Late Monday night, Joe Mather explained why he switched his uniform number from 16 to 21, because he always thought it looked cool in those Roberto Clemente highlights.
Mather talked up Travis Wood after the 25-year-old left-hander threw seven shutout innings against the New York Mets, showing the potential the Cubs saw when they traded Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds last winter.
Mather was also asked about the home run he hit off the great Johan Santana. When the group interview by his locker ended after a 6-1 victory, he joked: No Rizzo questions?
No doubt the business side is hoping for more than the 34,092 fans the Cubs got on Monday at Wrigley Field. Anthony Rizzo will be in uniform on Tuesday night, and that should be a box-office attraction after all the attention hes generated down at Triple-A Iowa.
So the next big thing for Cubs fans and the Chicago media to obsess over will be Brett Jackson, a 2009 first-round pick out of Cal-Berkeley.
Jackson is hitting .256 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 73 games at Iowa. Hes also struck out 107 times in 281 at-bats, though he still profiles as the kind of all-around outfielder Theo Epstein likes to build around.
Hes been a little streaky, obviously, Epstein said. (Hes) been a productive player despite a pretty high swing-and-miss rate. I think Brett could be a good player even while striking out a lot. If he can find a way to make more contact, especially on fastballs in the zone, the skys the limit for him.
His secondary skills are so good: Hes patient. He has power. He can play defense. He can run the bases. Its really important (in order) to reach his true ceiling to continue to make better contact on fastballs in the zone.
The Cubs showed patience and restraint in waiting to promote Rizzo, and they will almost certainly do the same with Jackson, whos only played 140 games at the Triple-A level.
Yeah, the strikeouts are at an incredible rate, which is a little bit strange, manager Dale Sveum said. Its the pitch selection, as much as anything. (I) think he went through a period there where even the fastball was giving him trouble. But now its just the soft stuff (in the dirt) that he cant seem to lay off either.
Hes got some strange stats for having basically an .850 OPS and striking out over 100 times. Its a very strange statunless youre Adam Dunn.
All the hype reminded Alfonso Soriano of what it was like coming up with the New York Yankees, and how important it was to have people like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams show him the way.
Everybody was talking about me, Soriano recalled, but thank God I had veteran guys around me. They told me: We support you and want you to do well, but dont put pressure on yourself. Just go out there and have fun and see what happens.
Soriano takes a lot of heat, but he sets an example in his own way, by pushing to play through pain every day. Even though the Cubs are 25-48, the clubhouse has remained professional and upbeat and not shown signs of jealousy during the Rizzo Watch.
Guys in the room know the talent that he is, utility man Jeff Baker said. The biggest thing is just going to be not to say this in a bad way helping him with you guys (in the media) and the expectations of this city.
Unfortunately, its going to be a little unfair. To do what hes doing in Triple-A? Shoot, if he comes up here and does it, awesome, theyre going to have an All-Star for years and somebody that can be a superstar. But were going to shower him with love.