7/28 Front row seats
Alfonso Soriano treated his family to front row seats at Wrigley Field for Monday’s game, and they got quite a show as he hit a game-winning grand slam in the 13th inning against the Astros. Soriano’s daughter, who turns 6 in September, had been bugging her dad about wanting to sit close to the field.
“I think I picked the perfect day,” Soriano said.
He waved to them after hitting the home run, and was not gesturing toward the Astros bench as some have suggested. Some of the Houston players even stopped by pregame to say hello to Soriano’s contingent, which included his wife, four children, his wife’s sister and two cousins. He didn’t get a players discount and said it was expensive to buy the seats.
“I could do it once a week — maybe,” Soriano said.
Before he goes to the ballpark, his daughter asks him every day if he will hit a home run and if they can sit in the front row. He took care of both on Monday.
Since moving from leadoff to the sixth spot in the Cubs’ order, Soriano was batting .361. He’s hitting .405 during his current nine-game hitting streak.
“Now I’m batting sixth and I can help the team with a lot of RBIs,” Soriano said. “I want to stay healthy, and that’s more important. If [Lou Piniella] wants to put me batting leadoff again, it’s not a problem. If he wants to keep me sixth, it’s not a problem either.”
He’s not going to catch Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson as far as leadoff homers this way.
“I don’t steal as many bases either,” Soriano said. “I think [Piniella] put me sixth because he can use my power and have more RBIs.”
Batting lower in the order does give him a chance to watch the pitchers working the other right-handers in the lineup, such as Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.
“When I go to home plate, I have an idea as to how he might want to pitch me now,” Soriano said. “When I batted leadoff, I had to figure it out on my own.”
Told that Piniella is leaning toward staying with this lineup for the rest of the year, Soriano smiled.
“We see next year,” Soriano said.
— Carrie Muskat