Monday, April 30, 2007

Cubs prospect Samardzija rocks Roger Dean

Chicago Cubs minor league prospect Jeff Samardzija (top photo) might as well be a rock star. It's amazing the way a crowd seems to follow the former Notre Dame wide receiver. In the days leading up to Sunday's start at Roger Dean Stadium, the ballpark had an unusually large amount of fans wearing Notre Dame gear.

When he walked to the clubhouse after charting pitches for Thursday's game he looked like the pied pier, leading a trail of mini Notre Dame gold helmets being hoisted by young Irish fans.

That was no different following today's start. There wasn't a big crowd when Palm Beach hosted Daytona, but it seemed like all of them were waiting at the bus with something for the former Notre Dame wideout to John Hancock.

Sunday wasn't a great outing for Samardzija. He said afterward that he wasn't really thinking about the NFL draft and didn't care whether he was drafted or not. Still, it's hard to believe that all the people asking him about it in the days leading up to Sunday's start didn't affect him in some way.

That being said, Samardzija seems uber confident he made the right choice. The $2.5 million signing bonus probably helps ease the tension.

The Dugout is looking forward to seeing him pitch a few more times this season. Those who enjoy can look forward to a "Rounding the Bases With:" segment featuring Samardzija in the coming weeks.

Going Outback

The Palm Beach Cardinals treated their season ticket holders to dinner from Outback Steakhouse after Sunday's game against Daytona (bottom photo). They made it into a pretty cool event, bringing the players into pavilion and making them available for autographs and casual conversation.

The players also got a free meal out of the deal, making it a win-win event. Florida State League players usually only get to eat Outback when a big leaguer is down on a rehab assignment.

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