MESA, Arizona -- The most important thing I learned from watching the Cubs' first full-squad workout is that... watching workouts is pretty tedious. Back and forth between four fields, watching fielding drills, bunting drills, and batting practice. It's very repetitive, with coaches barking out situations during the fielding drills, and the hitters taking five pitches from one of their teammates before the next hitter stands in; after a while, a new hurler takes the mound.
And yet... it's baseball! And there's certainly nothing wrong with that, and just knowing that actual games are coming soon is exciting. About 100 people were watching the various practice fields, along with TV crews, reporters, and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, who flew down just for the day to talk to his assembled team before they took the practice field for the first time. Here's the quote that's making the rounds:
#Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts says he thinks team can contend this year. Very optimistic— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 19, 2014
That's being mocked by some, but really, what else do you want the man to say? He wants to win as badly as the rest of us do, and I'm sure he understands the reality of the team that's going to take the field in Pittsburgh on Opening Day, March 31. But why not be optimistic? Why not think that, on the first day of spring workouts? That's what spring training is for: high sky, sunshine, baseball and optimism. I'm all for that kind of thinking, even if, deep down, it's not realistic.
Here are a few short videos I shot during the workout. First, two videos of Christian Villanueva and Kris Bryant fielding ground balls at third base:
And, two of Bryant taking BP. It didn't appear he hit anything really hard during these two five-pitch sequences, but at least you can get an idea of his batting stance and swing.
(The hit on which you hear a clanking sound hit the protective screen in front of Carlos Villanueva, who was the pitcher for these Bryant BP sessions.)
I'm planning on heading back to watch more workouts this Saturday (possibly before, but definitely Saturday), and will definitely be at the intrasquad game a week from today, February 26.