The South Bend Silver Hawks are no more. The team’s new name and jersey was unveiled today at a press conference. The Silver Hawks are now the South Bend Cubs, a name that goes along with the minor league affiliation with the Chicago Cubs.
“We’re moving fast,” team owner Andrew Berlin says. “Officials gave South Bend a special waiver so that we could show you this today, but something as important as a logo needs to be approved by the league and by the Chicago Cubs. So, I can’t call it official yet, but it is what you’re likely to see on all our uniforms, apparel, advertising and merchandise from now on.”
Two executives from the Cubs organization joined Berlin at the media event: Theo Epstein, the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and former General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, as well as Jason McLeod, Senior VP of Player Development and Amateur Scouting. Also attending were Joe Hart, the president of the South Bend Cubs and Deputy Mayor Mark Neal.
The Cubs affiliation was announced last week to much fanfare. The Cubs organization is moving its affiliation from Kane County, Illinois — a Chicago suburb — to South Bend.
“We’re thrilled to begin this partnership with Sound Bend and we’re looking forward to working with everyone here,” Epstein said. “It is important to have first-class facilities not only at the big league level, but also throughout our farm system. South Bend provides exactly what we were looking for both as a community and as a farm club.”
The Cubs were lured with a sense of momentum for the South Bend franchise. Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium in downtown South Bend has seen around $5 million invested in renovations, including new seating, a jumbotron in right field, play areas for kids, and concession stand improvements, among others. In the off-season this year, the franchise hopes to break ground on a new 11,000 sq ft batting facility that will be open year round. It will be operated as a training facility that the whole community can use.
The Silver Hawks just came off of their best season ever in terms of attendance. Over a quarter million fans visited the ballpark to take in a game this past summer. Three of their players were named Midwest League All-Stars and the team went to the playoffs. The endorsement from the Cubs is just the latest positive development for the team.