6/9/2013 2:34 P.M. ET
Cubs have Cup fever as Blackhawks reach Final
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Cubs have been rooting for the Blackhawks in the NHL playoffs, and many will be at Wednesday's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins. The Blackhawks advanced with a double-overtime win on Saturday against the Kings.
"It's nice to have a championship in the city," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. "A lot of us are into it and we're hockey fans. It was the big talk this morning. It's something, when you're involved in that before, in championships -- and people who witness that who haven't been part of championships -- it kind of gives you goosebumps to understand the reality of it. That's the emotions you get when you're in those situations.
"I don't know how quiet [the United Center] got when they were nine seconds away from going to the Stanley Cup [when the Kings tied it]. I've been there and know how loud it is."
It's been fun to watch some of the players and coaches who haven't been exposed to hockey very much get involved in the game. Coach Franklin Font, who is from Venezuela, went to his first game this year.
"He said, 'This is the greatest sport ever,'" Sveum said of Font.
Sveum used to have season tickets to the Phoenix Coyotes, but stopped when the NHL team moved out west to Glendale, Ariz.
"I've always been a Blackhawks fan anyway," he said.
He would take his son, Rustin, to Coyotes games.
"He lost his first couple teeth at hockey games," Sveum said. "He wanted to wait and pull them out at the hockey game. He said, 'I'm not taking them out until we get to the game' and he pulled them out himself."
Sveum knows his football allegiance has been questioned.
"Some people don't like that I'm a Packers fan," he said. "But when you adopt teams, it's not that you're a Bears hater. My true blood is I'm a Raiders fan. I do despise the 49ers. Maybe not 'despise' -- they're not my favorite team."
Cubs make pitching a priority in Draft
CHICAGO -- The Cubs wrapped up the three-day First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, taking 22 college players, seven junior college players and 11 high school players.
Jason McLeod, vice president, scouting and player development, said the emphasis was on adding more pitchers, and they did that, taking 19 (16 right-handers and three lefties). He and Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, presided over the Draft.
"After the day, Theo and I were sitting there looking at the board and I felt really good about it because it was college pitchers that we really liked and guys that performed and guys that we evaluated to have stuff," McLeod said. "It really fit a lot of the criteria that we like, from a mechanical standpoint, performance standpoint."
• Ian Stewart hit three home runs and drove in eight runs for Triple-A Iowa on Saturday in an 8-5 win over Round Rock in the first game of a doubleheader. Stewart was projected as the Cubs' regular third baseman this season, but strained his left quad in an intrasquad game in Spring Training and has played solely in the Minors.
"That's one of those days you dream about having," Sveum said Sunday. "Hopefully, it gets him going. I don't know how much playing time he'll get with Junior [Lake] there and [Josh] Vitters coming back. Any kind of guy gets hot, gets playing time because of it."
Lake, No. 9 on the Cubs' Top 20 Prospects list who had back problems in Spring Training, recently joined the Iowa team, while Vitters is on the disabled list and was just sent to Mesa, Ariz., to rehab. Lake will play outfield, third base and shortstop at Iowa. Stewart, 28, has played third and first base. He was batting .163 in 37 games.
• Albert Almora, the Cubs' No. 1 Draft pick last year, had four hits, including his first home run, in Kane County's 15-1 win over Cedar Rapids on Saturday. Almora finished with four RBIs and was batting .435.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.