SOUTH BEND – The anticipation was high Thursday morning at the St. Joseph’s County Commerce Center as officials from the Chicago Cubs and South Bend Silver Hawks owner Andrew Berlin met in front of a room packed with media and fans to announce the new name for the South Bend franchise.
Those in attendance did not have to wait long as Berlin unveiled a new logo while announcing that the team is now the South Bend Cubs.
“Affection for and loyalty to the Chicago Cubs goes back generations in this community,” stated Berlin. “We’ve listened to fans throughout the region, and this is a name that we know they are thrilled about.”
Berlin was accompanied by quite the group at the gathering. Amongst other in attendance, South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal spoke briefly about the importance of the new relationship with the Chicago franchise. Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein also spoke about what led to the Cubs signing a player development contract with South Bend.
“We have a vision for the Chicago Cubs and that is to win the World Series,” began Epstein. “The way we are going to do that is by developing young players, young men through our farm system and having them schooled in the Cubs way so that they are prepared to step on to Wrigley Field and play great baseball, championship baseball.
“To accomplish that we must master player development. That’s the most important thing we need to do. In a farm system that has around 150 players, we need help. We need partners. We need world class facilities. We need fans. We need a community. South Bend provides all of those things. Once the renovations are done at Four Winds Field, I think it will be the gold standard in Class A ball, maybe throughout the minor leagues.”
The renovations Epstein referred to focus mainly on the new batting facility that will be constructed beyond the right field wall. The facility, “The Cubs Cage” will feature new batting cages for both the home and away teams to use during pregame as well as pitching mounds. The home team clubhouse will also be getting a much needed makeover.
As far as uniforms go, fans can expect to see similar logos and colors schemes that the Chicago franchise wears at Coveleski Stadium next spring. Berlin also made a point to mention that player’s names will be included on the backs of jerseys now, something that was not done with the Silver Hawks in the past.
Epstein passed along that it is “likely” that Chicago players will be sent to South Bend for rehab stints and would not rule out the possibility of future exhibitions games being brought to The Cove.
Berlin made a point in saying that the franchise will not drift far from its Studebaker heritage. The owner said there have been talks about having themed nights at the ballpark to honor the Studebaker name as well as the Silver Hawk namesake. Berlin also mentioned that beloved team mascot, “Swoop” had “not flown the coop” to his knowledge and may still appear in 2015.
It is an exciting time for the Chicago Cubs and now the city of South Bend. More developments and renovations are in the works for the South Bend franchise and full uniform design and team logos will be released in the coming weeks.