Blackhawks take batting practice at Wrigley Field
CHICAGO -- Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell tracked down a fly ball in the left-field corner while teammate Brandon Bollig spent Friday's batting practice at Wrigley Field chatting with Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
"I've been looking forward to this," Bickell said. "To take batting practice and to be able to be out here with the players is a great opportunity."
It's good to be champions. And as a part of a Blackhawks weekend at Wrigley Field, Bickell, Bollig and Patrick Sharp were invited to take batting practice before the Cubs' series opener against the Pirates and will also sing during the seventh-inning stretch in honor of the Hawks' second Stanley Cup win in just four years.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he enjoyed having a group of Blackhawks players join the team for batting practice and laughed at the hint they might rub some success off on his team.
"I think what the Blackhawks went through, we all got caught up in it," Sveum said. "I think a lot of times, no doubt, you sit back and you're like a 10-year-old kid. The what ifs and when we do it and all this. Then the guys come out and you get to meet them and talk about the Cup."
After watching the city celebrate the Blackhawks' championship, Sveum said he couldn't help but talk with the players about what it would be like if the Cubs were to win a World Series.
"You do reflect on it, because when you win a championship, you wish everybody could have gone through it," Sveum said. "There's only one feeling in this world when you're playing professional sports, and it's that last pitch or when that buzzer goes off and you're the world champion."
Bickell could only participate in limited action on Friday afternoon due to thumb surgery he underwent after the season to repair a torn tendon. He was also wearing a knee brace, but said baseball was a big part of his summers growing up and he couldn't miss watching how the Cubs prepare before games.
"To be here and see what these guys go through, it's a different level," Bickell said. "I fielded a couple hits, but maybe in the future I'll get back out here again."