Update: Tickets are now on sale
On Thursday, July 9, the worlds of rock music and baseball will collide for the fourth annual Chicago edition of Hot Stove Cool Music, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein’s event to support his foundation. You will hear about the event from organizers Len Kasper and Matt Spiegel, as well as auctioneer Lin Brehmer, during their respective broadcasts. You will hear them use words like “rocking,” “unique,” and the mysterious “player to be named later.”
Each is either dead-on accurate or an understatement.
I attended last year’s event, which I covered for Cubs Insider 2.0, and was nothing short of blown away, musically and with the event overall. It’s actually a good thing the event is only once a year, because I believe it’s a physical requirement for the body to have a minimum of 11 months to recover.
This year’s early lineup includes Epstein, Gammons, Spiegel and Kasper and a myriad local artists including Jimmy Chamberlin of Smashing Pumpkins; John Stirratt of Wilco and Autumn Defense; Jason Narducy of Split Single and the Bob Mould Band; Daxx Nielsen of some little band named Cheap Trick; solo artist Jennifer Hall; Spiegel and Curt Morrison of Tributosaurus, Freda Love Smith of Blake Babies and Mysteries of Life; Jake Smith of Mysteries of Life; and Gerald Dowd.
Then there’s the mystery “player to be named later,” a person or band choosing to remain anonymous. Metro’s Joe Shanahan is the man behind the surprise guest (last year it was Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick), so start the rumor mill now.
If you really want to get the most out of the event as a Cubs and rock music fan, get yourself to the VIP pre-party, where you can mingle with hosts and performers. Everyone is approachable.
Ask Theo Epstein who he has on his radar for the next new top arm in the rotation. Talk with Peter Gammons about his best Wrigley Field memory or when he thinks the Cubs will realistically win the World Series. See if you can stump Len Kasper’s music or baseball rules knowledge. You can even ask Lin Brehmer if there is anything that can’t be made better with rendered duck fat or gorgonzola.
Speaking of gorgonzola, there’s plenty of free food, an open bar and the chance to see what Metro looks like with its lights on.
Can’t get to the VIP event? During the performances, you will still bump into former and current players, front office folks, local sports media guys and probably me. Just don’t get any chocolate in my peanut butter if that happens, cool?
If you have some extra dough between the sofa cushions, there is also a live auction with some really cool items and experiences. Last year’s top item was the chance to sit in the box with Theo for two innings of a game. My buck-three-eighty was outbid.
In all, Hot Stove Cool Music is more than just a concert or tribute show. It’s an incredibly fun, very thoughtfully organized event, and it’s all for a great cause.
The Foundation To Be Named Later has given more than $6 million in grants and in-kind donations to 200+ nonprofit organizations in Chicago and Boston. It has also sent approximately 4,000 children, who would not otherwise get the chance, to a Cubs or Red Sox home game. The Peter Gammons/FTBNL College Scholarship (named in honor of Gammons), the signature program of FTBNL, has sent more than 46 young people with high financial needs and high educational potential to the college of their choice.
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