There’s so much that our players do for the community that goes unnoticed — just fine with them, of course, but also truly deserving of mention.
Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly both hosted charitable ticket programs this weekend, packing the terrace with groups of kids.
On Saturday, Lilly invited 50 members of Maryville Academy and spoke with them during batting practice. The three programs included young men and women ages 13-21 and help offer residential care and training for those with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and emotional problems.
Dempster kicked off the fourth year of “Dempster’s Dugout” with a group of 40 from Camp of Dreams, a Chicago non-profit devoted to enriching the lives of underserved youth ages 9-18. He met with the “Dreamers” during batting practice and treated them to lunch at the ballpark.
Kudos for their work supporting the community and cherishing their influence as Cubs players.
? Cubs players enjoyed having Henry Blanco back in the “Friendly Confines.” It was a nice touch when Alfonso Soriano flashed a smile and gave a gentle tap on Blanco’s shin guard at the plate last Tuesday.
? Randy Wells threw a dirty change-up to strike out Michael Bourn in the fifth inning Saturday. Wells gave up just four hits and three walks over six shutout innings, striking out four. In our June “In the Dugout” Q&A, Lou Piniella told Vine Line that he has been impressed with Wells since his cup of coffee last year and that the strike-thrower figures to fit in somewhere in the rotation or bullpen.
? Kosuke Fukudome’s former hitting coach in Japan, Kyosuke Sasaki, watched Sunday’s game from the seats near the Cubs’ on-deck circle. Sasaki has worked with Kosuke this season, as you can read in this cubs.com story.
— Sean Ahmed