You don’t pay much attention to rumors, even if something pops up on the TV’s on the bottom line, although then it becomes a little more serious. But at the same time, when you’re a veteran guy, you’ve played for 10 years, you’ve seen plenty of rumors that have gotten shot down. You learn not to take things too seriously until you’re packing up your stuff and heading off to another team. You hear so many things that are supposed to come true, guys are supposed to be traded five or six times and are never traded once. You start to doubt all the rumors, I guess, even when you hear them floating around, unless you just talk to the player directly.
Demp’s in a different situation because they’re always going to have to be in contact with him to make sure they’re not wasting their time if he doesn’t want to go to a certain spot. For most guys, you don’t even hear anything until the general manager comes down and tells you you’re out of here. Demp’s in kind of a unique situation because he can control where he wants to go.
If I get a call from Theo or Jed, I’d be like oh, darn, there’s four, five days before the Trade Deadline, this is probably not about what gardener do you use in the Chicago area. If you get a phone call from them, you want to pick it up, especially at this time of year.
I wouldn’t say 99 percent, I’d say pretty much everybody in this clubhouse would approach that play the same way Sori did. The ball hits in the guy’s glove and rattles around, and right as you hit that line drive, you’re almost expecting it to get caught. It reminds me of that blooper of Sean Casey hitting the line drive over the third baseman’s head and hits off his glove and Sean thinks it’s caught. He throws his helmet down and then realizes the guy didn’t catch it, so he puts his helmet back on for whatever reason, and runs down to first and gets bang-bang thrown out and throws his helmet again.
It was one of those things — I think maybe it was more the frustration of the year in general that we’re having, so when something happens like that, the fans reacted. That’s one thing we’ve prided ourselves on this year. We’re not winning as many games as we thought we’d win this year but every single meeting we have, Dale commends us on how we play the game the right way and play hard, and Sori is one of those guys. I think the fans notice his defense and how things have gotten better working with Dave McKay. We don’t have any guys not run out balls. Obviously, that play yesterday, every single guy in this clubhouse would’ve reacted the same way and assumed you lined out.
It was hard for me to hear that from the fans. I know how much Sori means to me as a teammate. He plays hurt. I wish the fans could be inside this clubhouse and see what we see as players. Dave McKay didn’t know what Soriano is all about until he came over here and he said, “Man, I absolutely love that guy.” He said, “When I was on the other side, I wasn’t too sure. He hits home runs and watches them a little bit and enjoys it and enjoys the game.” Once you play on that guy’s team, you see. I was telling Sori that he and Rafael Furcal are my two favorite teammates. They come to the park with so much energy and they’re always happy. You wish the fans could get an inside look at a guy rather than just judging a guy from what they’ve read or heard.
The weekend series with the Yankees obviously was a tough one. There was a lot happening — extra media in the clubhouse, an entirely different atmosphere that comes with the Yankees. To lose a game like Sunday night’s, with a four-run lead in the ninth with your closer coming in and you think it’s locked up, it was going to be really interesting to see how we responded. You can respond two ways — you can have a hangover from the loss or go back out and continue to fight. I liked what I saw in our first game against the Giants. Now we’re playing teams back in our division where we’ve had a lot of success. We can gain serious ground going head to head with the teams we need to beat. The guys are excited for Interleague Play to be over. We obviously didn’t play well, but that’s over and it’s good to get back in the National League and games in our division. — Reed
I’ve always been a guy who enjoyed history in general, so I really enjoy the history of this city and this field. And being with Toronto for five years, coming here three times a year, I have a good feel for visiting here and playing here. This and Yankee Stadium are two parks that are really fun to play in because there’s so much electricity and tradition for the game and you get the feel of what it was like 100 years ago. It’s a pretty cool experience, just to see the guys that haven’t played here before and to seek the looks on their faces when they first came out Friday and looked at the Green Monster. You see the way they built the place, with beams blocking the view of some seats, that this is the way it was 50, 60, 70 years ago and you recognize that things haven’t changed. And to think that you’re walking down the same tunnel to the field that Mickey Mantle walked when he played the Red Sox. How cool is that? — Reed
It’s definitely different coming back here to Wrigley Field. After playing here for two years, driving to the park, walking past the home clubhouse, after you’ve played in a place for a while, it’s a strange feeling coming back. This will be a good test for us as a team, though, to see where we’re at. Those guys are playing better and they’re one of those teams that, you have to figure, will be there at the end of the year with the talent they have. I got a chance to see some of my friends over there a little earlier. Ted Lilly, we played together in Toronto and here. Theriot and Fontenot. You develop relationships in this game, even though you realize how tough it is to stay in one spot for any length of time. — Reed
Now that Manny is back in the lineup, I know I’ll be seeing less playing time. But I knew the role when I signed, I knew this outfield had Manny and Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and if they’re all healthy, they are going to play. They are game changers. That said, I’ve been in all but about five games so far, so I’m pretty happy as far as how much I’ve gotten into games. You can ask just about any of us on the bench, we’re all guys that know we can be called on at any time and you have to be prepared and ready. Look at Jamey Carroll, with Rafael Furcal going down, Jamey was prepared to step in and he’s done really well, offensively and defensively. This bench has a lot of veterans who know what the deal is. — Reed
We got through our first homestand in pretty good shape at 4-2 and there were definitely some positives we can take, not only from the homestand, but from the first two weeks of the season. Our offense is definitely putting up some runs, and once our pitching gets settled in and gets more defined roles, we’ll be playing better all around, we’ll be pretty dangerous in this division like the club was the past two years. There are a lot of good signs and we’re excited as we get this long trip started. — Reed
From the get-go this spring, our team didn’t have a lot of open spots. The roster was pretty much set, and when you have a veteran club like this or a club that’s been to the playoffs and won a division two years in row, Spring Training is more of an opportunity for guys to get ready and keep themselves healthy. If you do that, you consider it a successful Spring Training. I know the fans enjoy the Freeway Series before the season starts, but for the players it’s still a Spring Training atmosphere. The players, in the back of your mind, it’s more a game to get ready.
I think when Opening Day comes and the bell rings, it definitely has a different feel. There’s a little more adrenaline and more focus. It’s not that you just flip the switch and go from off to on, but there is definitely a different intensity. And it’s not really different when you open on the road. Opening Day is Opening Day. It doesn’t matter, the stadium will be full. Their fans will come out and get behind those guys early in a season. And this is a good, young Pirates team and these guys play hard and well. This will be a good challenge for us. — Reed
Thanks to everyone who checked out my blog. Hope to be back next year.
Sunday could be my last game with the Cubs, but that’s how you have to approach every day, even if it’s not the last day of the season. You never know — you might go out on the field and run into a wall or have a bad injury and never play the game again. That’s the approach you should take every time you go on the field — that it’s your last game. Sometimes you forget that.
When you have injuries like I had this year, it reminds you of how much you enjoy playing the game and especially how much you enjoy being in a city like this. Hopefully, there’s something they can do to get me back here.
I know there’s some priorities on the team above me, and I understand that. They’re going to try to make this team better, whichever way they can. If it’s me they talk to first or I’m one of the last free agent acquisitions in the offseason, we’ll just wait and see. This has been the best two years of my career. After coming from Toronto and coming to an organization that has so much tradition and so much fan support, it’s been a relief. Like the other guys who have played here before, if you’re a free agent looking in, this is a great place to play. There have been multiple players who have made the same comment that if you play a 15-year career, you should play at least one year at Wrigley. Fortunately, I’ve been able to get two under my belt so far.
It’s a tough goodbye but at the same time, hopefully there’s more memories for myself and the fans. Hopefully, I can be a part of something special, which would, I’m sure, please the whole city for a long, long time.
As for Font, they should look for some type of medicine in the offseason to help him grow. It’s going to be tough for him. I don’t know if they have machines to hook him up to and stretch him out or whatever. Maybe he’s only 12. Maybe he has a fake birth certificate. Maybe he could hit a growth spurt in the offseason. We’ll see.