Familiarity breeds respect for Miles
Infielder renews friendships with former Cardinals mates
CHICAGO -- Jason Marquis has a very good memory. When the right-hander started on April 15 for Colorado against his former team, the Cubs, he could rely on his own database.
He must have taken good notes. Marquis gave up one run on five hits over seven innings in the Rockies' win.
"I had a game plan," Marquis said at the time. "Every team I play on, I try to pay attention to my own hitters because you never know when you're going to face them. So I had an idea definitely of what I wanted to do, and I executed to the best of my ability today.
"I feel like they know me as well as I know them," he said. "That's what makes it fun -- the battle, the guessing game.'
Aaron Miles likes to play that game, too. Now with the Cubs, Miles faced his old teammates, the St. Louis Cardinals, this past weekend in a series trimmed by Sunday's rainout.
The infielder was still a little pumped one day after Saturday's come-from-behind Cubs' win, sparked by Aramis Ramirez's game-winning home run in the 11th.
"I couldn't help but think back to when I was on the other side of those Cubs comebacks," said Miles, who played for the Cardinals for three seasons before signing this offseason with the Cubs. "I'm jumping up and down in here and thinking about those guys and how that clubhouse must be at that moment.
"The Cardinals have had a tough time here the last couple years," he said of St. Louis, which went 7-16 at Wrigley Field when Miles was with the Cardinals. "It's just neat to be on this side."
Cardinals fans should relax. He wasn't gloating.
"At the same time," Miles said, "you look across and there's a lot of your friends over there and a lot of guys you have relationships with. To me it's fun, because I really enjoy competing against guys you're close with."
The Cubs took two out of three against the Cardinals this past weekend, and Miles was able to renew friendships with his former mates. When he reached first on Saturday, he could joke with Albert Pujols. He exchanged some off-the-record comments with St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina.
"You can joke with them," Miles said. "I stepped up the plate and 'Yady' said, 'Hey,' and maybe there was a little inside joke here and there, but it's competing. I enjoy it. To me, it's a blast. There's no hard feelings. I enjoy it.
"It's fun because you know the players so well, you know their strengths and if they have weaknesses, and you know the pitchers so well," he said. "It's almost even more of a mind game. You know your opponent so well because you played with them."
Miles was 1-for-5 in the three games against the Cardinals, so they must have taken some notes, too.
"You've still got to execute," he said. "You know everybody in the league, too, but you just know those guys better. And they know you, too."
The Cubs will see a few more of their former teammates this year, including an Interleague series June 19-21 against Cleveland, their closer, Kerry Wood, and third baseman, Mark DeRosa.
Miles went out to dinner after the second game of the series with some of his former Redbird teammates. Do they talk baseball?
"If I can get some secrets from them, yes, but I'm not giving any to them," Miles said, laughing. "I may sucker them into a couple things to say but they ain't getting nothing from me, that's for sure.
"It's all fun," he said. "You have friends throughout the league on other teams who you meet up with here and there."
Next weekend, the Cubs and Cardinals meet again, this time at Busch Stadium.
"They can get me back," Miles said, then smiled. "Maybe."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.