Cubs top-prospect Javier Baez powered an exciting Cubs come from behind win with a walk-off HR in a 7-5 victory over Team Japan at Hohokam Stadium. I’m not going to give a full game report today, instead here’s some multi-media goodies from today’s game in Mesa. I’ve got the game winning HR on video, and John Antonoff’s photos. You can find outstanding written run-downs on today’s game at Bleed Cubbie Blue, and by Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat here.
The Cubs had a split-squad today, losing up in Glendale to the White Sox 15-3. Of course I was not there, I was announcing what turned out to be a very enjoyable and exciting game at Hohokam. Too bad only 2,915 fans got to see it in person, and probably half were fans of Team Japan. The small crowd was in part due to the split-squad, but also because this game wasn’t well promoted ahead of time. Since this game wasn’t in the spring season ticket holders package of games, some probably didn’t know it was going on. It was also projected to be 95 degrees today, which likely kept folks away. The game had a real international flare as it was broadcast back to Tokyo, I’ve never seen more camera’s covering a game. Fans of team Japan were beating drums and chanting, keeping things lively.
As for the game, Javier Baez has wicked-crazy bat speed. Sorry, I just had to say that. The Cubs top-prospect pounded two home-runs today, the first being an absolute Godzilla like clout. The ball went completely out of Hohokam and into the parking area across a street. The kind of hit that you immediately say something like “holy crap”, or just “wow.” Baez second HR won the game in the bottom of the 9th with Christian Villanueva on second after he led off with a double. Baez reportedly told Welington Castillo in the on-deck circle, you won’t get to hit. Another Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach had a great at-bat in the 8th inning driving in the tying run with a full-count single.
I was told before the game that team Team Japan was going to furnish a P.A. person to announce their players. I was also told that I was going to have an interpreter with me in the booth. I didn’t get either. It didn’t really matter, as I expected to do the game on my own. It was a bit of a challenge, but I enjoyed it. It was very cool to see Team Japan’s Director of Baseball Operations Nobby Ito sing the 7th inning stretch. He did an outstanding job. Besides his native tongue Ito speaks English and Spanish, no language barrier for him. Enjoy the photos and video!