Visiting fans making voices heard at Wrigley
An interesting phenomenon took place in Chicago this week. All around town, baseball fans walked the streets decked out in black and orange.
Many were San Francisco Giants fans in town for the three-game series against the Cubs. And many were Baltimore Orioles fans, in Chicago for games against both the White Sox and Cubs.
"It's a very proud tradition in Baltimore," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "I remember when I was with other clubs how well the Oriole fans traveled. You see it in Sarasota (Florida, for spring training) especially.
"I know there was a lot of Giants black and orange around yesterday when I was walking around. I just claimed all of them as Orioles. Part of Chicago thinks the last few days have been Halloween with all the black and orange."
Showalter said his team would spend some time going over the idiosyncrasies of Wrigley Field.
"You go over so many things, about the caroms back here and how they come back toward first and third base and what to do if the ball is stuck in the ivy," he said. "It's one of the few fields, maybe the only field, where the fence isn't padded. I'm not real sure how they get away with that. But not my job."
The Orioles have a comfortable lead in the American League East, and the Cubs are attempting to build for success in the National League Central.
"This isn't quite as complicated as some people try to make it out to be," Showalter said. "It's the same things that make everybody successful in past years. It's the same thing in play now. I am always a little dubious of someone trying to reinvent the wheel, somebody trying to test the methods."
Making his mark:
Logan Watkins started at second base for the Cubs and made a couple of nice backhanded plays to turn groundball outs in Friday's 4-1 victory. He is up because Starlin Castro is on the bereavement list.
At Iowa, Watkins had a line of .256/.329/.364 with 4 homers. He played in 27 games for the Cubs last year.
"Last year, I kind of got sporadic at-bats, but I've been playing every day in Iowa this past month," he said. "I'm ready to go. I'm not sure what the plan is. I hate that Castro is going through what he's going through. I'm going to be here until he gets back and we'll see what happens."
It's been a fun season in Iowa for Watkins, who has gotten to watch third-base prospect Kris Bryant up close.
"That was probably one of the more talented teams I've ever played on," he said. "I got a lot of experience in certain positions I don't usually play. So I felt like I learned a lot this year.
"(Bryant) is going to play this game for a long time. He's a really good. I try to get him to smile a little bit more. He takes it pretty serious, and he's pretty intense. He's fun to play with."
Ready for rotation if needed:
It's possible Jacob Turner will come out of the bullpen to start next Tuesday at Cincinnati. He pitched 2 innings in Thursday's resumption of a suspended game against the Giants. Turner warmed up as a starter and came on in the sixth inning after Tsuyoshi Wada went 5 Tuesday.
"This whole month has kind of been a whirlwind, so I haven't thrown a whole lot," said Turner, who came to the Cubs in a trade with Miami earlier this month. "I'm just looking forward to getting out there.
"I started at the beginning of the month, so I don't think I'll having any problem going 5, depending on how stressful the innings are."