Chicago Cubs: New deal with South Bend Cubs announced


The City of South Bend, IN, and the Chicago Cubs made headlines on Thursdays but not for anything they did on the field.

In a move that is rarely seen with minor league affiliates, the Theo Epstein, and the Cubs’ leadership extended then already four-year contract with the South Bend Cubs all the way through the 2020 season according to the Chicago Tribune.

A team is South Bend is nothing new. As a matter of fact, they have hosted a team since 1988, including affiliations with the White Sox (1988-97) and the Diamondbacks (1998-2014). The team boasts six league titles and featured players such as Brandon Webb and Justin Upton.

However, moves to other cities threatened the relationship between the city and management.

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Chicago native Andrew T. Berlin, took over ownership of the team in November of 2011, promising to use $2.5 million of his own money to upgrade the stadium. It worked. The team and city agreed on a 20-year lease for the stadium.

Following the improvements came the Chicago Cubs, agreeing to a four-year player development contract with South Bend in September of 2014. That is now a six-year deal and unprecedented commitment.

What does this mean? Berlin stated that “Chicago recognizes that the fans in this region who welcome and follow our players are on par with the fans at Wrigley Field. And it means that our South Bend operation is living up to the promise we made about helping future Chicago Cubs players make it to the World Series someday.”

The commitment of the Cubs is a major investment in a league that generally sees two-year contracts. But, this commitment and the organization of the South Bend ownership led to the team being awarded the 42nd John H. Johnson President’s Award in 2015.

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The award requires a team to succeed in financial stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.

The new deal between South Bend and the Chicago Cubs shows the belief Theo and the Cubs’ management have in their system. Through stability and constant evaluation, the entire Cubs’ franchise is cementing themselves as baseball’s best.