Someone at the ballpark today asked me if I had gone on a Harry Caray type bender on Saturday, because I hadn’t posted on the blog since then. After our game at Cubs park was called because of rain and unplayable conditions on Saturday, I did raise a toast to Harry’s 100th Birthday on Saturday evening. However, I can assure you that it’s been mostly work, not Budweisers, that have kept me from blogging. If you can call going to a Cubs “B” game yesterday, and finishing a Cubs 2014 Top Prospect Video – work?
These days Cubs Universe seems to be preoccupied with the “prospects,” I’ll be honest, I’m in that group. Then again, I’ve always loved finding and seeing the prospects before they become household names. However, even the most optimistic of Cubs fans will tire of hearing about prospects if some of them don’t start to show it on the field at Wrigley.
Today was a good day for Cubs prospects, and perhaps it was just as important for this year’s team. Justin Ruggiano, and Anthony Rizzo each had a couple hits, with Ruggiano hitting the first HR at Cubs Park by a Chicago Cub. However, it was prospect Mike Olt who had folks talking as they left Cubs Park, his pinch hit HR in the eight inning gave the Cubs a three run lead. If Olt could force his way onto the roster at third base, it would be a huge lift, and help the prospect puzzle eventually fall into place. By the way, props to BOS photographer John Antonoff for catching the ball right on Olt’s bat as it’s about to sail away!
Olt wasn’t the only prospect who led the way to the Cubs first ever win at Cubs Park. 2012 first round draft pick Albert Almora drove in another prospect Matt Szczur with the go ahead run, on a single up the middle in the eighth inning. Szczur, came in as a pinch runner, and had already stolen second base, before Almora’s hit. Olt’s blast added the final runs of the inning and all the Cubs would need for a 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics.
On a beautiful, mostly sunny 75 degree day, 10,049 fans showed up to witness the Cubs first win of the season in Mesa. That’s a good sized crowd for an early spring, weekday game. New Cubs special assistant Ted Lilly was spotted at the park. The Red Baron himself brought out the lineups to the umpires before the game, Rick Sutcliffe is helping out as a spring training instructor.
If you want to know more about the Cubs Top 35 Prospects of 2014, be sure to read John Arguello’s in-depth analysis over at Cubs Den, along with Brian Bedo’s podcast, and watch the corresponding video below that Boys of Spring put together. Each week a new group of prospects is reviewed, this week it’s #30 to 26, I’ll give you a teaser, Matt Szczur is somewhere in this week’s group.