Warmer temperatures in The Bend usher in one of our favorite pastimes: Baseball in the heart of downtown South Bend.
Four Winds Field is home to the South Bend Cubs, a low-Class A affiliate of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Visiting Four Winds Field — voted by Ballpark Digest in 2017 as the best low-Class A ballpark in the country and host of the 2019 Midwest League All-Star Game — gives fans a chance to see up-and-coming talent as players make their way toward the major leagues. But spending an evening at the ballpark is about more than what’s happening on the field.
Whether it’s a play area for kids or an outstanding promotion, South Bend Cubs games offer all sorts of entertainment.You can pick up some gear at the Cubs Den Team Store too.
After sweeping their way through the first two rounds, the Cubs advanced to the Midwest League Championship. This best-of-five series starts with two games at Four Winds Field, right here in The Bend.
Game 1 is set for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. Game 2 follows at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12.
Promotions, Promotions, Promotions
What’s minor league baseball without fun promotions? Most home games offer some kind of special promotion — from Thirsty Thursdays to bobblehead giveaways to fireworks and flat-screen TV giveaways. Perhaps the most popular is the $2 Tuesday promotion. Fans can snag $2 tickets to select games by purchasing them on SouthBendCubs.com at least 24 hours in advance (tickets go back to normal price on game day). Tickets for $2 are available on the following Tuesdays: April 14, May 7, May 28, June 4 and Aug. 6.
The $2 Tuesday promotion excludes games on June 11, July 2, July 3 and the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 18.
Other promotions during the season include:
- Dog Day Monday: Bring your dog to the ballpark every Monday and enjoy select $2 menu items (hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts). Kids under 12 receive a FREE Toyota Fun Zone wristband. Excludes games on May 27 and Aug. 12.
- Giveaway Wednesday: The first 1,000 fans through the gates receive a special giveaway item.
- Thirsty Thursday: $2 sodas and draft beer.
- Fantastic Friday Fireworks: A spectacular firework show after the game.
- Flat Screen Saturday: Fans 18 and over can enter to win a new 55-inch flat screen TV every inning.
- Sundae FUNday: Play catch on the field before the game, get player autographs after the game and a giveaway item for the first 1,000 fans through the gates.
Kid friendly fun
Four Winds Field is part baseball diamond and part playground.
Kids need not stay in their seats. Instead they can explore the ballpark, starting with the Toyota Fun Zone. Two three-story slides, five bounce houses and an obstacle course await just beyond the left field foul pole. On the other side of the park, kids can cool down on a hot summer night at the splash park. In between there are speed pitch and Plinko stations.
Ballplayers of all ages can also take some hacks at the 1st Source Bank Performance Center, an indoor practice facility for South Bend Cubs players that’s open during home games. Six full-size, regulation cages offer baseball and softball practice opportunities.
If you’re a regular visitor or a local, the South Bend Cubs Kids Club is a great way to take advantage of the kids areas on a regular basis. Membership is open to children 12 and under. They get a free ticket to 10 Monday-Wednesday regular season games, a membership badge, some Fun Zone wristbands and several other perks.
Theme nights and special giveaways
On top of regular promotions, there are several special theme nights and giveaways planned throughout the season. Bobblehead likenesses of current Chicago Cubs player David Bote (June 5) and pitcher Yu Darvish (Aug. 21) are on the schedule. Other giveaways include fleece blankets (April 28), floppy hats (May 19), water bottles (June 12), youth All-Star Game jerseys (June 23), wall clocks (June 30), black-and-white baseball hats (July 10,14), Santa Stu gnomes (July 24), South Bend Cubs t-shirts (July 31, Aug. 4), jersey backpacks (Aug. 11) and 2019-2020 fan calendars (Sept. 2).
Some new theme nights are on the books with Polish Heritage Night (April 25), PBS Kids Days (June 23, 30) and Dino Day (July 11) joining the lineup this year. Others include Harry Potter Day (April 28), Independence Day Celebrations (July 2,3), Latino Heritage Night (July 31), Star Wars Night (Aug. 10) and more.
Bites at the ballpark
Tantalize your taste buds with more than a standard ballpark hot dog or nachos. Four Winds Field changes up the menu yearly to show off its culinary chops.
Some (tasty) changes are ahead in 2019: Burgertopia, a popular burger stand, will now have its own cart on the concourse and is offering an Italian sausage sandwich as part of its menu. Taking over for Burgertopia is a new “Sweet Spot” stand. This will be a delight for those with a sweet tooth as it will feature new hand-dipped and novelty ice creams. You’ll also friend fried churros (that can be customized with ice cream and toppings), plus a classic Midwest favorite — elephant ears.
Other additions to the menu include loaded tater tots (!) and deep-fried corn dogs. Beginning in May, you’ll be able to wash that all down with fresh squeezed lemonade. Also be on the lookout for special food items for every homestand.
You can pull up a chair and grab a drink at the Tiki Hut bar in left field or visit one of the many concession stands and head back to your seat. Whatever works best, you’re sure to find a good meal at the ballpark.
Take a swing at the performance center
Sometimes watching just isn’t enough. That’s where the 1st Source Bank Performance Center comes in handy.
Open during home games, the performance center boasts 17,000 square feet with six full-size batting cages. Multiple machines accommodate baseball, fast-pitch softball and slow-pitch softball. One even offers up fastballs in the 85 mile-per-hour range, which means facing pitches at professional speeds. Helmets, bats and balls are all provided on site. This state-of-the-art space is a great place to test your skills or let the baseball player in your family get in some hacks.
Learn from the pros
Are you looking for a fun summer activity for your baseball player? The answer may be the Meijer Baseball Academy, a hands on training camp taught by South Bend Cubs coaches and players. Broken into two sessions, attendees learn all about baseball fundamentals. They’ll be coached on hitting, pitching, fielding, catching and base running.