The Way of the Warrior
The Bushido code is a Japanese code of conduct and the way of life for Japan’s ancient warriors. It is typified by seven valued virtues. Chicago Cubs Kosuke Fukudome may be trying to rewrite the ancient code by adding an eighth virtue—patience.
After Fukudome’s declining month-to-month performance in 2008 and a disappointing postseason, he is finally contributing consistently just as Cubs’ owner Sam Zell envisioned he would. And unlike the glamorous stars of the MLB, he is not doing it with brute strength. Simply, he is getting on base more frequently than any other Cub.
Maybe pitchers overlook him--considering Piniella has tucked him in the batting line up between Ryan Theriot and Derrick Lee. Nonetheless, Fukudome dominates every at bat. He seldom allows pitchers to get ahead, and when they do, he quickly fights back and consistently fouls off a pitcher’s good pitches. It is no phenomenon that Fukudome forces pitchers to work in the strike zone. If you throw it away, he’s not chasing it. That’s why he leads the Cubs in base on balls and on base percentage among other statistical categories.
There is no doubt that Fukudome has been the quiet leader of the Cubs in the past month. If we recall, last season, when Kosuke was playing in his prime, it translated into a lot of wins for the Cubbies.
Now, evidently, Fukudome’s patience is spreading through Chicago’s clubhouse. Other players are picking up on strength of Fukudome’s game, and it’s paying off. We are seeing longer at bats resulting in a lot more runs. While they may not be getting the walks Fukudome is, they are forcing pitchers to deliver more hittable pitches—often late in the count. During the last month, the Cubs have had three 5 plus winning streaks in that time period, and they, sometimes, appear to be putting up runs at will.
Yet, there are still second in the division.
But, that will turn around. The Cubs are without, arguably, its two best players in Amaris Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano. Not to mention, Derrick Lee has struggled thus far. However, if you are a Cubs fan or Lou Piniella, you have to believe all that will heal itself over time.
Until then, it’s time for Cubs fans to get behind Fukudome and consume Wrigleyville with hachimaki headbands.
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