I feel dumber for having listened to the MLB Audio feed from San Diego of today's 4-2 Cubs loss to the Padres, their first loss of the spring, on what the SD announcers described (one of the few things that made sense on the broadcast) as a gorgeous, 81-degree, low-humidity, low-wind day, the kind of day that makes me glad the Cubs train in Arizona instead of Florida. I turned on the MLB Network's telecast of the Red Sox/Twins game earlier in the afternoon, and many of the fans there were huddled up, wearing jackets with hoods. And with a blast of lake-effect snow hitting near-lake areas in Chicago today (those of you away from the lake are saying, "What snow?", but here in the city we got about an inch and a half), feeling warm is the way to go.
Anyway. The Padres radio broadcast -- horrible. Even the presence of former WGN radio announcer Andy Masur can't help the cliched, singsongy presentation. Worse than the announcers were the San Diego local commercials, something we don't normally hear on MLB Audio, sounded like they were made in some small town in Kansas (no offense meant to the fine people of Kansas, just that smalltown radio sounds different than big-city radio) rather than in a major league radio market. They called a crowd of 7,072 "large", although that's over 3,000 short of capacity at Peoria Stadium. Thank heavens it was all over in a snappy 2:16.
Flame away, Padres fans, but your radio team is horrible. They bitched about the Cubs not playing more than a handful of major league starters -- they need to take a look at their own team, which has a shot at losing 100+ again this year.
So was this game, or at least the first inning thereof: the Cubs made two errors, one by Jake Fox (see you in Des Moines, Jake), and one by Ryan Theriot, and by the time it was all done, the Padres had scored three runs. That, as it turned out, was enough to win this game. So Ryan Dempster's first outing wasn't bad -- apart from the errors, he allowed only a single, double and walk, and the double might not have happened if the Cubs had been able to field the ball.
Mike Fontenot continued his hot spring, going 2-for-3 with another double, raising his spring average to .417. Spare parts Doug Deeds and Richie Robnett both drove in runs with outs (Deeds, a groundout, Robnett a sac fly). The rest of the Cub pitching staff held the Padres to five hits and one run (off Justin Berg) over the last six innings.
Oh, some guy named Jake Peavy threw three one-hit innings for the Padres today. Wonder if they'd deal him?
Finally, if you're worried that Carlos Marmol's absence for the WBC will affect his role as closer, Lou told Carlos not to worry:
"It's an honor to represent your country," Piniella said. "He's here competing for a job, and he was a little concerned. I said, 'Lay your fears to rest. We'll let you compete for that job when you get back and we'll make a decision then.' No decision will be made without Marmol being here."
Despite the desires of some here, you knew the Cubs weren't going to go 212-0 this year. A loss had to happen sometime. How about 211-1? Onward to facing the D'backs tomorrow.