best record in the 16-team PCL (83-57, .593) and the Aviators captured the Pacific Southern Division Championship. Las Vegas returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and lost to Sacramento, 3-games-to-2, in the conference championship series. The 83-57 record marked a single-season franchise record for winning percentage at .593 (140-game season).
In 2019, 14 players from Triple-A Las Vegas were promoted to the A's, who began the season in the minor leagues. Most notable players included: Skye Bolt (OF), Paul Blackburn (RHP), Seth Brown (INF/OF), Corban Joseph (INF), Jesús Luzardo (LHP), Daniel Mengden (RHP), Sean Murphy (C), Sheldon Neuse (INF), A.J. Puk (LHP).
Shortstop Marcus Semien appeared in a team-high 162 games for the A's in 2019 and batted .285 (187-for-657) with 83 extra-base hits (43 doubles, 7 triples, 33 home runs) and 92 RBI. He led the team in games played, hits (5th in A.L.), at-bats (2nd in A.L.), runs scored (123, 3rd in A.L.), extra-base hits (3rd in A.L.), doubles (3rd in A.L.), triples, RBI, total bases (343, 2nd in A.L.).
American League All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman appeared in 156 games in 2019 and batted .249 (145-for-583) with 75 extra-base hits (36 doubles, 3 triples, 36 home runs) and 91 RBI. He is a two-time recipient (2018-19) of American League Rawlings Platinum Glove Award; two-time A.L. Gold Glove award at third base and second consecutive Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor , four-time A.L. All-Star (2016-19), appeared in 143 games for Cleveland in 2019 and batted .284 (170-for-598, team leader in hits and at bats) with 74 extra-base hits (40 doubles, team leader, 2 triples, 32 home runs), 74 RBI, 22 stolen bases and team-leader with 310 total bases. He also earned his second career Gold Glove and was a 2017 Silver Slugger Award recipient.
In 2018, Lindor became the first shortstop in MLB history and first in Indians history with at least 35 home runs, 40 doubles and 20 stolen bases in a single season.
First baseman Carlos Santana , 2019 A.L. All-Star, appeared in a team-high 158 games for Cleveland and batted .281 (161-for-573) with 65 extra-base hits (30 doubles, triple, 34 home runs) and 93 RBI.
The Cubs will be returning to Las Vegas for their 18th all-time appearance for Big League Weekend (1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). Chicago also made 14 straight appearances to Cashman Field from 2005-18
The Cubs recorded a total of 22 sellouts over 14 seasons (2005-18) for their annual Big League Weekend visits to Cashman Field.
Chicago, under manager Joe Maddon, compiled a record of 84-78 (.519) in 2019 and finished in third place in the National League Central Division, 7.0 games behind St. Louis Cardinals (91-71, .562).
The Cubs, on October 24, 2019, hired David Ross as manager. Ross was a member of the 2016 World Series championship team and played for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s from 2002-03, as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Las Vegan Kris Bryant , appeared in 147 games for the Cubs in 2019 and batted .282 (153-for-543) with 67 extra-base hits (35 doubles, triple, 31 home runs) and 77 RBI.
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 (58 years ago). Bryant led all MLB rookies in doubles, home runs and RBI.
The three-time N.L. All-Star third baseman has also appeared in the last five Big League Weekends in the Silver State (2014-18). He belted two home runs (2-for-2, 3 RBI) against Oakland on March 14, 2015 at Cashman Field. In 2018, he appeared in two games against Cleveland and was 2-for-5.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo , a three-time N.L. All-Star (2014-16), appeared in 146 games for the Cubs in 2019 and batted .293 (150-for-512) with 69 extra-base hits (29 doubles, 3 triples, 27 home runs) and 94 RBI.
Left-hander Jon Lester was tied for the team lead with 31 starts in 2019 and posted a 13-10 record with a 4.46 ERA. He allowed 205 hits and struck out 165 batters in 171.2 innings pitched.
Cincinnati will be making its fourth all-time appearance for Big League Weekend (2010, 2011, 2017). The Reds' last appearance was in 2017 with a two-game series against the Cubs at Cashman Field. Chicago defeated Cincinnati twice: 11-7 on March 25 before a sellout crowd of 11,455 and 22-4 on March 26 before another sellout crowd of 11,285.
Cincinnati, under manager David Bell, compiled a record of 75-87 (.463) in 2019 and finished in fourth in the National League Central Division, 16.0 games behind St. Louis Cardinals (91-71, .562).
Third baseman Eugenio Suarez appeared in 159 games for Cincinnati in 2019 and batted .271 (156-for-575) with 73 extra-base hits (22 doubles, 2 triples, 49 home runs) and 103 RBI. He led the Reds in games played, at bats, runs scored (87), hits, extra-base hits, home runs, RBI and total bases (329).
Suarez ranked second in the National League in home runs to Pete Alonso (53, New York Mets); 8th in slugging percentage (.572); 6th in total bases; 10th in RBI.
First baseman Joey Votto , six-time N.L. All-Star and 2010 N.L. MVP, appeared in 142 games for Cincinnati in 2019 and batted .261 (137-for-525) with 48 extra-base hits (32 doubles, triple, 15 home runs) and 47 RBI.
Right-hander Luis Castillo , 2019 N.L. All-Star., appeared in 32 games (all starts) and posted a 15-8 record with a 3.40 ERA. He allowed 139 hits and struck out 226 batters in 190.2 innings pitched. He led the staff in starts, victories, innings pitched and strikeouts. Castillo ranked 5th in the N.L. in victories; 9th in strikeouts; 10th in winning percentage (.652).
The Aviators will open their 38th campaign in the Silver State in both the season and home opener on Thursday, April 9 against the Albuquerque Isotopes, Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, at Las Vegas Ballpark®.
The Aviators led all 2019 minor league baseball in attendance with a total of 650,934 for an average of 9,299 in 70 dates which included 47 sellouts.
Las Vegas Ballpark was named winner of the 2019 MiLB Triple-A Best of the Ballparks Fan Vote; winner of BaseballParks.com 20th Annual Ballpark of the Year Award; honored as Ballpark of the Year and Aviators Team of the Year by Ballpark Digest.
2020 full season, half season and quarter season tickets are on sale and the phone number is (702) 939-7200.
Official licensed Aviators team merchandise is available on the "Team Shop" section of the website and the Aviators Team Store is located at Las Vegas Ballpark, 1650 S. Pavilion Center Drive.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.