The Cubs were in split squad mode yesterday, walking away with a couple of losses. The Rockies beat them 4-2 and the defending World Series champions Kansas City Royals defeated the Cubs 3-2.
Some more rust came off the now waking up baby bears as Jason Heyward rocked a shot into the crowd for a take home souvenir and Anthony Rizzo did the same to break the goose egg of home runs for them in this early spring training.
”I’ve had good at-bats the last couple days,” Heyward said. ”I know what I have to do get myself ready and the Cubs let each one of us do that as players. It’s been fun, a great atmosphere to come into every day and come to work.”
However, the real surprise so far this March, and well, it’s not really all that surprising is Addison Russell crushing his second homer.
”I took imitative in the offseason and took it pretty serious and stayed in the gym,” Russell said. ”I listened to the body and my swing feels fine. I am not trying to generate more power. It’s the (timing on the) kick or I am barreling the ball more often.”
It’s funny, this winter there’s been a lot of talk about Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr and his quest to beat father time. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. He passed Gordie Howe on the points list. He’s 44.
They say the last thing to go in hockey are the hands. This is true in Jagr’s case. However, I challenge everyone that baseball is much different. It’s a game about timing and swing. After a long winter, a player’s timing could be off. It doesn’t matter if you’re Giancarlo Stanton or Addison Russell, a player can know the fundamentals of the game but they need that month of spring training to get their swing back.
Maybe that’s why the Cubs youth movement is so much more impressive. Their bats are connecting with that raw talent and synergy that the game of baseball hasn’t seen in quite sometime.
Someone I’m glad is back in a Cubs uniform is Ryne Sandberg. There was a guy that I always looked forward to watching and although I was a bit young to appreciate the game, I remember seeing the highlights shortly after it happened. He was a legend and I know the players are going to learn a lot of stuff from him in camp.
“He’s got a really contemporary sense,” Joe Maddon. “He doesn’t miss anything. I could throw something out there thinking it’ll bounce off the walls, and he gets it. He sees things, he’s very sharp.”
This is going to be one of the most important seasons in Cubs history. Expectations are high but realistically the Cubs might not win the big championship. As Cubs fans we have to accept that. What we don’t have to accept is the Cubs playing exciting baseball this season and keeping it competitive. It’s going to take all kinds of Synergy to make that happen.