The Chicago Cubs will make their seventh straight appearance to Las Vegas for two games against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, March 12 and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, March 13 at Cashman Field. The two-day event, that will have split-squads, will feature 1:05 p.m. (PST) starts. Big League Weekend ticket packages are available NOW by calling the 51s office at (702) 798-7825.
The Cubs have recorded 12 straight sellouts over the past six seasons (2005-10) for their annual Big League Weekend visits to Cashman Field.
"We are excited to continue our tradition of hosting Major League Baseball with the return of Big League Weekend this spring," said Rossi Ralenkotter, President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "Once again, we will have the ever-popular Chicago Cubs and their tremendous fan base, as well as the storied franchises of the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers. It makes for a great weekend of baseball."
The Cubs, under managers Lou Piniella and Mike Quade, compiled a 75-87 record (.463) in 2010 and finished in fifth place in the National League Central Division, 16 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds. Quade, former manager of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, was named the Cubs' skipper for the 2011 season on Oct. 19, 2010. He guided the Cubs to a 24-13 record over the final six weeks of the season.
The nucleus of the Cubs offense will return in 2011. All-Star outfielder Marlon Byrd appeared in a team-high 152 games and batted .293 (170-for-580) with 39 doubles, 12 home runs and 66 RBI. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez appeared in 124 games and batted .241 (112-for-465) and led the team in home runs (25) and RBI (83). Outfielder Alfonso Soriano appeared in 147 games and batted .258 (128-for-496) with a team-high 40 doubles and 24 home runs and 79 RBI. Catcher Geovanny Soto, the 2007 PCL MVP, appeared in 105 games and batted .280 (90-for-322) with 19 doubles, 17 home runs and 53 RBI. Second baseman Blake DeWitt, member of the 51s in 2008, appeared in a combined total of 135 games with the Dodgers/Cubs and batted .261 (115-for-44) with 24 doubles and 52 RBI.
Right-hander Ryan Dempster led the Cubs with a 15-12 record and a 3.85 ERA. He was the team leader in starts (34), innings pitched (215.1) and strikeouts (208). Right-hander Carlos Zambrano appeared in 36 games and compiled an 11-6 record with a 3.33 ERA in 129.2 innings pitched. Right-hander Carlos Marmol appeared in 77 games and led the team with 38 saves and struck out 138 batters, allowed 40 hits in 77.2 innings pitched.
"We are excited to announce that the Cubs will return to Las Vegas for the seventh straight season," 51s General Manager Don Logan said. "The Chicago fans, both locally and the tourists that visit during this event, provide a great atmosphere in the ballpark. The Reds also have a great baseball tradition and enjoyed an outstanding season under manager Dusty Baker in 2010. Joey Votto is one of the premier players in baseball and he was well deserving of the N.L. MVP award.
"The Dodgers have a tremendous following in Southern Nevada and the nucleus of their team played for the 51s before excelling on the Major League level."
The Cincinnati Reds, under manager Dusty Baker, compiled a 91-71 record (.562) in 2010 and captured the National League Central Division. The Reds returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 1995 season. The Reds lost to Philadelphia 3-games-to-0 in the N.L.D.S.
The Reds boasted three N.L. Gold Glove Award winners and committed the fewest errors in the N.L. and had the second best fielding percentage.
First baseman Joey Votto, the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player (received 31 out of a possible 32 first-place votes and 443 points), compiled an outstanding season and ranked first in the N.L. in slugging percentage (.600) and second in batting average (.324, 177-for-547). He appeared in 150 games and recorded 36 doubles, 37 home runs and 113 RBI. Brandon Phillips, the premier N.L. second baseman, earned a Gold Glove Award (2nd overall) and appeared in a team-leading 155 games and batted .275 (172-for-626) with 33 doubles, 18 home runs and 59 RBI.
Third baseman Scott Rolen also earned a Gold Glove Award (8th overall) and appeared in 133 games and batted .285 (134-for-471) with 34 doubles, 20 home runs and 83 RBI. A trio of outfielders also recorded solid seasons to help lead the Reds to the division title. Jay Bruce appeared in 148 games and batted .281 (143-for-509) with 23 doubles, 25 home runs and 70 RBI; Jonny Gomes appeared in 148 games and batted .266 (136-for-501) with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 86 RBI and Drew Stubbs appeared in 150 games and batted .255 (131-for-514) with 19 doubles, 22 home runs, 77 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
Right-hander Bronson Arroyo led the staff with a 17-10 record and 215.2 innings pitched. The N.L. Gold Glove Award winner (1st overall), appeared in 33 games and recorded a 3.88 ERA. Right-hander Francisco Cordero appeared in 75 games and led the staff with 40 saves (third in N.L.). He compiled a 6-5 record with a 3.84 ERA and struck out 59 batters in 72.2 innings pitched.
The Dodgers, under manager Joe Torre, compiled an 80-82 record (.494) in 2010 and finished in fourth place in the National League West, 12 games behind the first-place and World Series Champion, San Francisco Giants. Don Mattingly was named the Dodgers manager for the 2011 season on Sept. 17, 2010.
The nucleus of the Dodgers team spent time at Triple-A Las Vegas that includes right-handed pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton; outfielder Andre Ethier; first baseman James Loney and outfielder Matt Kemp.
Kemp, who played for the 51s in 2006-07, appeared in a team-high 162 games for the Dodgers in 2010 and batted .249 (150-for-602) with 25 doubles and was the team-leader in home runs (28) and RBI (89). Loney appeared in 161 games and batted .267 (157-for-588) with 10 home runs and 88 RBI and team-leader with 41 doubles. He played two seasons for Las Vegas (2006-07) and was the 2006 PCL Batting Champion with a franchise record .380 average (led all of the minor leagues). Ethier appeared in 139 games and batted .292 (151-for-517) with 33 doubles, 23 home runs and 82 RBI.
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw led the pitching staff in victories (13-11), starts (32), innings pitched (204.1), strikeouts (212) and ERA (2.91). Billingsley started in 31 games and compiled a 12-11 record with a 3.57 ERA. He struck out 171 batters in 191.2 innings pitched. Broxton appeared in 64 games and led the staff with 22 saves in 29 opportunities. He compiled a 5-6 record with a 4.04 ERA and struck out 73 batters in 62.1 innings pitched.
The Cubs will be returning to Cashman Field for the seventh straight season and 10th all-time appearance in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend (1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
Cincinnati will be making its second straight appearance to Las Vegas. The Reds defeated the L.A. Dodgers, 12-4, on March 31, 2010 before a sellout crowd of 11,896.
The Dodgers will return to Cashman Field for the second straight season and sixth time overall appearance (2001-03, '06, '10). The Las Vegas 51s were the top farm club of the Dodgers for eight seasons (2001-08).
The 51s open their 29th season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 7 against the Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, at Fresno, Calif. Las Vegas' home opener is Friday, April 15 against Fresno at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field.
Season tickets and mini-plan packages (10, 20, 33-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 798-7825.