Tonight, the first Saturday night game since June 20, 1998 will be played at Wrigley Field. In that Saturday night tilt almost 13 years ago, rookie Kerry Wood struck out 11 in 7 1/3 innings and Sammy Sosa hit his 28th and 29th home runs in a 9-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
I had WGN (720-AM) on in the car recently while the Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune was being interviewed by a host.
According to the Tribune's Paul Sullivan, a fake press release was inserted with the game day media notes in the Miller Park press box Friday describing a fictional book authored by Jim Hendry.
It's been a foregone conclusion that the Cubs' season will end in Houston on Oct. 3 for some time, but there are plenty of reasons to follow the Cubs for their final 53 games of this season and to be optimistic about the 2011 season.
The news that Lou Piniella will step down as Cubs manager following the season wasn't earth-shaking news.
The Cubs announced before Saturday's game that they have recalled right-hander Mitch Atkins from Triple-A Iowa.
I was excited when I saw this headline on the Chicago Breaking News Web site Tuesday night: "Cubs' shakeup: Fukudome moves up, Lee down."
Bullpen help may soon be on the way for the Cubs, Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune.
Not just yet.
"Marlon Byrd has become a fan favorite in his first few weeks as a Cub, and has been trading salaams with the bleacher bums before every game," Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune.
"Soriano was summoned into Piniella's office for a pre-game meeting," Paul Sullivan reports for the Tribune.
"Another problem is the daily saga of Alfonso Soriano, who brought back the hop when catching fly balls that he said over the weekend he had ditched, and also stood at the plate admiring a long fly ball in the second inning," Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune. "He wound up with a double but could've had a triple if he had run out of the box. Soriano wound up stranded at third."
Cubs fans have heard it before. Manager Lou Piniella believes this could be the year that the Cubs end their 102-year world championship drought.
"I think the Cubs, their time is coming to win the World Series," Piniella said after Saturday's spring training finale in Phoenix. "Hopefully, it's very, very, very soon.
"When we do, it will be an event," he added.
Of course, each of the 30 major league managers will say that his team is capable of achieving October glory if his players stay healthy and perform to the best of their abilities. But does anybody really believe that Pittsburgh manager John Russell really thinks his Pirates have a shot?
Perhaps the most honest preseason managerial assessment of a team from the Cubs' Phil Cavarretta in 1954.
"The Cubs have to win now," Cavarretta said late in spring training. "They are losing fans by the thousands. But the material isn't there. The future looks even worse. There just isn't any good talent coming up. The Cubs have to get some big league talent or they're sunk."