Ely returns home to face Cubs
CHICAGO -- Until Tuesday, when the team opened a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie right-hander John Ely had been to Wrigley Field once in his life -- which seems rather odd for a guy who grew up in Homewood, Ill., a suburb on Chicago's South Side.
Los Angeles Dodgers
But Ely grew up a diehard fan of the Chicago White Sox, the same team that drafted him in the third round in 2007 before trading him to the Dodgers last winter, along with reliever Jon Link, for Juan Pierre.
Ely said he never saw Wrigley until his agent, Matt Colleran, took him to see a game there just after he was drafted. But other than that day, Ely says he always had a perfectly good reason for not venturing up to the so-called Friendly Confines.
"I was a Sox fan from a young age," he said. "That should be self-explanatory. You have complete disdain for the Cubs. Sox fans generally just don't go to Wrigley."
Ely takes his disdain for the Cubs to the mound when he pitches against them Thursday. He said he is leaving about 10 tickets for family and friends.
Ely has been the feel-good story of the Dodgers' season so far, a guy who wasn't on the 40-man roster and wasn't even invited to big league spring training, but whose relentless attacking of the strike zone has resulted in a 3-1 record and a 3.41 ERA after just five starts in the majors. He also has walked just one of the past 110 batters he has faced.