Today was the kind of game that Lou Piniella and Cubs fans love to see in the last week of spring training. A solid all around performance with the Cubs beating divisional foe Cincinnati 8-1.
10,318 fans watched Randy Wells start and pitch 5.2 solid innings giving up only 1 run on 7 hits, with 5 K’s and 1 BB. Wells wasn’t the only Cubs pitcher throwing well as Sean Marshall pitched 2 outstanding innings allowing 1 hit, 1 BB, while striking out 4. Marshall’s curve ball was in fine form and made several Reds hitters look bad. James Russell who’s made the squad pitched a 1 hit scoreless inning and still has not given up an earned run this spring. They say the Cactus League is very hitter friendly but the 3 Cubs relievers today Berg, Marshall, and Russell currently sport ERA’s of 1.13, 1.38, and 0.00.
As far as hitting goes, the Cubs brought some power with HR’s from Marlon Byrd, Mike Fontenot, and Jeff Baker. Tyler Colvin who now knows he’s made the club had a 2-run double to the gap in the 1st. Ryan Theriot has had a somewhat quiet but outstanding spring went 3-for-4 today raising his spring BA to .412. Jeff Baker was 2-for-2 after replacing Chad Tracy at third base.
There was a “Keep The Cubs In Mesa” rally before the game today at Hohokam with many of the local politicians in attendance including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (wearing a Cubs jersey). Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts also spoke at the rally. Governor Brewer tossed one of 5, yes 5, ceremonial pitches.
I’ve said before with the intimacy of these small spring training ballparks you never know who you might run into. That proved true today as I was walking and noticed a recognizable face – Brian Doyle-Murray who many people remember as Lou Loomis the caddy master in the comedy classic Caddyshack. He also was a featured player and later writer for SNL. I wasn’t 100% sure it was him at first so I went up and asked him if he was Brian Doyle-Murray as soon as I heard him start to talk, I knew for sure from his voice.
He wasn’t the only celebrity type at today’s game, I also spotted Pulitzer Prize winning writer George Will as well as The Smashing Pumpkins lead man Billy Corgan, both huge Cubs fans. From my press box perch I saw Tom Ricketts stop by and chat with Billy during the game. Something you won’t see during the regular season, Cubs players, in this case Ryan Dempster walking through the concourse during the 5th inning. A couple kids were asking if that was Dempster, he was in street clothes so sometimes that throws people off.
It was great to see Aaron Miles…in a Reds uniform that is!
Something happened to me during the game that is extremely rare, and could have been disastrous. My microphone was unknowingly left on. I found out when Ryan Theriot nearly took a pitch to the head in the 7th inning when I gasped “Whoa!” only to hear it come out over the entire stadium. This was to my embarrassment but seemingly alot of people’s amusement. One of the press box interns said he’d never seen Fukudome, who was on deck, with a bigger smile than when he heard that. Apparently I voiced the reaction alot of people were thinking.
The Cubs are in Scottsdale tomorrow playing the SF Gaints.
Enjoy these BOS exclusive photos from today, taken by ace photog John Antonoff.
Colvin’s 2 run double in first inning
Randy Wells trying to do it at the plate as well as the mound
Cubs first round draft picks Brett Jackson (2009) and Colvin (2006)
Fontonot -broken bat on impact