While most Cubs fans were watching some stupid, meaningless, late-September game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field, the REAL fans were gathered at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
Yes, today is a big day here in Mesa: Opening Day for the Arizona Instructional League.
Apparently the governor and mayor couldn't make it, but you can be sure AZ Phil and a couple or three other screaming fans showed up, not at all dissuaded by the absence of concessions, music, National Anthem, 7th inning stetch, lame between-inning contests, or a PA announcer.
And you can be sure we were not disappointed!
Cubs 2007 13th round pick Jonathan Wyatt
drove in three runs with a two-run triple and solo home run, and Cubs 2007 #1 draft pick Josh Vitters
drove in two more with a bases-loaded single, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Angels.
The Cubs AZ Instructional League team is essentially a post-season All-Star team made up (mainly) of the best prospects from AZL Mesa, Boise, Peoria, and Daytona.
The boys play an exciting 17-game schedule from September 21st through October 13th against Instructional League teams representing the Angels, A's, Giants, Brewers, and White Sox, and in addition to the games, the youngsters receive intense instruction every day from the organization's special instructors, including Bobby Dernier (baserunning and outfield), Casey Kopitzke (catching), Tom Beyers (hitting), and Tom Pratt and Dennis Lewallyn (pitching).
Cubs Minor League Coordinator Dave Bialas is the camp manager (director?).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Jonathan Wyatt
, CF (2-4, 3B, SOLO HR, HBP, 2 R, 3 RBI)
2. Tony Thomas
, 2B (2-3, 3B, HBP, SB, R)
3. Marwin Gonzalez
, SS (1-4, 3B, R, RBI)
4. Kyler Burke
, 1B (0-3, BB, R)
5. Brandon Guyer
, LF (2-3, 3B, BB, R, RBI)
6. Josh Vitters
, 3B (1-4, 2 RBI, K, GIDP)
7-A. Welington Castillo
, C (1-1, 2B, BB, R)
7-B. Steve Clevenger
, C (1-2, 2B)
8. Cliff Andersen
, RF (0-4, K)
9. Jovan Rosa
, DH #1 (2-3, 2B, BB, RBI, K)
10. Mark Reed
, DH #2 (0-4, R)
NOTE: They use two DHs and a ten-man batting order in th AZ Instructional League.
1. Ryan Acosta
- 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP (22 pitches)
2. Donnie Veal
- 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (20 pitches)
3. Chris Huseby
- 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K (16 pitches)
4. Casey Lambert
- 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (32 pitches)
5. Jose Ceda
- 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (31 pitches)
1. Castillo (throwing - attempted pick-off at 2nd base sailed into CF)
2. Vitters (dropped throw from catcher at 3rd base that would have been a CS)
STOLEN BASES/CAUGHT STEALING
1. Castillo (1-1 CS)
2. Clevenger (2-3 CS)
Castillo picked runner off 2nd base (this young man is a throwin' fool!)
2007 CUBS AZ INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE ROSTER
(25-year old ex-Mets prospect, pitched for Tijuana in 2007)
(24-year old Colombian signed last week out of indy league in Georgia)
(NDFA Venezuelan signed in August out of Ellsworth CC in Iowa)
(signed this past summer out of Korea)
(NOTE: Only one "L" in Welington!)
(also plays 1B-2B-3B-SS)
(AAA Iowa utility INF learning to be a catcher?)
(also is playing 1B)
(also learning to play 1B)
Also, OF Angel Pagan
is on a DL injury rehab assignment at Fitch Park.
OF Tyler Colvin
was originally supposed to be at the Instructional League camp, but he is not.