With opening day looming, I’d like to take a moment to pass on a few bracing words to the 25 guys that are going to line up on the baseline April 1st.
Ryan Dempster- I love you, you wacky Canadian. Keep being you. Keep being good.
Carlos Zambrano- Keep channeling that crazy. Being “cured” is working out for you.
Matt Garza- I cannot unsee that you resemble a muppet, but if you don’t pitch like Grover, it won’t be foremost in my mind. Let’s hope Chicago treats you better than Arizona.
Randy Wells- I love that you came to spring training to work and that you mean business, but don’t forget to have a good time.
Andrew Cashner- I’m proud of you, kid. Have Demp teach you how to bunt and keep your walks down and you’ll be golden.
Carlos Marmol- I’m looking forward to another season of riding your 9th inning roller coaster.
Kerry Wood- Glad you’re home. Make yourself comfortable. Have fun with the babies.
Sean Marshall- You’re not the oldest guy in the bullpen this season. I’m sure you don’t mind. I hope you and your curveball have another excellent season.
John Grabow- It’s okay to be good. You’re not a Pirate anymore.
Jeff Samardzija- You look like a pirate, but that doesn’t mean you should be walking people like the first baseline is a plank. You have moments of excellence. Have more of those moments more often.
James Russell- As a Beard Twin, I hold you to higher standards. Pitch like I know you can and make your counterpoint in the cornfield proud.
Marcos Mateo- I knew you were destined for greatness when I saw you dressed as Cleopatra during rookie hazing. Keep working your stuff. So proud of you.
Carlos Pena- Make your swing as sweet as your dimples and no Cubs fan will resist you.
Darwin Barney- I’m so proud of you, Double Bubble. You rocked in spring training and your gum chewing skills have improved. Keep up the hard work.
Jeff Baker- Don’t fear the righties. Smile once in awhile.
Starlin Castro- Take your spring into summer, mind the errors, and wear smaller necklaces. I get nervous whenever you break out the heavy stuff. I’m afraid you’ll give yourself a concussion sliding into second.
Aramis Ramirez- I appreciate that you want to make up for a crap year last year. Stay healthy and you probably will. I’d tell you not to hit my three pet peeves, but I think we both know that won’t happen.
Blake DeWitt- You had a rough spring, but I know you can do better. You’ve got nowhere to go but up. Get there. I’ll get you a new flannel.
Kosuke Fukudome- Keep doing what you’re doing. You could smile more, too. Also, you may want to consider changing your theme music to “Walk This Way”.
Marlon Byrd- I don’t know what you say to Fukudome in the outfield, but keep doing it. He needs to smile more. Also, going full throttle for a season is great, but don’t forget to rest.
Alfonso Soriano- I’m glad you’re healthy. I’m glad you’re feeling good. Keep hustling and save a few of those golf swings for the course.
Tyler Colvin- Don’t try to hit homers ALL the time. Be flexible. Be great. Mind the bats.
Reed Johnson- I’m so happy you and your facial hair are with us. You’re older now, though, so be more selective about the walls you run into.
Geovany Soto- Stay healthy, work the OPS, and keep those eyebrows looking sharp.
Koyie Hill- I’ve got your back. Call a good game and keep the defense up. And if you’re going to hit like a pitcher, hit more like Zambrano and less like Ted Lilly.
And finally, to Mike Quade and the coaching staff…enjoy your season and enjoy your team. Be great.