Sweet signs of spring

INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgIt was the first time I had heard the radio in the office in months.

Wednesday marked the start of spring training games, and though we’re just through the first game of the 201 scheduled this season, this one seemed as important personally as any other one we’ll play. After a second consecutive brutal winter in Chicago, it’s baseball season once again.

But I can only imagine how Micah Hoffpauir must have felt after Game 1. After hitting into a bases-loaded double play in his first at-bat, Hoffpauir turned one around his next time up for a grand slam. At 29 years old, he’s no longer a prospect, but there are a lot of people who are rooting for him.

Hoffpauir grand slam.jpgVine Line writer Karry Kerness profiled Hoffpauir in our March issue, focusing on Hoffpauir’s first call-up to the big leagues last season. The slugger spoke of receiving the word from his Iowa Cubs manager Pat Listach.

“I was kind of nervous; I was thinking this either really good or I am going home,” Hoffpauir said. “I got the chills, and I looked at my wife and she was sniffling. It was awesome. I called my family, and since they were in the same hotel, you heard a lot of screams up and down the halls.”

Half staff

Other than game time, the office is quiet these days. With the departure today of some or all of the baseball operations, media relations and community affairs departments, the front office feels like it’s half full. And right now everyone is focused on finishing all their projects for Opening Day — including our game-day program and April issue of Vine Line — because once the team is back in town, there’s a whole new pace to the day.

New province for Provus

Congrats to Cory Provus, who called three innings of today’s Cubs-Brewers radio broadcast today … for Milwaukee’s radio network. Provus just was hired for Milwaukee’s open No. 2 gig and will be missed in the Wrigley Field clubhouse. He’s a great guy who always had an enthusiastic hello — and a WGN Radio microphone — everytime I ran into him.

And I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him plenty around the ballpark. When he stopped by to say goodbye to his friends in the front office, he was reminded that he said he wanted to make more visits around the community this season. It sounds like he’s going to be held to that promise!

Signs of spring

There’s some work going on around Wrigley Field to update it for the coming season, though none of it is being done on the field yet. With the heavy snow sticking because of frigid temperatures, we’ve seen the grass blanketed in white ever since the Winter Classic. But yesterday’s 60-degree temperatures in Chicago — don’t worry, they disappeared today — have revealed the muddy yellow-green again.

— Sean Ahmed

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