MESA, Ariz. -- As Spring Training draws to a close, Cubs fans and players have to say goodbye to their Cactus League home since 1997, HoHoKam Park. The club is in the process of building a brand new Spring Training facility just a few miles west of their current location.
One more person will need to say goodbye ... the team's Spring Training organist. You may say, 'The Cubs really have a Spring Training organist?' and the answer is, 'Yes,' but it wasn't necessarily the Cubs' idea to have one. The team that featured Gary Pressy, the Wrigley Field organist for the past 25-plus years, was lacking live entertainment for their Cactus League crowds.
So George Kiefer took matters into his own hands. After the native Chicagoan came down to Arizona to see his Cubbies in the Cactus League in 2004, and realized the music was minimal, he reached out to lend his services.
"I thought, because I was a keyboardist, I had played a lot in bands in the '90s, that maybe this would be a good opportunity", Kiefer said, "I talked to the Cubs, I talked to the city of Mesa, the stadium, and everybody and came out here and started doing it in 2005."
Since then, Kiefer has been coming down to Arizona every spring and playing a vast array of music for game attendees, although he especially enjoys playing the classics because, to him, a classic sport like baseball should have classic music.
So Kiefer plays "Center field", Twisted Sister, Grateful Dead and anything else you can think of for the visiting Cubs fans.
So as Opening Day approaches, HoHoKam Park will soon close its doors for the last time as the Spring Training home of the Chicago Cubs. As the Cubs start their season, Kiefer will end his at HoHoKam for the last time, but hopefully there will be many more to come for him at the their new Spring Training facility in 2014.
Jordan Hamm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.