The 2011 Chicago Cubs seem to be clicking on the field finally, as they rallied back from 9-0 and 12-2 deficits to beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 14-13 today. The winning hit came off the bat of Bryan LaHair.
The Cubs won in walk-off style yesterday too, when D.J. LeMahieu hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That game, the first to be televised on WGN this year, featured a pitching matchup between the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster and the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley — the same pitching matchup I saw in person in spring training last year (though at the Dodgers’ home park, Camelback Ranch, not the Cubs’ home field, Hohokam Park, where yesterday’s game was played). In last year’s game, the Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-3 and Reed Johnson homered for the Dodgers. This year, Johnson is back with the Cubs but didn’t homer; instead, LeMahieu did and the Cubs won 5-3.
In an interesting side note to Sunday’s game, Cubs third-base coach Ivan DeJesus got to watch his son Ivan DeJesus Jr. in action playing second base for the Dodgers. DeJesus was the only Cub I was able to get an autograph from during my spring training trip last year.
Speaking of father-son baseball pairs in the same park, Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly made sure to let viewers know Sunday that Cubs farmhand Michael Brenly was at Hohokam Park and ready to play. The younger Brenly was wearing No. 88, which reminded me that Mike Fontenot wore that jersey number during a spring training game I attended last year. Interestingly, Fontenot normally wore No. 17 — the number now worn by pitcher Matt Garza, who had to wear a No. 94 jersey Friday because he forgot to pack his No. 17 jersey. I wonder if Mark Grace ever had that problem during spring training.
Yes, my mind has been spending a bit of time thinking back to last year’s spring training trip, and I wish I was back in Arizona right now. But that’s not in the cards for 2011. What is in the cards, however, is me getting my hair shorn again to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which helps fund cancer research. I did that right before my spring training trip last year, and this will be the eighth year I’m participating in my local St. Baldrick’s fundraiser. It’s something I’m proud of doing annually. I urge you to donate to this worthy cause if you can; you can do so online here. If you want to read about where the money donated to St. Baldrick’s goes, you can do so here. Thank you for your consideration.