Destination Mesa

Cubs vs. A’s – Spring Training Game One

Greetings from Mesa and….GAME ON!! The wait is over, it is finally here….Chicago Cubs Baseball, not just talk but the real thing. At 2:05pm C.S.T. (1:05 pm local time) the Cubs take the field against the Oakland A’s at HoHoKam Park. Now granted it is just Spring Training, but it is still baseball. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to start the game, Maddux is scheduled to throw batting practice or a simulated game, however you want to phrase it….did I mention….GAME ON!!

For the first time since Houston we, the Cubs Faithful, will have actual games to talk about. Check back later in the day for game recap and pictures from Mesa. I am pleased to announce a new addition to the CCO….the CCO Photo Gallery….but remember last week, the ‘Best Laid Plans….’, at the bottom of this article you will find photos from last year at Spring Training….I have a different camera now, this year they should be a lot better….

Now to the news from Wednesday….

Was anyone else caught off guard on Wednesday morning with the report in the Chicago Sun-Times that Scott Williamson is on the trading block? As you can tell from yesterday’s article I was. This was the first I had heard of this all off-season. I really like the depth that Jim Hendry has built in the bullpen. After the starting rotation of Zambrano, Maddux, Prior, Rusch and Williams even if the Cubs go with an eleven man staff that would still add Dempster, Howry, Eyre, Williamson, Ohman and Wuertz. There was also a good report on Michael Wuertz in the Daily Herald on Wednesday. I thought he did a fine job last season (6-2/3.81 ERA in 75 games), except for the six weeks in the middle of the season when his ERA was 7.71. I really feel Wellemeyer and Novoa will have to have a great spring in order to start the season at the Major League level with the Cubs. With all of the problems the Cubs had with the bullpen in April and May last year, too many quality pitchers would be a good problem to have.

The intrasquad game took place on Wednesday….Rich Hill vs. Angel Guzman. There was an interesting quote from Rich Hill in the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday:

“If I go down to Triple-A and pitch well, at some point I’d think I’d come up to Chicago or I might get traded,” he said with a laugh. “Who knows? That’s what’s funny and interesting in this game–the unknown.”

With all of the off-season interest in Rich Hill, I doubt he will be going anywhere but Iowa anytime soon.

The Cubs “A” team beat the “B” team, 9-2. Also the Cubs will use the DH allowed to them by Major League Baseball in the Cactus League. On Wednesday, Todd Walker was the DH and Jerry Hairston played at second. The Cubs have announced the two will switch for today’s opener. The Cubs also announced Derrek Lee will play in today’s game as well.

Well that’s the news from beautiful Mesa, Arizona….and I’m sticking to it!!!

Back to the Pre-Game…..

Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco are scheduled to participate in today’s game before heading off to the WBC. Barrett will be with Team USA in Phoenix and has said during downtime he will join the Cubs in Mesa.

I am looking forward to seeing Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones in Cubbie Blue. We have all seen the photos and the feeds on TV but there is nothing like seeing it live. I am also interested in the lineup. Does anyone care to venture a guess? Here is what I am thinking:

Juan Pierre
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Derrek Lee
Aramis Ramirez
Jacque Jones
Todd Walker
Matt Murton
Michael Barrett
Ronny Cedeno

We shall all see in a few hours. Also, XM Radio and Joe Castellano are supposed to be doing live feeds from HoHoKam today as well as a post game report with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Those of you with XM should really check that out.

Don’t forget to check back for updates from Spring Training. I will be in Mesa all weekend, camera and tape recorder in hand….you just never know who you will run into.

Click Here for the Chicago Cubs Online Photo Gallery – Spring Training 2005

HoHoKam Information
Cubs Spring Training – Mesa
Spring Training Schedule

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne