Tony Campana of the Chicago Cubs is greeted in the dugout by teammates after hitting an inside-the-park, two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
We haven't had much to celebrate this year and not too many highlights to liven up this dreadful season.
We can look to the future with the just-completed draft; hopefully, some of the players Theo and Jed chose this week will anchor Cubs contenders for years to come.
In the meantime, let's look back to last year for a highlight I don't think any of us will ever forget -- Tony Campana's inside-the-park home run against the Cincinnati Reds, his first (and still, only) major league home run.
Let's set the scene. Coming into that game, Campana was hitting .258/.298/.281 in 96 plate appearances. Yes, a slugging percentage lower than his on-base percentage; of the 23 hits he had up to that point, 21 were singles and just two were doubles.
So what happened in that Friday afternoon game against the Reds was one of the few thrills we had in 2011.
Yes, it helped to have Yonder Alonso, a relatively immobile first baseman, playing left field, a position to which he was singularly ill-suited. Campana's drive off starting pitcher Mike Leake in the first inning, which zinged past third baseman Todd Frazier, then took a crazy bounce away from Alonso, who lumbered after it. Alonso moves even more slowly in left field than Alfonso Soriano, hard as that may be to believe.
By the time his relay throw reached shortstop Paul Janish, Campana had already crossed the plate -- standing up. Starlin Castro, who had singled, scored ahead of Campana and the Cubs had a 2-0 lead. As it turned out, the Cubs needed both those runs, as they wound up winning the game by one run, 4-3, the sixth win in the Cubs' longest winning streak of 2011, seven games.
Before that, Campana had never hit a home run in a regular season game, majors or minors. He did hit one in the Southern League playoffs in 2010, and finally did hit a regular-season dinger this year at Iowa.
So maybe there's something like this in Campana's future this year, too. We could sure use something to cheer about.