Dome Now One Of The Guys

Kosuke Fukudome was the victim of a prank on his first day in the Cubs' clubhouse:

... the right fielder who would be the Cubs' Great Right Hope -- if you believe the Great Write Hype -- ran straight into the unexpected at his new locker: a No.11 jersey hanging where the No.1 should be.

"I was surprised there was an extra '1,'" Fukudome later said through an interpreter.

On cue, pitcher Carlos Zambrano approached, wearing a blue headband and tight-fitting No. 1 Cubs top.

"I'm No. 1 here," Zambrano said, holding up his index finger before breaking into a wide grin.

Then he peeled off the shirt, handed it to Fukudome and shook the $48 million newcomer's hand.

Yokoso Cubs-ye, Kosuke.

And buckle up for the ride.

"That was just a welcome, just to let him know that we are his family and he can spend a good time this season with us," said Zambrano, who promised the prank would not be the last in the hazing process.

For the record, Fukudome said he "enjoyed the joke", later on. And, Bruce Miles says that Lou Piniella's impressed with Dome's bat:

"Fukudome's got a nice, quick, short swing," Piniella said. "He uses his hands really well. He's got really good balance at home plate. He's very impressive. The ball jumped off his bat. You can see why he's been such a good hitter."

And, Bruce's article also says that Fukudome doesn't care about "jinxes and curses":

"I don't know of anything like that in Japan," he said, "and even if there is, I don't believe in them."

Good. Let's play ball and win.

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