Spring Training games kick off today for 10 MLB teams, and the other 20 get going tomorrow. The Chicago Cubs are in that latter group, so you’ll have to wait another 24 hours for the best fake baseball in the world. At least the Cubs are playing two games tomorrow to make up for the wait.
And, to wet your whistle today in advance of games beginning tomorrow, I want to throw back to last Spring Training, when an unexpected hero sent one deep to the opposite field.
It was Jon Lester, who had started his Cubs career famously hitless, but who then went on to actually be among the hardest-hitting pitchers in baseball (by exit velocity anyway). So maybe this shouldn’t have been THAT big of a surprise:
I love how he just carried his bat into the dugout – no way he was letting that thing get away.
The homer was Lester’s first since high school, as he had not even been allowed to swing in Spring Training with the Red Sox.
Lester would go on to hit .102/.185/.153 last year, and, although he didn’t homer, he came close a couple times. And he ended the year with three doubles. Hey, his -9 wRC+ was 21st best among all pitchers last year with at least 50 plate appearances!
Just for good measure, Kyle Schwarber wound up going back-to-back with Lester:
Looking back at the post from the Lester homer, it looks like a BN’er immediately knew the implications of such an improbable event: