Johnson fitting in with Cubs
Outfielder getting a feel for new teammates and fans
PITTSBURGH -- Reed Johnson's total Cubs existence is six games old, not counting the five he played this spring, or Monday's contest in Pittsburgh, and he's having a tough time convincing some people he's on the team.
Johnson has yet to be issued an identification card with the Cubs, and security at PNC Park stopped him from entering the ballpark on Monday.
"I couldn't get in," said Johnson, who had to go through a long line that included vendors and ushers.
Acquired this spring after he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays, Johnson had no problems at Wrigley Field in his first week, and learned just how passionate Cubs fans are. The team had runners at second and third and one out, and Johnson grounded out to the shortstop, driving in a run.
"I'm running back to the dugout and everybody in the whole stadium is standing up," Johnson said Monday. "I'm wondering -- Derrek Lee is coming up, are they cheering for him? But they're looking at me. The fans definitely know the game. That's one of my first impressions is that groundout, making an out, and hearing them cheer."
The center fielder hasn't had much interaction with the bleacher fans.
"I've been keeping them quiet by throwing balls up there," Johnson said. "That's what [Ryan] Dempster and all those guys were saying. There's plenty of dead time in the outfield, so I'm turning around and having fun with that."
He's also had no problems communicating with Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome.
"He understands, and [at Wrigley] it's almost too loud to communicate with each other," Johnson said. "Good outfielders can look each other off. I can see how close he is to the ball and still not break stride. When you're playing in the [American League] East, too, in New York and Boston, and there's a deep fly ball, you really have to get a relationship going with your two outfielders. Hopefully, we don't miss a beat and keep things rolling."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.