The Chicago Cubs have a storied history, one that took a decided upturn in 2016 when the team broke a 108-year drought and won its first World Series in more than a century. A great deal of the team's strength comes from its well-established minor league system, which includes nine Minor League Baseball affiliates, spread throughout the United States and the Dominican Republic.
If you're a Cubs fan but don't live in Chicago — or if you plan to do some traveling — read on to learn about the minor league clubs associated with the team, including what ballparks they play in, amenities, and stadium features.
This AAA affiliate plays at Principal Park in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, in the Pacific Coast League. The club's 11,5000-seat park, which sits at the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, offers views of the Iowa State Capitol and downtown Des Moines.
Principal Park, which opened prior to the 1992 season, also includes 45 skyboxes, four picnic areas, a kids' play area, a fountain in the right-field corner, and the Cub Club Restaurant in left field. To improve safety, the team recently extended its the backstop netting to the far ends of each dugout.
The AA team, a member of the Southern League, plays at Smokies Stadium, located at 3540 Line Drive in Kodak, Tennessee, which is in the Knoxville suburban area. The stadium, opened in 2000, seats nearly 8,000, but you can also buy a ticket to for "grass berm seating," where you can sit on a grass berm located on "outfield hill," just outside of the park's seating sections.
The park also includes a non-alcohol section, and strollers are allowed in most areas of the stadium. Calhoun's At The Yard, a family-friendly tavern that also offers a barbecue-style buffet during games, is located near left field just beyond the outfield fence. To enter the eatery, you'll need to pay a per-person fee that includes the price of a ticket.
The Class-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a member of the Carolina League, play at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The park, which includes 4,800 fixed seats but can accommodate up to 6,599 fans including standing room, opened in 1999.
The facility includes nine suites wrapped around the press box level; Pelicans Beach, which is located down the left field line and can accommodate up to 120 people for private events who sit in lounge chairs atop beach sand as they view the game; and Grandstand Grill, an eatery located on the third base side of the stadium.
The Class A South Bend Cubs, a member of the Midwest League, play at Four Winds Field at Covelski Stadium at 501 W. South Street in South Bend, Indiana. Built in 1987, the park, which can seat up 5,650 fans, underwent renovations in 2010 and includes a picnic garden, renovated suites, new video board, a 360-degree concourse, and a centerfield entrance that connects the stadium to downtown South Bend.
The Eugene Emeralds—also known as the Ems—are based in Eugene, Oregon, and play in the Northwest League. The Emeralds play at PK Park, a $19.2 million facility built in 2010. Located right behind University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium, the park has full locker rooms, clubhouses, and team amenities, a partially-covered roof, specially designed lighting structures, high-definition video board, and a digital inning-by-inning scoreboard.
PK Park can seat 4,000 fans, including 2,040 box seats with backs and cupholders, a general admission bleacher section that holds 480, 53 seats for those with disabilities, two picnic plazas and eight upper-level luxury suites.
The Arizona League Cubs is a Rookie League team that plays in Mesa, Arizona, and has been a Cubs farm team since 2005. The AZL Cubs, who play at Sloan Park (formerly known as Cubs Park) located at 2330 W. Rio Salado Parkway, won the Arizona League title in the fall of 2017.
"We were fortunate to make it into the playoffs and we got hot at the right time," Delvin Zinn, a player who scored twice and added an RBI in the decisive game of the three-game series, said after the win. "It was good to see all of our hard work pay off and we came out on top."
If you're in the mood for a bit of an adventure, the Cubs actually sponsor two minor league teams in the Dominican Republic — DSL Cubs 1 and DSL Cubs 2. Both teams play in the Boca Chica North Division of the Dominican Summer League at Chicago Cubs Complex.
The complex, which was built for an estimated $6 to $8 million and opened in 2013, includes three lush fields, batting cages, locker rooms, dormitories, a weight room, and a video room, according to a Chicago Tribune story about the facility. The Cubs are actually among 30 MLB teams that have what are termed "academies" (essentially baseball training facilities) in the Dominican Republic, according to MLB.com.