Deal Not Final on Cubs' Season-Opening Japan Journey
Miles, Bruce, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Bruce Miles Daily Herald Sports Writer
It's been weeks since reports came out proclaiming the Cubs' season-opening trip to Japan next spring a "done deal."
Although the history-making journey is still more than likely to happen, nothing's been signed yet.
"There's still a ways to go," Andy MacPhail, the Cubs' president and CEO, said Wednesday. "It would be premature to say anything was final. But we're committed to the extent that we'll play ball with Major League Baseball and the players association. It's not something we volunteered for. But there is some greater good involved."
Likewise, Steve Trachsel, the Cubs' player representative, said he hadn't heard anything recently.
Preliminary plans have called for the Cubs to leave their spring-training camp near Phoenix in late March and play a pair of exhibition games with Japanese teams before opening the regular season with two games against the New York Mets.
The Cubs will then travel back to the United States, take a few days off to combat fatigue and jet lag, and then resume the regular season, possibly against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Those details are still to be worked out, and there are those who feel the Cubs and Mets should play each other when they get back because both teams will have gone through similar routines.
The Cubs also would find some inherent advantages in the schedule, such as being able to use their No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers more often in the early going.
Major League Baseball and the players association are the two driving forces behind the proposed trip to Japan, with both stating they want to "grow" the game of baseball internationally.
The Mets make sense because they're from New York. The Cubs are another logical choice because of Sammy Sosa's popularity in Japan. …