Friday, February 29, 2008

Home Opener

This spring marks the start of the Cubs 30th consecutive spring in Mesa, the longest active streak in the Cactus League. (My good fortune to have been there for 25 of them) San Francisco is 2nd, with 28 consecutive springs in Scottsdale.

The Cubs spring home opener at Hohokam was spoiled by a Giants split-squad team 8-6. The now legendary, Ryan Rohlinger hit a grand salami while pinch hitting in the 8th inning, courtesy of Cubs non-roster invitee Les Walrond. That's how these spring training games tend to go, especially early in spring- decided by hitters and pitchers who most likely won't be on a major league roster come regular season. Like the Giants Rohlinger who has in his brief minor league career climbed as high as single A, batting a torrid .235 last season. The Cubs did however hold a 4-3 lead when most of the starters exited the game, in the 5th inning.

Big Z started, and looked good in his first outing. He gave up a run on two hits; he couldn't quite field a routine grounder coming off the mound towards first base, making an error, and allowing the un-earned run. Again, these are the kinks that get worked out in spring training. Rich Hill pitched the next 2 innings, and gave up a run on 3 hits, while striking out 3 Giants. Marmol had a nice one-two-three inning.

News and Notes: Kosuke Fukudome (yes, it was fun to say that name for the first time over the P.A) looks to have a very sharp eye at the plate. He has drawn a walk 3 times out of 6 hitting opportunities in his first two games. This will help D-Lee and Aramis Ramiriez drive in alot of runs this season. Speaking of D-Lee, he looks to be in great physical shape this year. After getting a hit in the first inning Lee reached 3rd base, while taking his lead at third Derrek had to use his vertical jump to avoid getting his feet taken out from under him by a slicing liner hit by Felix Pie.

Of course, we had a few technical difficulties in the first game. Our main scoreboard kept shorting out, and turning off and on. This kept the scoreboard operator's fingers busy, as they had to re-enter the data each time this happened- and it happened alot. Last year, or two years ago, I don't remember which, I announced Cubs non-roster invitee Casey McGehee for the first time, and I pronounced it "McGee". Then, I heard Cubs GM Jim Hendry pronounce it several times the way it looks, so I changed to the Hendry pronunciation. Today after the game I was informed by the Cubs media relations that it is the way I originally was pronouncing it- such is the life of a PA guy.


D-Lee & Dome yesterday in Scottsdale

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cubs Win Opener

It was a great day in Scottsdale, perfect weather and a nice Cubs victory. I was there and took some photos and notes but I have been so swamped with preparation for tomorrows Hohokam Cubs opener that I just don't have time to do my usual report. I'll try to make up for it after tomorrows game.

I will be talking Cubs with the guys on WGEM Radio's SportsCenter in the morning, I think you can hear it streaming on the Internet...I'll be on around 8 am central time. Here's a photo I took today, it's of Dome right after he got beaned in his first at bat. Scary moment but it hit him in a good spot, if there is such a thing as a good spot to be hit with a hurled baseball.

Very excited about tomorrows home opener, will talk to you after the game. Go Cubs!


Fukudome turns away as ball bounces off him.

Play Ball

This is an article I wrote, originally published in the View Highlife Magazine. Tim

A Cactus League of Our Own

"People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."-- Rogers Hornsby, Major League Hall of Fame Member

It's time for Arizona's one month baseball extravaganza, 12 teams (soon to be 14), over 300 games, along with some of best weather the state has to offer - enter the Cactus League. At a fraction of the price of most other sporting events you can take the kids and don't need a loan to do it, all part of the beauty that is Major League spring training during the month of March.

Spring training's allure has been well-chronicled: the annual birth of a new season, intimate stadiums, unparalleled access to major league players, the relaxed atmosphere, and so much more. To truly understand what it's like you must go to a ballpark and experience it for yourself. To help you do that, here is a brief spring training guide to the teams and ballparks of Arizona's own "Cactus League".

The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals are the most recent members to join the Cactus League, leaving Florida for the desert in 2003. Both clubs train at Surprise Stadium which opened for their arrival, and is located in, you guessed it...the city of Surprise. The stadium, located on the Surprise Recreation Campus, is one of the finest spring training parks in all of Major league baseball, voted 2004 "Best Place to see a Spring Training Game" and 2005 "Best Sports Facility" in New Times Best of Phoenix. Ticket prices range from $7 to $22 dollars in this 10,400 person capacity stadium with the $7 dollar tickets being a great bargain for family's with lawn seating just beyond the outfield fences. Parking is free at Surprise Stadium.



Scottsdale Stadium home of the SF Giants.

The San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians are the original two teams of what would eventually evolve into the Cactus League. The Giants began training in Arizona in 1946 and have played spring training games at Scottsdale Stadium in downtown Scottsdale since 1982. Over the years Scottsdale Stadium has also hosted spring training for the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Oakland A's. The current stadium seats 11,500 and was built in 1991 with its most recent renovation in 2005. Scottsdale Stadium is only a short walk from a wide selection of restaurants, clubs, shops and galleries. Like many Cactus League stadiums, Scottsdale provides a scenic view- this one of Camelback Mountain. Tickets here range between $8 and $25 (weekday) and $13-$28 on weekends. Lawn seating is available. The most unique concession stand item: Island Wok Noodles.

The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres play their spring games at the 145 acre Peoria Sports Complex which contains 13 full sized baseball fields. The Sports Complex opened in 1994 and became the first Major League Baseball Spring Training facility in the country shared by two teams. In 2005, Phoenix New Times named the Peoria Sports Complex "Best Place to See a Spring Training Game." The stadium seats a capacity of 11,300, tickets range between $6 to $23 dollars, with lawn seating beyond the outfield fences. Most unique concession stand item: Deep Fried Twinkies



Peoria Sports Complex home of the Padres and Mariners.

Phoenix Municipal Stadium is home to the Oakland Athletics, built in 1964 it has been completely modernized with its most recent renovation in 2003. While Phoenix Municipal is one of the smaller spring training venues at 7,885, the park maintains a traditional feeling with phenomenal views of Papago Park's red rocks over the left field fence. Located in Phoenix at 5999 E. Van Buren, the light poles are from the Polo Grounds in New York, this is also the park where Willie Mays hit his first Spring Training home run. Ticket prices range from $10 to $25, with standing room only for $6 when seating is no longer available.

Maryvale Baseball Park is another quaint venue hosting the Milwaukee Brewers with a maximum seating of around 10,000. Located at 3600 N. 51st Ave in Phoenix this 56 acre complex was built in 1998 and renovated in 2005. You should have no problem getting tickets for these games unless the Brewers are playing the Cubs. Expect plenty of bratwurst and the always exciting 7th inning sausage races. Tickets go for between $8 and $19, lawn seating available.



Tempe Diablo Stadium home of the Angels.

The Cactus League team with the longest name belongs to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who play their spring games below a picturesque rocky butte at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Close to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and freeway access Diablo recently finished a $20 million renovation to its 9,600 capacity stadium. The Angels moved into Diablo in 1993 and are one of 3 Cactus League teams to win a World Series in the last 7 seasons. Diablo Concessions sport the Bigger Better Burger (1/2 lb Bacon Cheeseburger). Tickets range from $5 to $25. $5 admission buys a place on a nice grass picnic area under the butte beyond the left field fence.

Mesa is home to Hohokam Stadium where the Chicago Cubs play their spring games, the largest venue in the Cactus League opened in 1997 with a capacity of 12,632. The Cubs are the biggest draw during spring training and have set numerous attendance records to prove it. If you want to see the Cubs play at Hohokam, you might think about attending a weekday game, tickets are much easier to get. The Cubbies have been spring training in Arizona since 1952 when rancher and businessman Dwight Patterson (known as the father of the Cactus League) helped bring the team to Mesa. In the 2006-07 off-season, Hohokam Stadium had a face lift with 2 new auxiliary scoreboards and a new state of the art Main scoreboard, as well as building another souvenir shop. A new concessionaire has added a whole array of food selections, but don't forget the always tasty "Chicago Dog". This year new speakers have been added to the public address system in the lawn and grandstand areas. Tickets range between $6 and $24 during the week and $6 to $26 on weekends, with a large lawn seating area bordering the outfield fences.



Hohokam Stadium home of the Cubs.

Three teams train in Tucson including the states own Arizona Diamondbacks who share 11,000 seat Tucson Electric Park with the Chicago White Sox. Plan on spending the day if you are driving down from the Phoenix metro area to watch a game, the drive takes anywhere from one and a half to two hours - one way. Electric Park opened in 1998 and has seen both its tenants win a World Series Championship, the Diamondbacks in 2001 and the White Sox in 2005. Located southeast of downtown Tucson, the 155-acre Sports Park is considered one of the finest training facilities in the Major League baseball. Enjoy a Chicago Dog during a Sox game or a Giant Burrito while watching the DBacks. Either way, it comes with a tremendous view of the field and of Santa Catalina Mountains beyond the fences. Tickets are priced between $5 and $16. In summer, Electric Park is also home to the 2006 Triple-A Champion Tucson Sidewinders the Diamondback's minor league affiliate.

Contrasted with all the new ballparks in the Cactus League, the Colorado Rockies train in a stadium that first opened in 1937, Hi Corbett Field. Home to original Cactus League member Cleveland Indians, Hi Corbett Field was the Indians training site from 1945 until 1992. Through the years the ballpark has had numerous renovations to reach its current capacity of 9,000. The Rockies started training at Hi Corbett in their initial expansion year of 1993. If you are a fan of nostalgia you will really enjoy this park, if not you may find it somewhat antiquated. Either way, this ballpark has seen a lot of history. Tickets range from $4 to $17, that's right $4! Won't guarantee what kind of seat it is, but the price is right. Some of the scenes of the 1989 movie Major League were filmed at Hi Corbett Field.

Regardless of which team you watch, ballpark you visit, or food you eat, in spring training the final score really doesn't matter, it's about the experience of being "at the park". So whether you're a family looking to picnic in the sun while your kids run around after foul balls, or a business person needing to take a day off to decompress, or a die-hard fan who keeps a detailed scorecard, spring games offer relaxation and fun at a fraction of the cost of other professional sports events. There really is something for everyone in Arizona's own Cactus League.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hola HoHoKam

Looking at the countdown clock on our homepage, we are less than 22 hours from the Cubs spring training opener in Scottsdale. The Cubs practiced this morning at HoHoKam Stadium for the first time this spring, and it was a picture perfect day here in Mesa, sunshine with an expected high of 80 degrees. Take a look at this 10 day forecast for Mesa, just another reason why the Cactus League is flourishing.


Hohokam is ready for Friday, Four Peaks in distance.

News and notes. Watching the outfielders work on their throws to home and 3rd base, I noticed several of Fukudome's throws were accurate, but ended up reaching home plate on two bounces. Perhaps he is still taking it easy on his surgically repaired right elbow. Felix Pie's throws are very impressive, the kid has a cannon for an arm, almost always throwing on a line to home plate without the ball touching the ground (he was hitting the cut-off man but in this drill they didn't cut it). Ronnie Cedeno was working with the first team infield at 3rd base because Aramis Ramirez came late, Ramirez then took an abbreviated infield before BP.


A-Ram works at Hohokam.

Cubs Bench Coach Alan Trammell had trouble hitting pop-ups to the catchers during infield today. At one point, Geovany Soto tripped over a rolled up carpet into the batting cage, making the catch - without injuring himself. Trammell finally hit a nice pop-up to the catcher, the fans gave him a mock cheer. With Mark DeRosa out because of an irregular heartbeat, Alex Cintron worked at 2nd base, and looked outstanding with his glove during the infield portion of practice. Cintron will start at second base in tomorrow's Cubs opener.


Koyie Hill and Fukudome share a laugh today.

One pitcher who loves to play in the outfield during batting practice, and actually looks good doing it, is Carlos Zambrano. Z made several nice grabs in right field including a leaping catch taking away a BP Homerun. Big Z was so impressive in the outfield, that Lou Piniella joked Carlos will be his emergency right fielder. Z seems to enjoy every part of the game, he was one of the few pitchers who took BP today. Ted Lilly also made some nice catches in the outfield.


Soriano, Pie, Ramirez, and Soto during BP yesterday.

Geovany Soto, who's from Puerto Rico has been taking BP with the Dominican triumvirate of Soriano, Ramirez, and Pie. Ron Santo has been a regular at Fitch Park the past couple weeks was at Hohokam today. Let the games begin!


Billy Williams and Ron Santo watch at Hohokam.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last Day at Fitch Park

The Cubs moved their headquarters up the street to Hohokam Stadium today after practicing at Fitch Park. There will be a practice at Hohokam tomorrow but no scrimmage game, and then the games begin on Thursday for the Cubs in Scottsdale vs the Bondsless Giants.

I shot some video of the outfielders working today, you will see two drills. The first was set up so they would be fielding fly balls looking into the sun...not a fun prospect, especially with windy conditions today. The second is a drill fielding balls off the centerfield wall, playing the ricochet or catching the ball on the wall. This is a fun one to watch as you can see these guys make some very athletic plays, with nice grabs towards the end of the video by Matt Murton, Felix Pie, #15 Andres Torres, and Kosuke Fukudome.

While watching these guys over the last week it's clear that Alfonso Soriano is still a work in progress in the field, you will notice this in the video. Felix Pie is super athletic, he uses his speed well and has a real knack for finding the ball in flight or off the wall. Kosuke Fukudome is very smooth and confident in rightfield, he should really bolster the outfield defense. The video is about 6 minutes long.

Scary moment today as Ted Lilly took a line shot in the leg from a ball hit by Aramis Ramirez. Lilly was noticeably ticked the moment it happened but it didn't seem to bother him as he waved off the trainer. After he finished his pitches he passed Ramirez, Soriano, and Soto next to the batting cage and they all seemed to have a relieved laugh about it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fun with Fastballs and Facial hair at Fitch

Today marks almost 1 week of full squad workouts for the Cubs, even on Sunday, all 4 fields at Fitch Park are hopping. I overheard a girl say while watching practice that she noticed more facial hair on the players than in past years. D-Lee, very noticeable with the extra face fur, although he trimmed up the neck-beard.


D-Lee's trimmed beard

Beards aside, here are some observations from today. Pitching coach, Larry Rothschild hit grounders to the Pitchers, and after a few rotations, he said "Okay, we're gonna throw in the sausage balls". These "Incrediballs" are squishy, faster versions of regular baseballs, and it was fun to watch the Pitchers try to field them. These balls were flying everywhere, zipping past the outstretched gloves, as well as through the 5-hole. Ted Lilly stood behind the mound, trying to make a 2nd effort on the missed plays. Rich Hill, Carlos Zambrano, and Ted Lilly all made some great snags with these crazy baseballs. I noticed while watching this drill, John Leiber, who came in a bit heavier than in the past, his previous limited mobility seems to have gone from lumbering to more currently resembling a pylon.


Pitchers fielding incrediballs

Again, Angel Guzman did not participate in throwing warm ups, but watched from the sides. One of the right-handers competing for a spot in the bullpen is Jose Ceda. Like one of the contests at a county fair, I have an uncanny (and useless) ability to guess people's weight usually within 5 lbs and the Cubs roster lists Ceda as 6'4 205 pounds - which he may have been, at 12 years old. They must have left off a 5, because he's at least 255 if he's a pound. Whatever his weight, Ceda has been impressive this spring, and has a fastball that has been clocked at 99 mph. Last year, at class A Peoria, he had 23 1/3 innings in a row of no hit baseball. Left hand hitters combined for .065 average against Ceda in 07.


Jose Ceda

The crowd watching gasped as non-roster invitee catcher Josh Donaldson made an incredible leaping bare-handed catch on an overthrow from a pitcher on one of the drills, his facemask flying off mid-jump. The fans and crowd of Japanese media made their usual movement following the diamond rotation where Fukudome, D Lee, and Murton were taking BP. DLee and Murton both had their usual batting stroke, hitting many over the fence and on to Center Street. Dome looks very efficient and precise with his high batting stance, ripping line drive after line drive, he's going to be a double hitting machine at Wrigley.


Dome on the bases

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fly on the Wall

Not a great day here in Mesa as far as the weather goes but the Cubs were able to complete practice this morning before the rain set in. The 10 day Mesa forecast looks great though!

I took video of the outfielders taking fly balls, nothing too exciting until towards the end of this video. At that point one of the groups was taking fly balls deep off the wall in center field, Tyler Colvin makes a very athletic effort crashing into the wall but can't make the grab. Sam Fuld also makes a great play off the wall and holds on to the ball. A couple outfielders you may not recognize are non-roster invitees #68 Josh Kroeger and #15 Andres Torres...Jake Fox was working with the outfielders as he has been this spring. The video is about 5 minutes long, with added slow-mo's of the Colvin effort and Fuld grab.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Todays Photos

If you are in the listening area of WGEM Radio in Quincy, IL you can hear me talk Cubs baseball with the WGEM SportsCenter guys tomorrow morning at about 8am Central time.

Click here for my photos from todays Cubs practice at Fitch Park. Once you click a photo in flickr you can hit the icon on top left to enlarge pic.


Pitchers working today

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

All In

A larger than normal crowd of Cubbie faithful turned out today to witness the first Cubs official full-squad workout. The team didn't get out onto the practice fields at Fitch until 10am so by the time they finished stretching and running it left little time for much of a workout. The delayed start was due to Manager Lou Piniella's opening spring message to the ballclub.

A short practice was uneventful with the usual low-key feeling and beauty of the boys in blue tossing the ball around on the well manicured Fitch diamonds. Most of the fans interest seemed centered around seeing the new Right Fielder from Japan. Fukudome took a couple rounds of bp which saw the fans standing 4 or 5 deep around that diamond during his batting.

I took some video of today's practice, mostly pitchers warming up and doing a few drills...not all that exciting, but it gives you a little feel of the goings on. It's about 6 minutes long, enjoy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Holy Cow, it's Presidents Day!

Happy Presidents Day to you all, and a tip of the cap to these inspiring leaders who led this great country. Yes, I can be serious and patriotic on occasion.



Today is final reporting date for all Cubs players with the first official full-squad workout coming tomorrow. You can see video of tomorrows practice from Fitch Park here on CubsAZ.com Tuesday evening. Like last year it's good to see most position players have already reported to Fitch Park before the required date.

Another milestone of note today, 10 years ago on February 18th 1998 legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray passed away. At old Hohokam Park I was lucky enough to sit between WGN TV and WGN Radio next to Harry...talk about fun times. In 1996 they ran a small blurb about me in the Cubs spring training program with a photo of Harry and me. It was the only photo of Harry in that program, people would open it to that page so he could autograph it. One day that spring Harry is signing autographs in the box, he turns to me and says "every time I sign my name it's on your face, people aren't going recognize you around here without Holy Cow written on your forehead."

Towards the end of that spring someone in the booth asked if I had gotten Harry to sign the page for me. I hadn't, so they asked him if he would sign it. The image below is what he signed on my program; he was one of a kind!



Comcast Sports Net will be running a tribute to Harry throughout the day today. We will have our own small tribute to Harry on our first weekly CubsAZ video program this Friday. Be sure to check back tomorrow afternoon/evening for a look at the Cubs first full-squad work out.

Tim

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fukudome Photos

No rain today. Although it was overcast most of the day, the sun has finally come out. It was pretty cool this morning for Mesa probably in the high 30's or low 40's when practice started. I heard more than one Cubs player comment on the chilliness. I took quite a few photos today with special attention on Kosuke Fukudome, I hope you enjoy them.


Funny in any language

Click here for photos of Fukudome and todays Cubs work out. Once you click a photo in flickr you can hit the icon on top left to enlarge pic.

Friday, February 15, 2008

We Needed a Fuku-Dome Today

No doubt you have heard the Cubs new import Kosuke Fukudome has arrived here in Mesa...and what a splash he made. With huge media coverage of his every move it's going to be a crazy spring. They say his nickname in Japan is "Dome" and we could have used one today as it was rainy and dreary, just plain un-Mesa like. This limited the players to almost nothing in the way of practice. Looks like the rain is going to clear out tonight and it will be nice and sunny tomorrow. I hope to get some photos of Fukudome tomorrow along with the rest of Cubs practice.

Until then here's a little video to help forget winter and rain and ready you for the start of Cubs games at Hohokam Stadium!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Todays Workout and Cubscast.com

I had a chance to talk with my friends over at Cubscast.com. We did an interview segment talking about spring training and of course, the Cubs. Cubscast.com is a fantastic website hosted by dedicated Cubs fans talking about our favorite team. Click here to listen to my Cubscast interview.

Here are some photos I shot from todays first official Cubs workout at Fitch Park.(Click here)


Ryan Theriot

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pitchers and Catchers

Not a lot going on today in terms of on field practice. Big Z took some bp and he looks to be in great shape physically, he was pounding the ball at Fitch...so much so that the handful of fans watching gave him an ovation upon conclusion. Tomorrow pitchers and catchers and any position players who show up start the official organized team workouts. I'll be on hand and then post more photos from the first workout of the spring. Until then here are some pics from today and yesterday.(Click here)


McGehee and Fox check out the bat today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tomorrow!

As I write this the countdown clock on our home page says 15 hours, 55 minutes, and 17 seconds...that as most of you know is when the Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park here in Mesa. Yes, I will be there even though the first official workout isn't until Thursday. Which means not a lot will be going on tomorrow but I will try to get some photos of the Cubs boys of spring as they arrive.


Matt Murton from spring 2007

If you are headed to Fitch Park (651 N. Center St. - about a half mile south of Hohokam Stadium) during the next 2 weeks, Cubs practices start around 9am and run until about noon. There is no admission cost and parking is on the south side of Fitch off of E. 6th Place.

A few notes of interest: Hohokam Stadium has been upgraded acoustically with a new and improved PA system, sporting new speakers out in the berm area and in the outfield grandstands. This has been much needed for several years and it should make the Hohokam Stadium game day experience a little better.

Kids can run around the stadium bases after every weekend game this spring at Hohokam, just like the big leaguers. Any kid who isn't faster than the slowest Molina brother will have to run twice...kids under 4 years old are exempt from this rule.

Something that might make your game day experience much better is the addition of Land Shark Lager which is put out by the folks at Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett's corporate world and state of mind). They say it's a refreshing, drinkable island lager brewed with a complex blend of hops. Check it out here. If you are in the lawn area you will now have the opportunity to order yourself a Martini, yes I said "Martini'. There has never been a better chance to skip out on work for an afternoon at the ballpark, and at the same time enjoy a three Martini lunch. Harry Caray is probably up there smiling at the thought.

For those of you in the parts of the country hard hit by winter, spring is on the way...not sure when it will reach you but it's here in AZ now, 75 degrees and sunshine today. Photos and video of Chicago Cubs and palm trees won't make you any warmer but it might take your mind off winter for a little bit. Baseball is nearly here my friends and I can hardly wait...until tomorrow!

Tim

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Baseball Today and a Week Away

We're getting close to that time when the Cubs come out of winter hibernation and start strechin it out in the AZ sun. In fact some of the Cubs are already here at Fitch Park working on their game. Some of those I watched take BP today were Daryle Ward, Jake Fox, and hot prospect Tyler Colvin. Rich Hill showed up during practice today having just got into town last night, the guys warmly welcomed "Ritchie". I was told Ryan Dempster and Michael Wuertz are here but I didn't actually see them.


Tyler Colvin making a statement?
In case you can't read it his shirt says:
NO I'm not on STERIODS IT'S THE BAT - OLD HICKORY - Probably just a free T-Shirt


Rich Hill shows an athletic move as he whirls and hurls a ball while running.

Click here for more of my photos from today at Fitch Park

I am always excited at this time of year for spring training but I'm more jacked up than normal, last years Central title and Lou Piniella back for year two has my expectations raised. Yes I'm optimistic about this year's Cubs squad even though the realist in me knows there are some issues that need attention.

You may or many not have noticed our website has gone thru a bit of change in the past week, all designed to give Cubs fans the best during the spring ritual. We now have FAQ's for questions you may have about your Hohokam Cubs experience. I have updated my Tips section including a run-down on concessions and restaurants in the area. More Cubs and Mesa baseball history on the Hohokam page. There are some new video clips in the circles along with the classics. We will have a weekly CubsAZ.com video show starting next week as well as all the usual photos, and audio interview clips.

Here at CubsAZ.com we are dedicated to making a difference by getting involved in charitable giving, not just from the check book but being involved personally. So we are extremely pleased to add the Fergie Jenkins Foundation to the charitable organizations we help and promote, joining the Alzheimer's Association and Phoenix Day Child and Family Learning Center. Fergie is very dedicated to helping others with his foundation and hosts many events every year to that end. Some of those organizations who have been funded by the Jenkins foundation are Cancer Assistance, Red Cross, National Institute for the Blind, Special Olympics, YMCA Camps, Second Stage Housing, and Child Refugees in Need.



So here's your chance to help a great cause and have a fantastic time doing it. Come out to the only night game at Hohokam this spring on Friday Feb. 28th, join us at the Cubs spring home for the Fergie and Friends Celebrity Baseball game. There will be a card show, autographs, and much more. Gates will open at 5 pm and the game will start at 7 pm. Expected to join Fergie will be former Cubs Lee Smith, Bob Dernier, Keith Moreland, Jody Davis, Ed Lynch, and Bill Buckner. Also expected to play are Bert Campaneris, Vida Blue, George Foster, J.R. Richards, with more to come. The Honorary Team Managers for the evening will be Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams and Harlem Globetrotters legend Meadowlark Lemon. So mark it on your calendar for Friday March 28th for Fergie & Friends!

Spring Training 2008 is somewhat of a milestone for this PA Announcer as it's my 25th spring with the Cubs in Mesa. 25 years, that must be a typo. Think I'm going to start telling people I started doing this at Hohokam when I was 8 years old. I mean really...It's hard for me to comprehend how 25 years just blew by. In the spring of 1984 I was fortunate enough to finagle my way into the press box and somehow I'm still here. At any rate, I can't think of a better place to be during February and March than Chicago Cubs Spring Training in Mesa AZ...I feel darn lucky!

Tim