Cubs-Dodgers: Chicago Wins 5-3, Let the Games Begin

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2009

Filed:Feb. 25, 2009


Cubs 2009 Spring Training (Morry Gash/AP)

Well, first things first.

For the reader who chided me about using a Spring Training photo featuring Matt Murton in an earlier post, sorry. We take the photos here as we get them, especially when they have to be licensed. I hope that this one is a bit more to your liking.

But onto baseball, where finally we get to see—or hear—the sights and sounds of a real game again. The Cubs kicked off the Spring Training slate with a game this afternoon against the Dodgers. They won 5-3 by the way, on a Micah Hoffpauir grand slam.

It's only the first in a long line of meaningless games over the next six weeks, but listening to it, there were three thoughts that struck me. Besides the fact that few sounds are better than that of the crack of a bat.

I know the Hoffpauir fans loved the grand slam, and it does give gravitas to the notion of keeping him as a power bat off the bench. But I keep hearing people make the case for Luis Rivas to make the team, and as long as Lou Piniella keeps giving him—and others—long looks at third base like he did today, I see their point.

Micah will probably do well keep his old land lady in Iowa on speed-dial.

Nice way to begin for Jeff Samardzija too, who worked two innings to start the game. You know, he sailed through the first inning, and then got into all sorts of trouble in the second.

I won't worry too much about it at this point in the spring, as conditioning and endurance may have a bit to do with that. But you know, at some point, he's really going to need to throw a few consistent innings together against major-league hitters before anyone is convinced that him working as a starter is a good idea.

But watching listening to him work, coupled with scoreless innings of work from Jeff Stevens and David Patton makes me feel just a bit better about that bullpen than I did a week ago. There's an incredible amount of youth and inexperience there, but good depth, and a lot of promise.

Baseball is back..and I couldn't be happier.