The Cubs and Mets made baseball history in March of 2000 playing a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan. It marked the first time major league baseball opened the season outside of North America.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who had previously skippered the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1995 (he would later return to manage the Marines from 2004-2009).
Mike Piazza was the other star attraction for the Mets, but both Metropolitans paled in comparison to the excitement surrounding the arrival of Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.
Sosa, like Valentine, was also making a return visit to Japan. He had previously headlined an MLB All-Star cast that toured Japan following the 1998 season–when Sosa was fresh off his thrilling home run chase with Mark McGwire.
Sosa’s glowing smile was plastered on posters that covered Tokyo hyping the series on subway signs and store front windows.
After an 18-hour flight from spring training in Mesa, Arizona, the Cubs settled in for two exhibition games against the Tokyo Giants and Seibu Lions. Then it was time to face the Mets on March 29.
The Mets, Twins, Dodgers & Cardinals are reportedly
still in the mix to trade for Ted Lilly.
Here’s a peek how Lilly would look in each roation.
–Ted Lilly (3-8) – 3.69 ERA
New York Mets
Mike Pelfrey (10-5) – 4.00 ERA
Johan Santana (8-5) – 3.11 ERA
Jonathan Niese (7-4) – 3.43 ERA
H. Takahasshi (7-5) – 4.47 ERA
R.A. Dickey (6-4) – 2.55 ERA
Carl Pavano (13-6) – 3.21 ERA
Fran. Liriano (9-7) – 3.35 ERA
Kevin Slowey (9-5) – 4.76 ERA
Scott Baker (8-9) – 5.00 ERA
Nick Blackburn (7-7) – 6.66 ERA
So much for changing the lineup against left-handers. Cubs have been shut down by southpaws in back-to-back games…three total runs…two losses.
Doesn’t get any easier this week. Up next…Oliver Perez & Johan Santana.
If tonight was any indication, Lou better figure something out quickly against the southpaws.
Still hoping Matt Holliday doesn’t re-sign with St. Louis, but Jason Bay’s new 4-year deal with the Mets heavily increases the odds Holliday remains a Redbird. And that’s trouble for the Cubs considering Holliday and Pujols combined for 60 HR and 190 RBI last year.
The Mets are way over-thinking its uniform changes. There’s no reason to add black to an already beautiful Giants orange and Dodgers blue.
In fact, it’s time to retired that awful looking black jersey all together. Seriously, you’re a New York team. Have some fashion sense.
Riding the style trend is what got the Mets in this Gothic mess in the first place. The Reds were another victim of the black trap until new owner Bob Castellini abandoned the black and gave a modern twist to a simple red and white uniform. Cincy’s digs couldn’t look any better.
A little addition by subtraction, that’s all the Mets need to do.
Did myself a huge favor Saturday afternoon.
I followed the Cubs online instead of viewing the game on television.
I figured this way I wouldn’t be as susceptible to the frustrations that stem from watching an offense that stinks to the high heavens.
As intended, the move worked in my favor with the Cubs going hitless, once again, with RISP (0-for-9).
Jeff Baker smells blood.
With the Cubs’ second base position wide open next year, Baker is making the most of his starting opportunities.
Since joining Chicago July 2nd, he’s batting .330 with 13 RBI, 10 doubles, three home runs and a triple.
His batting average also ranks in the top five among players traded with their current team.
It’s a small sample size, 45 games with the Cubs, but he’s now the front runner to become the Opening Day starter next year.
I talked about it Friday.
Alfonso Soriano should be shelved for the remainder of the season.
The Cubs, on the other hand, are having a hard time calling it what it is…a season cut short due to injury. Instead, they’re opting to list Soriano under an indefinite leave of absence. Whatever.
What’s the purpose of bringing a guy back for meaningless baseball games on a bum knee, which has clearly troubled Soriano all season while battling through the most prolonged slump of his career: 20 home runs, 55 RBIs in just 117 games?
I hope Micah Hoffpauir doesn’t read this post.
The poor guy just set the career record for most RBI with Triple-A Iowa–a dubious achievement for any minor leaguer–and here I am making light of it.
In six seasons with Iowa Hoffpauir has played 371 games, made 1,478 plate appearances and knocked in the record setting 282 RBI, which surpasses the mark previously held by Joe Hicks.
The Cubs should trade Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman.
Both were claimed off waivers: the Twins reportedly setting their sites set on Harden, the Giants eyeing Heilman.
Chicago hasn’t had a break this good all month!