Jeff Samardzija Debuts, Cubs Still Lose: What The First Pitches Could Mean

CC OCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2008

With Kerry Wood out with a blister, the Cubs called up Jeff Samardzija on July 25. He stepped onto the mound straight from the minors during the seventh inning of what was, frankly, otherwise a pretty boring game.

The Cubs had just kept the lead the night before after loading the bases in the top of the ninth with a three-run lead.

But Samardzija getting called up, and that made the game a little more exciting. I looked on from the the .3 feet of cubic space I was able to find in the general admission bleachers.

I love watching truly great athletes no matter what sport they are playing. Could this great athlete be the hero the Cubs bullpen needs? No, not yet anyway.

Besides the obvious—the Cubs lost the 2-1 lead they had to the Marlins—Samardzija also startled Soto and the fans a little when he threw the ball over the head of the All-Star catcher to allow a steal that would eventually score the winning run.

But boy was he throwing the heat. Watching the MPH I saw pretty much only: 96, 97, 99. He also threw some beautiful Ks.

It's sometimes hard to be a fan of a perennially losing team because even the hope of new talent like this gets lost in thoughts about trades, an early peak, or worse—no peak at all.

But with Kerry Wood coming back soon maybe having a little more strength in the bullpen by way of a great athlete like Samardzija can give the Cubs that push that Chicago so desperately hopes for.

Though, as the crowd got to their feet for Samardzija I couldn't join them. I was crushed into a make-shift step behind the centerfield bleacher section alternatively trying not to step on small children, flash all of Wrigley (poor choice of skirt for the baseball game), and avoid the Cubs fan with the confederate flag tattoos that screamed at anyone not wearing a jersey.

If Samardzija can fix those situations too—then he's really got all my confidence.