Present, not past, focus in Chicago

CHICAGO — CHICAGO -- Andy MacPhail is looking forward to catching up with some old friends and rekindling some relationships he built during his 12 years as president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Cubs. Dave Trembley, a longtime manager in the Cubs' minor league system, said his return to Chicago brings things "full circle" for him.

However, neither MacPhail nor Trembley expects to get overly sentimental when the club begins a three-game series against the Cubs tonight at Wrigley Field. They have much more pressing concerns, such as how the Orioles will fare against the team with the best home and overall record in the majors.


"People understand my story and where I've come from, but I don't have a whole lot of time to pay attention to the feel-good part of this thing," Orioles manager Trembley said. "I'm more concerned with how the team is going to react to playing there in front of 40,000 people against one of the best teams in baseball. My own personal story is one that most people who know where I come from understand. They know what this whole thing has meant to me."

MacPhail, Orioles president, said: "I have a lot of great memories there that I'm sure will come back, some not as happy as others. In baseball, through any period of time, you'll have some good ones and some bad ones, but it was a great experience for me. I really got exposed to a lot, learned a lot. It was really a unique opportunity, and I enjoyed it."


During MacPhail's tenure in Chicago, the Cubs went to the playoffs twice, but MacPhail will treat his return to Chicago more as a business trip than a walk down memory lane.

"I'm invested with the Baltimore Orioles, so there are things that you want to happen regardless of your opponent," MacPhail said. "You're going to be with your team, and you are going to be watching for certain things. It doesn't matter if you are playing the Brewers or Cubs. The Cubs are going to be fun because I have a lot of relationships that I can sort of rekindle, but once the game starts, I hope the Cubs do well starting Friday."

Millar excited

The friendly war of words between Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar and Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster started in spring training, when Millar followed Dempster's prediction that Chicago would win the World Series with one of his own.

"I'm guaranteeing a 2008 World Series. Everybody else is. I'm going on the record right now," Millar said in February. "We're going to shock the world. I don't know who Dempster is in Chicago, but if he thinks he's going to win the World Series, he has to come through us first. I'm going deep off Ryan Dempster."

Dempster, a former teammate and offseason neighbor of Millar's, won't pitch in this week's series, but Millar is still excited.

Asked about trade talks with the Cubs about teammate Brian Roberts, Millar grinned and said: "I think Brian is happy to be here. Like I told you in spring training, he's on the 2008 World Series champion Baltimore Orioles. I told you, it will be the Cubs against the Orioles and look, both teams are right where they need to be right now. Like I've said, the Cubs have to go through us to win the World Series."