Not only did the Cubs win today, and not only did Jeff Samardzija get his first major league save...the big buzz is that he did so well that the first question asked of Cubs manager Lou Piniella at the post-game press conference was about Samardzija. Piniella couldn't have been more complimentary, saying that Jeff was "poised" and that his performance was "impressive." He went on to say that they've been looking for another good arm in the bullpen, and that he thinks they just found it. He attributed Jeff's poise to playing at Notre Dame and being so much in the spotlight here, with all the accompanying scrutiny.
Looks like our "little" man is now a Cub. (He's 6'5", by the way.) We're so proud! <sniff>
From what I heard, he's going to be sticking around in the majors for a while. His pitching performance was good enough that he caught the notice of Piniella AND the press. I'm just so pleased for him, because he's had to deal with so many questions about whether or not he made the right decision in going into baseball rather than going into the NFL draft. I think he can probably stop worrying about those questions now.
I just might have to break out my #83 Samardzija jersey soon! Yeah...I've got a jersey. So what?
I know this probably seems a little nuts to anyone who doesn't follow college sports, but Notre Dame really is a big deal in our town. Every home football game brings in about $6 million dollars per weekend to our community in hotel and restaurant charges. But it's more than that...not everyone here is a Notre Dame fan, but a lot of people are, and it's a sense of community and a coming-together of sports fans. It really is a VERY big deal, with much discussion among coworkers and families about the games. It's so bad that if someone in the family plans a wedding or party on a game day, we all get kind of pissed off, and people surreptitiously find ways to check the score.
When planning our wedding (NOT on a game day, by the way--we had it on a Sunday), we met up with one of my friends from college, Barb. She said she'd do our wedding photos, and she did a wonderful job! We met at Parisi's, which is probably the best Italian restaurant in town, and right across from the Notre Dame campus. While we were there, a bunch of Notre Dame football players came in for dinner, and I'm not kidding...we all stood up and applauded them as they came in. Yeah...kind of a big deal.
So seeing Jeff Samardzija--my favorite player in the past few years--do well and get such great press in his first save just does my heart good. Looks like he's a fan favorite, too, and it just tickles me that he's enjoying some real popularity in Chicago, much like his fellow Irish player, quarterback Brady Quinn, is enjoying in Cleveland. I suspect these guys are having a pretty good time.
With this come-from-behind win, and with the Brewers' loss today, the Cubs are one game up on the Brewers as they head into a 4-game showdown. This is getting good, and we'll be watching this week!