As you've certainly
, the Peoria Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons were playing a homey Class A baseball game last night when a WNBA game broke out.
Is there anything better than a baseball fight? Well, yes and no. It's all fun and games until some nutjob fires a ball into the crowd.
During the brawl, Cubs Class A pitcher Julio Castillo's control problems led him to fire a ball high and outside off the visitors' dugout that ricocheted off a man's head, bounced five rows, according to news reports, and landed in the lap of one lucky fan. I wonder if he gave the ball to a kid.
Castillo was arrested and charged with felonious assault,
and, as far as I know, remains behind bars in a Montgomery County (Ohio) hoosegow.
Hey, kids, the Peoria Chiefs come to Wrigley on Tuesday! First 5,000 fans get a free batting helmet.
Between Ben Christensen, a former Cubs draft pick who in college beaned an opposing player in the on-deck circle, and Jae Kuk Ryu, a former Cubs farmhand who picked off Ozzy the Osprey with a ball before a game, the Cubs scouting department sure knows how to pick 'em.
Alfonso Soriano's back and the Cubs are 2-0 in that span with 16 runs after tripping all over themselves coming out of the All-Star Break.
After earning his first road win in his last start, Ryan Dempster returns to the Wrigley Field mound where he's 10-1 with a 2.81 ERA. Josh Johnson goes for the Marlins.
Mr. All-Star Game Dan Uggla gets his first start of the series.
Welcome, everyone to this Friday afternoon edition of From the Cubicle.
and we are about to enjoy some baseball. Soon.
It's 80 degrees under partly cloudy skies. The wind won't be a factor today as it's barely blowing out of the south at eight m.p.h. Hanley Ramirez leads it off for the Marlins and lines the first pitch to left. Rather than go back on the ball, Soriano holds his ground and leaps in the air to snare it. Good catch, I guess. Not the best read of the ball, but it's an out. Luis Gonzalez pulls a 1-2 pitch down the right-field line for a one-out double. Jorge Cantu flies out to right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, who fires the ball back to the infield to keep Gonzalez at second. Mike Jacobs grounds out to third to end the top half of the first.
"Nebraska Cub" on the board, Ramirez lined out; Gonzalez doubled.
Soriano strikes out on an awkward looking check swing on a pitch that nearly hit him in the hands. Ryan Theriot lines the first pitch he sees into right-center for a single. With Derrek Lee up, Theriot is thrown out trying to steal second. Bad jump, according to Bob Brenly, and a great throw by the catcher Paul Hoover. Johnson strikes out Lee and that does it for the first. Put it in your scrapbook.
No score in this one
And one more message board matter, Seth, I am not going to Rahula's tomorrow. Here's Uggla. Dempster grazes him with a pitch an he takes his base. Dempster falls behind Josh Willingham 3-0 before grooving a fastball over for strike 1.
With Uggla on the move, Willingham lines one in the gap. Uggla chugglas all the way around from first to score.
Reed Johnson cut that ball off, but one-hopped the relay throw to Fontenot, who couldn't handle it, so Uggla scored from first without a throw. Cody Ross bounces it back to Dempster, who looks Willingham back to second and then throws to first for the out. Dempster strikes out Hoover with a high fastball. Johnson bounces back to the pitcher for the third out, but the Marlins take an early lead. Somewhere in Schenectady, N.Y., Dan Uggla's dad is proud again.
Marlins 1, Cubs 0
Aramis Ramirez strikes out. Fukudome can't check his swing and he strikes out. That's four already for Johnson.
Geovany Soto drives it high and deep enough to left for a solo home run that just gets out next to the corner of the well.
Fontenot singles to right. Reed Johnson, whom I saw recently walking down Wells Street with his wife and dog, singles through the hole on the right side. Fontenot, running on the 3-2 pitch, takes third. Dempster bounces out, stranding the two guys on base. But the Cubs get that run back on the Soto homer.
Cubs 1, Marlins 1
Uncle Dak, thanks for pointing out that FTC is first on Google news. That should please all of our SEO wonks here. We're enjoying more than nine innings of fame. I'll have you know, FTC is forever immortalized on the reference page of
. My parents are so proud.
Ramirez drives one deep to right. Fukudome drifts back, times his steps and makes a great leaping grab, disappearing into the ivy. Nicely done. Maybe that will unseat one of those beach soccer clips ESPN keeps showing on the Top 10 plays. Gonzalez draws a walk. Dempster fans Cantu and then Jacobs to end the top half of the third.
Got a little confused there on the innings. Sorry about that. Soriano pops out to short and Theriot takes a called third strike. Lee squibs one towards Uggla, who manages to not boot the ball and throw out Lee for the final out of the third inning.
we move to the fourth inning ... right?
Cubs 1, Marlins 1
Got a little confused on the ol' hypertext markup language there. Dan Uggla, I feel your pain. Speaking of which, Uggla grounds out to second. Willingham walks and then is thrown out stealing by Soto. No matter, Ross replaces him on first as Dempster walks him, too. Dempster strikes out Hoover.
Ramirez chases a few sliders away early in the at-bat and eventually goes down on strikes. Brenly says he's trying to do too much. Fukudome skies one to right where Gonzalez and Ross come together and nearly collide. Gonzalez makes the grab but gets a facefull of Ross' glove in the process. Johnson fans Soto for his seventh strike out.
Cubs 1, Marlins 1
Johnson, the pitcher, leads off the fifth and bounces out to second. Ramirez hits the first pitch hard but right at short and that makes two outs. Dempster walks Gonzalez for the second time today. Dempster walks Cantu, too. That's No. 5 and here comes Larry Rothschild out to the mound. He lingers a bit too long for the taste of homeplate ump Brian Gorman, who eventually has to break things up out there. Jacobs hits with two on and two outs. Dempster gets two strikes on Jacobs but misses inside and bit low and that brings a groan from the crowd. Dempster got ahead 0-2 but nibbles three times and now it's full. Jacobs fouls one off and then takes ball four to load the bases for Uggla. We joke about his hands, but Uggla's got some serious pop. Ball one. Rothschild's on the phone. Chad Gaudin gets up in the pen. Dempster gets two strikes on Uggla. Everyone on their feet and Dempster strikes him out to get out of the bases-loaded jam.
Fontenot digs in and Jeff Samardzija gets up in the pen. Fontenot strikes out. Johnson bats and Dempster takes his sport in the ondeck circle, despite throwing 96 pitches already.
Johnson gets ahold of one and drives it deep and gone for a solo shot to center.
I said earlier that the wind wouldn't be a factor but I think it's factored in both of the Cubs' runs, two homers that just got out and probably were helped out by a little push. Dempster grounds back to the pitcher. Soriano bloops a two-out single to center. Johnson falls behind 3-0 to Theriot. Brenly says he's having trouble with his slide step pitching out of the stretch. Theriot walks. WGN shows Samardzija getting up in the pen again. Up, down, make up your mind. Lee lines a single to left. Willingham comes up throwing and ... Soriano is out by a mile at the plate.
Cubs 2, Marlins 1
Here's the replay of the play at the plate. Great throw on the fly by Willingham, great tag by Hoover and Soriano was out but not "by a mile" as I wrote above. Not a bad call by third base coach Mike Quade. It took a good throw to get him. Back to the current action, Willingham flies out. Ross swings and misses at a Dempster pitch and launches his bat into the crowd behind the Cubs dugout. It appears everyone's OK. Ross then grounds out to third. Dempster fans Hoover to end the top of the sixth. With 107 pitches, that's got to be it for him, I would think.
Ramirez pops up the first pitch and Uggla gloves it in shallow right. Fukudome walks and reaches for the first time today. Soto works the count full, Fukudome takes off for second and Soto dribbles one foul. We'll try that again. Fukudome runs and it's ball four. That's it for Josh Johnson. Joe Nelson trots in from the pen and we go to commercial. To those of you asking about the strike zone, it's been fair through these eyes. Dempster had some control issues. He walked six batters and wasn't getting squeezed. Johnson was tough. The Cubs took advantage of a couple of mistakes and he just ran out of gas in the sixth, so they yanked him after 90 pitches. Plus, he's coming off Tommy John surgery. Fontenot taps one back to the pitcher. Nelson fields it and wants to go to second but Uggla's not there. But there's still time to get Fontenot at first. So runners on second and third with two outs for Johnson, who homered in the fifth. Dempster is in the ondeck circle. Johnson walks to load the bases and Dempster retreats and gets a standing ovation. Daryle Ward will hit for him. Ward takes strike one right down the middle. Ward takes a ball and then fouls off two straight pitches. Another fould ball. Scott Eyre was up. But now he's down. Samardzija gets up again. Guy's going to blow out his knee before he even makes an appearance. Ward fans to end the sixth.
Cubs 2, Marlins 1
Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame, wake up the echoes, something about her name. Don't know the lyrics. Sorry. Here's Brady Quinn's boy, Samardzija. He misses with two straight balls and already Soto is out there to talk with him. Alfredo Amezaga hits for the pitcher, by the way. Samardzija climbs back in this at-bat to get the count full. He's throwing really hard -- 96, 97 plus some pretty wicked movement on a hard slider. Samardzija strikes out Amezaga on an inside fastball and everyone at Wrigley likes that. Now that he's calmed down a bit, the Domer gets ahead of Ramirez on two fastballs. But Ramirez grounds one up the middle just past Theriot for a hit. With a ball and a strike to Gonzalez, Samardzija sails a pitchout over Soto's head all the way to the screen. Nuke LaLoosh, is that you? Ramirez takes second. Gonzalez flies to center and Ramirez tags and takes third.
Samardzija gets two strikes before Cantu shoots a double past Ramirez down the third-base line. Ramirez scores and this game is tied.
Jacobs pops out to Theriot to end the top half of the seventh.
Len Kasper will sing TMOTTBG. Let's hope WGN shows him from the waist up.
might be too much for our Midwestern sensibilities.
Cubs 2, Marlins 2
Righty Doug Waechter is the new Marlines pitcher and will bat second. Amezaga stays in the game to play center. Ross moves from center to right and Gonzalez takes a seat. Soriano grounds out to short. Theriot singles to right. Lee nearly does his specialty, grounding into a double play. But Ramirez's throw from third to second is wide. Theriot is called out and slams his hand on the base. He thought Uggla's foot came off the bag. Mike Quade gets Theriot out of there. Piniella comes out to argue but only briefly. It's hard to tell on the replay. Regardless, Lee reaches on the fielder's choice and Ramirez bats with two outs. Ramirez walks and that's it for Waechter. Lefty Renyel Pinto is the new guy and he'll face Fukudome. Ball three gets away from Hoover and both runners move up. Fukudome slices one the other way just foul. Fukudome then strikes out, stranding the two runners.
Cubs 2, Marlins 2
Samardzija stays in there. Uggla taps one back to the pitcher for the first out. Willingham flies out to right. Samardzija fans Ross and sets the Marlins down in order in the eighth.
Pinto and Soto were former battery mates in the Cubs farm system. The Cubs sent Pinto to the Marlins as part of the Juan Pierre trade. That said, Soto flies out to left. Ronny Cedeno, in for Fontenot at second, dumps a bloop single into right. Pinto is lifted in favor of Justin Miller. Miller strikes out Johnson. Samardzija was in the ondeck circle taking some hacks. But that was wishful thinking on his part. Jim Edmonds will hit and a crestfallen Samardzija heads down the dugout steps. Edmonds pokes one the other way for a double putting runners on second and third for Soriano. Jason Marquis will run for Edmonds. And Marlin piching coach Mark Wiley makes about his 30th trip to the mound today. Why wouldn't they walk Soriano? So much for that. Soriano takes a breaking ball for a strike before popping out to Uggla in shallow center.
Cubs 2, Marlins 2
Bob Howry will face Jeremy Hermida, Amezaga and Ramirez in the ninth.
Hermida lays into a full count pitch and nearly puts it on Sheffield for a pinch-hit solo home run.
Amezaga lines out to Fukudome. Wrigley Field has fallen dead silent. Ramirez (Hanley) bangs one off Aramis Ramirez's glove that dribbles into left. Ramirez digs hard around first and beats Soriano's throw to second. To make matters worse, Cedeno got spiked on the play. He appears to be OK. Backup catcher John Baker hits for MIller and he works the count full. So Howry has completely lost it or what? Baker sends it deep to right. Fukudome gets turned around but recovers to make the grab. Ramirez went halfway and had to retreat to second. Cantu flies out to center to end the top half, but the damage is done in the form of a Hermida homer.
Marlins 3, Cubs 2
Closer Kevin Gregg is the Marlins' sixth pitcher of the day. Theriot grounds out for the first out. Lee flies out to right and quickly the Cubs are down to their last out. It's up to Ramirez, who has come through in the past in such situations. Alas, not today. Ramirez grounds out to third and the Cubs lose 3-2.
Final: Marlins 3, Cubs 2
The Cubs get two runs on two solo homers and that's it. They're shut down by a parade of pitchers from the Marlins' pen. Well, don't let it ruin your weekend, everyone. Thanks for reading.