Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cubs lose but my camera lives

Another brilliant day for a baseball game, 72 degrees at first pitch and plenty of sunshine. If the score matters to you, the Cubs lost 6-4 to the Oakland Athletics in front of 11,240 fans at Hohokam.

Lou and staff chat during bp

Pulling into Hohokam this morning, I was right behind license plate - Cubs 10...Ron Santo and I arrived at the same time. I was taking photographs of Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster during BP this morning, down the right field line on the edge of the stands, when I heard "Heads-Up" screams, I turned back towards home plate, only to catch a glimpse at the last split second before a line-drive baseball hit me in the gut. Luckily it didn't take out my camera, it ricocheted off me right into my empty camera bag. I now have the MLB logo tattooed on my stomach, but I held up my prize in spite of the pain.

Howry and Dempster before I got nailed

Steve Stone was here today, as he has been most games this spring. Stone still covers the Cubs for Chicago radio but will be announcing White Sox games this season. I'm not sure what he does, but I doubt that he hangs out at Hohokam in the morning and then drives down to Tucson or wherever the Sox are playing. We won't tell the Sox Stoney is spending all his time at Hohokam.

I didn't see it, but I heard it. That oh-so-familiar and haunting noise, and then I knew...."He's Back!" Ronnie Woo Woo.

Today's game started out with a bang, literally, as the Rough Riders from Rawhide wild west town shot their pistols into the air after the National Anthem. The actual game continued the excitement as Soriano mis-played a sinking liner on the first A's batter of the game. He retrieved the ball and threw out Travis Buck at 3rd. Then, Sam Fuld- starting today at CF- made an incredible, diving grab to end the 1st inning.

Mark DeRosa, in his first Cubs home spring game, received a big ovation from the crowd. DeRosa got a hit. Also making a nice defensive play, laying out to snare a hard grounder then threw out Kurt Suzuki at 1st. Fukudome's bat may not be in regular season form yet, but one thing I love about this guy is he always hustles. Like today, hitting a routine grounder to short, Dome made it a very close play at first. Sam Fuld had an RBI triple, and another nice running grab in left center in the 7th inning.

Dempster was looking the right way, I was not

Carlos Zambrano looked solid in his 4 innings, only giving up 1 run on a HR to Jack Cust. Kerry Wood had a solid inning's work, allowing 1 hit and no runs. Scott Eyre had a rough 6th inning, with a Cubs error, 2 walks, and a 3 run homer by A's Bobby Crosby. Michael Wuertz pitched well in his 1.2 innings, no runs, 1 hit, with two K's. Carlos Marmol came in for the 9th, allowed a lead-off hit, struck out the next two batters, then walked Dan Johnson before closing the inning without damage getting his 3rd strikeout.

The Cubs tried to mount a comeback in the 9th, but two hard hit balls, by Geovany Soto and Sam Fuld, were caught on outstanding defensive plays by the A's to end the game.

Aramis Ramirez was sporting the high blue socks look today instead of his hidden socks. Mark the Beer Guy sang 7th inning stretch, and caught me off guard when he said "How about a big hand for Tim Sheridan, our Public Address Announcer, for 25 years here at Hohokam" before launching into 'Take Me Out To the BallGame'. Thanks Mark!


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