PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' first season at their new Spring Training ballpark, Cubs Park, in Mesa, Ariz., set the all-time Cactus League single-season attendance record, drawing 213,815 fans. The total broke the previous record of 203,105, which the Cubs set in 2009 at HoHoKam Stadium.
Cubs Park also averaged 14,254 fans over 15 dates to set a Cactus League season average attendance record.
"This record turnout highlights the excitement our fans and Mesa residents share for Cubs baseball," Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said. "The Cubs again were the hottest ticket in the Cactus League, and we want to thank our fans and the City of Mesa for making Cubs Park and Riverview Park the most popular Spring Training destination in baseball."
Cubs Park hosted sellouts on 12 dates, and it now boasts the top 12 single-game attendance records for Spring Training.
Not only did the fans come, but they ate well. Through 15 games, fans purchased 49,674 hot dogs, 2,820 pounds of hamburgers, 440,120 ounces of soda and 10,705 pretzels.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said in a statement that the partnership with the Cubs created a long-term economic asset which will strengthen the city for years to come.
"With well over 200,000 fans enjoying Spring Training, and with many of them visiting from out of state, there is no doubt that Cubs Park and Riverview Park have made a big economic impact on Mesa and Arizona," Smith said.
Cubs Park receipts also generated new tax revenue to the region. Through the end of February, the Cubs and Ovations Food Service paid more than $600,000 in sales tax revenue to the State of Arizona, Maricopa County and City of Mesa for Spring Training games, concessions and merchandise sold at the ballpark.
Mesa hotel occupancy was up, according to Smith Travel Research, and experienced a 6 percent increase in occupancy.
Kenney said more projects are set to get underway for 2015, which will further grow Mesa's economic return. The next phase will include the construction of a 170-room Sheraton hotel near Cubs Park.
Cubs sign veteran Pineiro to Minors deal
PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs have signed right-handed pitcher Joel Pineiro to a Minor League contract. He will go to Mesa, Ariz., for extended spring camp, and then is expected to report to Triple-A Iowa.
Pineiro, 35, has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2011. He has pitched for the Mariners, Red Sox, Cardinals and Angels. Pineiro had his best seasons with St. Louis and pitching coach Dave Duncan, compiling a 28-23 record and a 4.14 ERA in 69 games over three seasons.
In January 2012, Pineiro signed a Minor League deal with the Phillies, but he was released after pitching six innings in Spring Training. He then signed a Minor League contract with the Orioles in April 2012, but Pineiro did not pitch for the Major League team, and he eventually needed surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in July.
This past February, Pineiro told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez that he was not ready to retire.
"I have had 11 years in the big leagues, so I'm not complaining, but I'm not ready to shut it down," Pineiro said. "I'm 35, and I told my wife this would be my last real push at it. I have four kids, my oldest is in middle school, but I still have the desire and love for the game."
Pineiro pitched for Ponce this past winter in Puerto Rico, going 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA over five outings.
In 12 seasons, beginning in 2000 with the Mariners, Pineiro is 104-93 with a 4.41 ERA.
Cubs turn back clock on menu for Wrigley's centennial
PITTSBURGH -- Besides throwback jerseys and appearances by Cubs alum, fans coming to Wrigley Field this season will find decade-themed menus at the concessions to help celebrate the ballpark's 100th anniversary.
The Cubs play their home opener on Friday against the Phillies, and fans will find interesting eats at the Sheffield Grill, located inside Gate D, as it will be transformed into the "Decade Diner." Kraft Cheese also is 100 years old, and the diner will feature a different cheese recipe for each decade.
There also will be "Decade Dogs" available near Gate F, including:
• 1910s Rueben Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, sliced corn beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese. Available all season.
• 1920s Chicago Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, tomato wedges, pickle spears, sport peppers, diced onions, mustard, neon relish and celery salt, served on a poppy seed bun. Available all season.
• 1930s Cheese Steak Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, shaved ribeye steak, grilled onions, peppers and provolone cheese. Available during the 1930s homestand.
• 1940s Corn Dog Nibblers: Deep-fried mini Vienna Beef corn dogs. Available during the 1940s homestand.
• 1950s TV Dinner Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Available during the 1950s homestand.
• 1960s Buffalo Wing Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, diced chicken, buffalo sauce, bleu cheese crumbles and chopped celery. Availably all season.
• 1970s Pulled Pork Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, pulled pork, barbecue sauce and coleslaw. Available all season.
• 1980s Nacho Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog, tortilla strips, nacho cheese, salsa and pickled jalapenos. Available during the 1980s homestand.
• 1990s Bagel Dog: Vienna Beef hot dog wrapped in a warm bagel with deli mustard. Available during the 1990s homestand.
• 2000s Dog: The most popular hot dog from the previous decades. Available during the 2000s homestand.
To accompany the hot dogs, fans can pick one of "10 Timeless Toddies" available on the main concourse at Section 109 and on the bleacher patio in left field. The drinks include a 1910 Weeghman Park Old Fashioned; a 1920 Upper Deck Gin Rickey; a 1930 Called Shot, which is a Manhattan made with the fans' choice of whiskey; and a 1940s Day Game, which is a variation of a "hurricane." There also will be a 1950s Mr. Cub Cocktail #14, served in honor of Ernie Banks, and a 1960 Alabama Ironman, in honor of Billy Williams.
In addition, there will be an expanded list of beers available, including Goose Island drafts and bottles, such as 312 Urban Wheat and Green Line, Matilda and Sofie; Budweiser and Bud Light; Mang-O-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita, Lime-A-Rita and Straw-Ber-Rita; Redbridge gluten-free beer; Johnny Appleseed Cider; and Old Style.
The Cubs have partnered with Majestic Athletic to recreate throwback uniforms from each decade. Fans will be able to purchase the reproductions at the Cubs Team Store and from authorized Cubs retailers, and they will be able to pick jerseys from 1929, '37, '42, '53, '69, '88 and '94.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.