Results tagged ‘ Samardzija ’
Many of our subscribers should be receiving the September issue of Vine Line this week, featuring Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds as the cover story. As we were working on this issue, it became obvious that this centerfield tandem — a couple of castaways from the Blue Jays and Padres — is emblematic of what has made the Cubs so strong this year. They’ve starred on the offensive and defensive sides, offering a combination of pure talent, grit and experience.
Let’s open it up: What do you think Reed and Jim have brought to this team? How valuable have they been to this team as it sits 33 games over .500?
Also, in my “Leading Off” column this month, I chronicled Samardzija’s path to the majors, discussing his mixed track record in the minor leagues and the organization’s aggressive promotion of him all the way to Chicago. We’ve all seen his results as a reliever, a role in which he has been able to rely on his hard, sinking fastball and the splitter he reintroduced this year into his repertoire.
But I also learned a lot about how Samardzija enjoyed his first few weeks in the majors, when he developed his fastball and the value of his football experience to the baseball diamond. As a Vine Line blog exclusive, here’s Jeff Samardzija in his own words.
— Sean Ahmed
On his first few weeks in the majors: It’s been pretty wild. I’ve talked to a lot of people. Been all over the place. Had a lot of people come to the games. It’s been a lot of fun. And it’s kind of been how you want it to go.
On his family: Pretty much everyone lives in Northwest Indiana. Pretty much all my family and friends have been to a game. I wanted to get them up here as soon as possible, kind of show them around and then after that we’ll break it down so it won’t be such a big herd. [laughs]
On his two-seam fastball becoming his top pitch: I always had OK movement on my [fastball], so it was always an action pitch for me so I could get some groundouts, stuff like that. Probably my sophomore, junior year of college, it really took off as my go-to pitch. I think my arm got a little stronger, I started throwing a little harder, so it became a better pitch for me. And the more you throw it, the more comfortable you get with it — that’s kind of where we’re at with it right now. Especially after throwing it all of last season and most of this season, it’s pretty much finding its little niche. Feels good.
The first week of the Olympic Games has proven more than exciting to watch–especially since the Cubs had an off day on Monday and rain out on Tuesday. So there was little else on TV for Cubs fans to watch. From the breathtaking Opening Ceremonies to the Men’s 400m free relay, I’ve been transfixed. The thought of the games being held in Chicago in 2016 has me longing for a time machine that could take me there now!
But back to (a welcome) reality, as the Cubs sit in first place and have a big double-header today. Though the team is focused on their games, will they be watching the Olympics in their down time? I asked natural-born athlete Jeff Samardzija what events he will try to catch and what other sports we can add to the list of his innate abilities.
VL: What Olympic events do you most look forward to watching?
Jeff Samardzija: I really watch Track and Field a lot, like the 100m and 200m. They’re exciting. Probably a more odd one…when Table Tennis is on I’ll watch that. And actually Badminton is not too bad either.
VL: Which event could you compete in best, aside from baseball?
JS: Actually, probably Table Tennis. My skills are pretty good out there at Table Tennis.
VL: You must have quick reflexes.
JS: There you go.
VL: What event would you be the worst at?
JS: Diving. I don’t think that I have a slender body to slide into the splash. And…I would probably just cannonball too.
VL: Do you think baseball should remain an Olympic sport?
JS: I would say so. I think if kayaking, or something like that, is an Olympic sport, then baseball should obviously be there too–since it is one of the biggest sports in the world. The only hard part is it runs along the same time as Major League Baseball and probably a lot of the other leagues, so it’s kind of tough.
VL: If Chicago is to become the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games, what event would you like to see at Wrigley Field?
JS: Probably Handball. I’ve never seen it before, but they could play it off the ivy walls. I’d come see it.
VL: Since you can’t travel to Beijing this year, what’s the best Chinese food substitute?
JS: General Tsao’s Chicken from Golden Dragon takeout back at school at Notre Dame, it’s AMAZING!
— Jen Dedes Nowak
The Cubs have announced that pitcher Jeff Samardzija will be taking over the roster spot that was left open after Kerry Wood was placed on the DL with a nagging blister on his right hand. He will wear No. 29.
After being promoted to triple-A Iowa on June 24, Samardzija has pitched extremely well posting a 4-1 record with a 3.13 ERA in six starts. Earlier this year control problems seemed to be the downfall of the former Notre Dame football star, but since the call-up to the Iowa Cubs Samardzija has pounded the strike zone, striking out 40 and walking only 16 in 37.1 innings.