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South Bend’s minor league baseball team continues to develop, thrive

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend’s minor league baseball team has managed to thrive, at a time many others fight to survive.

Last year, The Midwest League lost four teams because those teams lost their major league affiliation.

“South Bend was not lucky,” South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin said. “We earned our spot to continue to be affiliated with a major league team.”

The Cubs will play their season and home opener tonight against Quad Cities.

As for Berlin, it just wasn’t in the cards for him to play ball. His career on the field ended with little league, although that doesn’t mean he can’t make magic on the diamond.

“I loved baseball. Those baseball players were my heroes. I loved going to the ballpark with my dad. I mean going to Wrigley as a kid was a magical experience,” Berlin explained.

This is Berlin’s 11th opening day with the Cubs. In that time, he has invested some $32 million of his own money in stadium improvements and in building apartments beyond the outfield. You could say it’s his dream job.

“When you get to know the team, and you meet the young men on these team, on these teams, you realize these are just old boys,” Berlin said. “They’re boys in men’s bodies, but they’ve been playing baseball since they were five years old and finally, they made it to professional baseball and now their dream has come true.”

The team’s affiliation with the major league Cubs runs through 2030 and it’s just one year into a 20-year stadium lease with the City of South Bend.

Berlin seems content to continue holding up his end of the bargain.

“We hope to stay here for infinity. I mean, we’re going to be adding to the stadium, building the stadium, hopefully doubling the size of the stadium next several years,” he said.

Berlin hopes to have renderings of how the stadium expansion would look in a couple of months, although the work would not take place until after the end of the 2023 season.

The Cubs begin the season with a three-game home stand.

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