Results tagged ‘ 1000 Words ’
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija delivers the first official Cactus League pitch ever thrown at Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz., to Diamondbacks leadoff hitter Gerardo Parra. The Shark walked Parra on four pitches and allowed a quick single to third baseman Martin Prado, but he settled down after that.
“It must have been the fireworks,” Samardzija said. “I think it was the first time the Cubbies ever had fireworks.”
In 2.0 innings pitched, Samardzija allowed no runs on two hits, walked one and struck out two. Despite RBI from Luis Valbuena and Starlin Castro, the Cubs dropped the opener 5-2.
The Cubs and Under Armour announced a multi-year naming rights agreement for the Under Armour Performance Center at the new Cubs Park training facilities in Mesa, Ariz on Wednesday.
The fitness center includes a two-story weight and cardiovascular facility, along with a hydrotherapy room, 120-seat theater, video room and cafeteria. The major league clubhouse has an oval-shaped locker room with 68 lockers wile the minor league clubhouse has 206 lockers to accommodate players training year-round.
“The Under Armour Performance Center gives our players the opportunity to train in a strength and conditioning facility that rivals any in baseball,” said Cubs Executive Vice President and General Manager Jed Hoyer in a press release. “We’re thankful to partners like Under Armour who help us bring this vision to life.”
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The day got off to an exciting start on Tuesday as Cubs legends Fergie Jenkins and Rick Sutcliffe addressed the team before morning workouts. They talked about their time with the Cubs, setting goals and having a long major league career. Jenkins’ goals were fairly lofty; he said he always strove for 250 innings, 20 wins and the league lead in strikeouts. Jenkins posted 20 wins seven times in his career, logged 200 innings 13 times (and 300 innings five times), and was in the top 10 in strikeouts 11 times.
Despite the many practice fields at new Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz., it’s always easy to spot catcher George Kottaras because he usually has a friend in tow. One of the most popular new members of the Cubs has been Kottaras’ dog, Leo, who even managed to sneak into some of Monday’s photo day shots.
The 8-month-old yellow lab is remarkably well-behaved and usually sits patiently by the Cubs training complex while Kottaras is at work on the field. The dog has a big legacy to live up to, as he was named after King Leonidas of Sparta.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Cubs prospect Jorge Soler turns 22 years old Tuesday. The La Habana, Cuba native signed a nine-year deal with the club in the summer of 2012 and has been viewed as one of baseball’s top prospects since his arrival. MLB.com recently named him the Cubs’ No. 3 prospect and No. 26 in baseball.
Injuries shortened what looked to be a promising 2013 campaign, where he hit .281/.343/.467 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with eight home runs, 13 doubles and 35 RBI in 55 High-A Daytona games. A member of the 40-man roster, Soler has been in Mesa with the major league side, though it’s likely he’ll start the 2014 season in Daytona or Double-A Tennessee.
(Photo by Jon Antonoff)
Starting next week, Vine Line will take the field along with the rest of the Cubs at Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz. We’ll be at the new facilities talking to the team and front office, watching the home opener at Cubs Park and blogging throughout the week.
Be sure to stay tuned for photos, stories and more from Mesa. And, if you don’t already, follow us on Twitter at @cubsvineline to get all the news first.
(Photo courtesy of National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Hall of Fame slugger Ralph Kiner (center) died Thursday at the age of 91. Kiner, who was best known for his time with the Pirates, spent a year and a half with the Cubs toward the end of his career.
Known for his longball abilities, the outfielder led the National League in home runs in each of his first seven seasons (1946-52), topping out at 54 bombs in 1949.
In July 1953, he was traded to the Cubs in a nine-player deal and hit .283/.394/.529 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 28 homers in 117 games. Kiner had another successful season on the North Side in 1954, hitting 22 home runs and finishing with a .285/.371/.487 line. On Nov. 16 of that year, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for right-hander Sam Jones.
A back injury ended his career following the 1955 season. After his retirement, he moved into the broadcast booth with the White Sox (1961) and Mets (1962-2006).
Over Kiner’s 10-year career, he hit .279/.398/.548 and amassed 369 home runs and 1,015 RBI. The six-time All-Star was induced into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Cubs legend Ernie Banks turns 83 years young today. The two-time NL MVP is a member of the 500 home run club and was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. He finished his career as an 11-time All-Star and claimed a Gold Glove in 1960. Banks was the first Cub to have his number retired at Wrigley Field.