Cubs 1 – A’s 0
The day started with little breakfast in a resort just off Dobson Road in Mesa, AZ. The day ended with a Cubs victory in 10 innings over the A’s from Oakland. But in between was where all the fun took place. How rare is a no-hitter in baseball? How rare is it at a Spring Training game? I knew I was witnessing something special, but I had no idea how special. We arrived at Hohokam around 10:30am, a little early for a 1:05 start but we were excited to get the day started. Behind right field of Hohokam sits the Budweiser tent and behind the tent sits the practice field for the Cubs. My wife and I, with camera in hand, walked over to the practice field….but it was empty. We waited for a while and out of the batting cages came the hardest working man in the Major Leagues….Juan Pierre. Cubs 3rd base coach Chris Speier and Juan were preparing for a 30 minute bunt session. He waved to the fans, about 15 of us and went on and on and on laying down bunt after bunt after bunt, I watched every one of them. I was wearing my Pierre jersey; he noticed and threw me a ball he had bunted earlier in the session. When he was done he came over and signed the ball and took a picture with me. My wife looked at me and said, you have a new favorite Cub. She was right. On to the game.
Sean Marshall knows he is fighting for the 5th spot in the rotation. And with the way he pitched today, in my opinion he deserves it. He is a presence on the mound and has a ton of pitches packed in his arm. Granted he did walk four over four innings, and also struck out five. His curve was breaking knees. He pitched against the A’s Major Leaguers, guys that will be on the opening day roster and he looked good, like he was a seasoned vet. Angel Guzman came and did much of the same. It was great to see both of them in action today. If today was an audition for both Marshall and Guzman then they both passed with flying colors. Guzman has done a good job, but he is beginning to take a backseat to Marshall….he is becoming the understudy, if you will. David Aardsma followed Guzman and did his job, keeping the no hitter intact. The lady in front of me called Aardsma the closer of the future for the Cubs….I am not too sure about that, he has some control issues. And as fate would have it, the only pitcher with Major League experience John Koronka, allowed the only hit. Koronka did get the win and most importantly so did the Cubs….it just took ten innings to beat the A’s, 1-0. There was a buzz today at Hohokam, the Cubs Faithful know the season is right around the corner.
The fans that were around me today really love Ronny Cedeno….and so do I. I loved his defense but his offense needs some work. He just needs to relax. Cedeno was part of three double plays today….he makes them look like they come naturally to him….like he can turn them with his eyes closed. Cedeno was always known for his defense and know I know why. Unfortunately though, I think he might be swinging at the plate with his eyes closed as well. He just needs to remember what got him this far. Ronny will give us some frustrating moments but if we stay patient (and he does too) I think we have a great young shortstop.
This was a special day, but for most it may not have too exciting to watch, just a good ole fashion pitcher(s) duel. But for me it was great baseball. Could this be the new baseball era? The Juiceless era? Where pitchers control the outcome of the game and make us ooh and ahh when the bottom drops out of their curve. I would like to think so, but only time will tell.
So far my time at Hohokam has been, unreal. And I have two more games left. I am getting autographs and taking pictures, what am I twelve? I posed that question to my wife; she said no you just love the Cubs. Come feel like a kid again, visit Hohokam. I’m hooked and booked for next year already.
From Mesa, Until next time….but always GO CUBBIES!!