This past Thursday I went to the Cubs road game at Salt River Fields against the Diamondbacks with our Sloan Park control-room crew. The crew consists of Dan, Max, Mark, Jacob and myself. It was our chance to relax, be fans, enjoy baseball and some nice spring weather. Jacob works spring games at both Sloan Park and Salt River and he took us up to the press-box and control-room to check out the DBacks/Rockies working operation. We also had a chance to meet, chat, and hear Diamondbacks organist Bobby Freeman play. Freeman has been with the DBacks since the team first began in 1998. Add in some tacos, beer, and scenery, and it made for one outstanding spring day at the ballpark!
Friday at Sloan Park the Cubs lost to the Indians 4-2 with the Cubs highlights being John Lackey’s sharp 6 innings and up-and-coming stud Ian Happ’s 2 run bomb. We also had 80’s pop icon Huey Lewis singing the 7th inning stretch with comedian/talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel. Huey did the singing and Kimmel the stretching – literally. It seems like more celeb types are hanging around Sloan Park this spring now that our boys are champions. Which leads me to a bumper sticker I saw leaving Sloan, “I was a Cubs fan before it was cool.”
It’s been several years since I’ve been able to go to Las Vegas and see the Cubs play a spring training game there. I didn’t make it to Vegas this weekend either but Saturday night I was in a high-stakes No Limit Texas Hold-Em tournament. Actually it was low-stakes with family, but it was Texas Hold-Em.
The main reason keeping me from going on these annual Cubs Las Vegas trips, is that I’m usually announcing a split-squad game at Sloan Park while the other half of the team is playing in Vegas. This past weekend, the “other half of the team” in Vegas, was more like, the other 80 percent. Yesterday at Sloan Park we had two legitimate Cubs starting position players in the lineup – Jason Heyward and Jon Jay. That didn’t stop 15,411 fans from showing up to Sloan Park on a gorgeous spring day. However, the Cubs J-Hey and J-Jay led squad took it on the chin in Mesa, 9-4 to the Padres.
In Nevada, we can hope that what happens in Vegas, happens in Chicago! On the field that is, not at the hotel! Our boys in blue put a serious hurt on the Reds in two games by the combined score of 33-11. Yesterday’s game being a major thrashing, to the tune of 22-4. That game saw five Cubs missiles clear the billboard outfield walls of Cashman Field. Two of the Cubs HR’s courtesy of Albert Almora Jr., who also had a double, going 3-5 with 5 RBI’s. Cubs minor-leaguer’s Victor Caratini and Bijan Rademacher went a combined 6-9 with 7 RBI’s between them during Sunday’s game.
We are now only six days from the Cubs opener against the Cardinals April 2nd in St. Louis. Some of the current Cubs spring story lines include the amazing spring of Ian Happ, the ongoing chatter about a possible trade of Matt Szczur, and Javy Baez returning to Mesa from the WBC.
The Cubs play tonight against the Indians in Goodyear, then it’s back to Sloan Park tomorrow against the Giants.
Enjoy some of John Antonoff’s photos. Go Cubs!