Thank you, driver, for getting me here (Too much, Magic Bus) You'll be an inspector, have no fear (Too much, Magic Bus) I don't want to cause no fuss (Too much, Magic Bus) But can I buy your Magic Bus? (Too much, Magic Bus) Nooooooooo! -- The Who, "Magic Bus"
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- While the Cubs had some adventures in just getting to Tucson after their bus broke down about 45 minutes outside of Mesa, I arrived without incident in the Valley of the Sun this evening -- ready to go to my first 2010 baseball game tomorrow.
But you don't care about that, and you really don't care much about the Cubs' 5-2 loss to the Rockies, other than Carlos Zambrano looked pretty good, and so did Tyler Colvin (2-for-4, his sixth spring RBI -- he's making it real hard for the team to send him down). Z also doubled in a run.
What I know you're fascinated with -- as was I, following a series of entertaining if pointless tweets from Cubs beat writers about the event earlier today -- is the Cubs' bus breakdown and how Kevin Millar entertained the entire team on the way down (save Z and Koyie Hill, who were rescued by Z's brother, who was driving down separately):
Kevin Millar did a few impressions for his teammates, and the bus driver was able to play a movie. The Cubs watched Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino." Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano was on the bus, but a cousin was following in a car behind it and pulled over to take the righty and catcher Koyie Hill to Tucson's Hi Corbett Field.
That left the Cubs with a pitcher, a catcher and utility player Jeff Baker, who drove himself.
"I can be 'Bugs Bunny' and play everywhere," Baker said.
Look, I'm well aware that Millar is nearing the end of his career and isn't a very good hitter any more. But there is value to having that sort of camaraderie. I'm not saying Millar will make the difference in winning or losing this year, and I'm not even saying he should make the team. But you can clearly see the difference already between last year's draggy bunch and the atmosphere surrounding the Cubs in spring training.
There's something else important that happened today -- more after the jump.
Lou Piniella today named Ryan Theriot his leadoff man.
Seriously, Lou? Was this preordained? Fukudome has led off exactly one of the 13 spring games so far, going 0-for-3. Theriot has led off eight of the games, going 11-for-20. Granted, Theriot has looked good in general this spring and Fukudome hasn't -- but making this choice after not really even giving Fukudome a chance?
If Ryan Theriot can remember who he is and stop trying to muscle balls out of the ballpark, and remember what he did in 2008 when he had a .387 OBA, this could work out OK. What I'd rather see Lou do is platoon them in the leadoff spot -- let Fukudome lead off vs. RHP, with Theriot hitting 2nd. Then, Theriot could hit leadoff vs. LHP, and Xavier Nady -- who can draw walks once in a while -- hit second. Nady isn't a prototypical two hitter, but I think he'd do fine in that spot in the games he starts.
This could, obviously, be changed. But when spring training started, this was supposed to be a competition. Fukudome never got a real chance.