The Cubs have the day off today, but the start of the regular season looms only nine days away! During those nine days, the Cubs play eight remaining spring games before opening the season in Miami against the Marlins on March 29. Only two of those remaining eight spring games are at Sloan Park -this Friday and Saturday.
Over the past five days the Cubs played seven games…two of those in Las Vegas, three at Sloan Park, one at Camelback Ranch and the other in Goodyear. Below are photos from the three games played at Sloan Park, which includes Saturday’s game on St. Patrick’s Day. The Cubs three game total attendance for those contests at Sloan Park – 46,855!
Three spring games, 46,855 fans, that is really amazing when you think about it. For example the Arizona Coyotes played three regular season NHL home hockey games during that same time frame, their three game total – 41,550. The New York Yankees over in the Grapefruit League totaled 29,893 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa Florida during their last three home games. Of course most of us know this but, the Chicago Cubs (and fans) are simply a phenomenon!
While writing that attendance number, it occurred to me that because the Cubs are the #1 spring training draw and have been (give or take) for the past 30 plus years, I’ve likely talked over the public address microphone to more spring training baseball fans than anyone in history. Sure, that might be a small claim to fame, but it’s pretty cool nevertheless. Writer Jim Walsh of the East Valley Tribune came out to Sloan Park and hung out with me for a game, he then wrote this article.
As the Cubs time in the Cactus League winds down, I ponder the end of another spring training. When I first started doing the spring public address announcing for the Cubs back in 1984, I never envisioned that I’d still be doing it 35 years later. I love baseball, it’s a fantastic game, but for me what makes this time of year so incredibly special is all the great people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made. Life doesn’t always go as planned, but sometimes you get lucky and it ends up even better than you imagined!
Enjoy the photos from John Antonoff!