The Chicago Cubs had one distinct goal this off-season and Wednesday morning they will announce mission accomplished.
30-year-old left-handed outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is Chi-town bound after agreeing with the Cubs to a reported 4-year, $48 million contract.
Fukudome is everything that Corey Patterson never was and further indicates the Cubs organization’s newfound understanding that top talent on the farm (see Wood, Prior, Guzman) ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be. For Japanese baseball stars who’ve come to America, the results have been awesome. Suzuki. Matsui. Dice-K. Okajima.
I went to the awesome World Baseball Classic nearly two years ago and — while I primarily remember Japan’s incredible pitchers — Fukudome stood out as well, and not just because his name is so badass.
After Japan won the WBC championship, Fukudome returned to play for the Chunichi Dragons and turned out an MVP season, batting .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBIs.
This is exciting — and Lou can make it happen. I imagine Hendry making a couple more moves — pitching-wise — someone who could stay healthy all year. I don’t want to sit through another spring watching Guzman, Prior, and Wood go through the motions only to find out that they’re arms are bunk (and Kerry, yes, you’ve regained my faith — for now).
I wore an Aramis Ramirez jersey to both Cubs losses at Chase Field in Arizona. Ramirez went hitless in 9 at bats. The D-backs uncharacteristically scored over a dozen runs in two games. The Cubs have yet to show up in the playoffs, but Chase Field is not really much of a ballpark. It’s more of a warehouse or hangar filled with ads, a mascot, and yes, cheerleaders — two teenagers who pop on the big screen to try and rile the crowd. Sadly, the crowd — the slight majority that weren’t rooting for the Cubs — were filled with haters, who, instead of rooting for their own team, could only get into the “Beat the Cubs” chant. Lame.
Words cannot explain the incredible joy and excitement I feel right now. I’ve been following the Cubs as close as ever this year, despite my current residence on the west coast and after 160 games, it IS HAPPENING! The Cubs are going to the playoffs and are the first National League team to clinch their division. Zambrano and Soriano were the heroes today — the two guys who got the fattest cash deals and boy do they deserve it. I don’t have cable, much less satellite but I am listening to the WGN radio stream and on a mad hunt for an Old Style. I am also loving the comment thread at Bleed Cubbie Blue as well as the Cub-cam at Clark and Addison showing the fans spilling out into the streets of Wrigleyville (the game was away in Cincinnati, btw). Soon to leave the house for a Friday night, but this is JUST the beginning of a great run. GO CUBS!
With less than one week left in the regular season and the Cubs magic number at 4, I’m ready to talk playoffs. While the 2007 National League playoff race is still Cubsfans like myself, with potential opponents including Arizona, San Diego, and *gulp* a potential World Series showdown vs. Anaheim.
I DID get in around 9:09, BUT — after selecting my seats and beginning the checkout it said my seats were no longer on hold…. perhaps I should have gone ahead with the trans instead of returning to the ticket screen, because this only returned me to the virtual waiting room!!! Argggh!
Perhaps I’ll get lucky should the Cubs advance to the NLCS. Go Cubs!