Credit Where Credit Is Due

MESA, Arizona -- I don't want to pat myself on the back too much, but the fact remains -- the Cubs have not lost since I started attending games here, now four in a row. The two games (Friday in Tucson and Saturday in Phoenix) that I did not attend were both losses.

Today, the Cubs put on their hitting shoes, pounding out 18 hits and beating the Giants 12-4 in front of another sellout, 12,684 in Mesa.

Before I tell you a little about today's game, I have a special place for whoever designed the jerseys the Giants were wearing today. And that's not a nice special place, either.

The jerseys are black. OK, first of all -- why would you dress your team in black on a hot sunny day? Those shirts have to be tremendously uncomfortable. Second, the numbers and letters are black with orange outlines.

That makes them nearly impossible to read at a distance of more than about 20 feet. Combine that with the fact that the Ho Ho Kam Park PA announcer gives you about half the changes, and the fact that today, in the eighth inning, I started scoring in the wrong scoring box, and my scorecard was an utter mess. Luckily, the box score allowed me to finish. I had no idea who was pitching for the Giants after Kirk Rueter, who got pounded around pretty good, until I finally heard the PA (because the crowd had mostly cleared out by then) in the 8th announce Felix Rodriguez.

Anyway, there was no one hitting hero today -- everyone hit, and the 18 hits didn't include a single home run. Corey Patterson doubled, Derrek Lee (the "Derrek!" "Lee!" guys were back again today) had two more hits and a sac fly, Scott McClain resumed his quest for the Spring Training Hall of Fame by having two more hits and playing nice defense at 3B, and Michael Barrett missed hitting a grand slam by about a foot, settling for a bases-clearing double.

Meanwhile, Carlos Zambrano had his sinker working, after missing one pitch in the first inning and having Barry Bonds (who was alternately jeered, cheered by the Giants fans, and then had a huge gaggle of people with cameras run to take his picture after he was pulled and began running in the OF -- a very leisurely run, incidentally) hit a 3-run homer, his fifth of the spring after a slow start. That was it for Zambrano giving up anything -- he allowed only a J.T. Snow single after that and got 11 of his 18 outs on ground balls. I was trying to pay particular attention to Barrett and how he called the game today and I think the results speak for themselves.

Adam Greenberg, a minor leaguer who came over from Fitch Park and was issued jersey #62, pinch hit for Gary Glover in the 8th, grounded out and got one of the larger ovations of the afternoon -- I suppose his family and friends must have come to the game today. Greenberg will probably play this season at Double-A.

It was cloudy today -- hazy-cloudy, I should say, since you could see the sun through the clouds, and the wind which has been blowing strongly (and mostly out to LF) the last few days has completely died. It was "only" 88 today, not over 90 as it was for five consecutive days. Normal high this time of year is only 78, so it's still way over that.

I ran into Bill from Rockford who has been in Arizona since January -- nice to be retired, huh? and sat again with George from RF and his son, and they were nice enough to save my spot as I arrived a bit later than I wanted to, due to noticing on the way that my gas tank was almost empty. He said that even though there was no batting practice today, that they didn't open the lawn till about 1/2 hour after the gates opened. I also noticed that George still had his ticket wristband on from the ticket sale at Wrigley Field on Feb. 27. He said he was still waiting for his number to be called.
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