Disappointment Over for Dwaine Bacon

DES MOINES, Iowa - Dwaine Bacon earned the promotion he was hoping for last week when the speedy outfielder was promoted to Triple-A Iowa. Bacon spent last season in Double-A and was disappointed when he did not crack the Iowa Cubs' opening day roster this spring. However, as Bacon tells Inside The Ivy, focus and perseverance quickly propelled him to the Triple-A ranks.

"I'd wanted to be in Triple-A since spring training," said Bacon, who began the year in Double-A for the second straight season. "Your focus is having success wherever you are playing. You have to deal with what you've got and make the best of the situation."

It was on the evening of May 2 following a 4-3 victory at Birmingham when Bacon received the good news.

"I walked into my manager's (Bobby Dickerson) office after we just won a close ballgame," Bacon recalled. "It was a pretty good feeling, something you have been waiting for. I was pretty excited about it."

Bacon was on a red-eye flight the very next morning to Des Moines. That evening, the speedster came in as a pinch-hitter for Joe Borowski and flied out.

The process of Bacon advancing to Triple-A this quickly seemed somewhat unlikely when the season began. He was rotating with outfielders Adam Greenberg, Felix Pie and Matt Murton, and was accustomed to starting daily after two full seasons in the Cub farm system.

Not being in the lineup every night was something he had to get used to.

"It was tough, especially when you are in the same league you had success with," said Bacon, who stole 60 bases last season. "It was something I had to deal with. It was a role you did not like. That's why you have to do positive things to make the lineup every day."

All four of the outfielders were hitting well at the time of Bacon's advancement. Speed and experience seemed to be the primary reasons for the 26-year-old being brought up to Iowa. In one month at West Tenn, Bacon stole six bases. After a week in Des Moines, he already has a pair of steals.

"It (speed) definitely sets me apart from other players," Bacon said.

Along with rotating time in the outfield, Bacon also switched between batting leadoff and second in the lineup. In 2004, he was the Jaxx's primary leadoff hitter. But with the inevitable emergence of Pie, Bacon saw most of his at-bats in the two-hole this season at West Tenn. He has continued that trend so far at Iowa in all but one of his six games there.

"It has been something different that I have adjusted well to," Bacon said. "I can bat leadoff or hit in the two-hole. Wherever I bat is not that important to me right now so long as I get some at-bats and help the team turn the season around."

Bacon is one of the youngest among a veteran group of outfielders currently in Iowa. The team has made a plethora of roster moves since the season began, including the addition of longtime farmhand Trenidad Hubbard. Bacon joins Hubbard, David Kelton and Calvin Murray as part of the outfield at Principal Park. For now, he will rotate mostly with Murray and Hubbard in left and center field.

"You always take the positives out of each situation," Bacon said. "There is something I can learn from (Murray and Hubbard) every time I go to the park to help myself get better. Every single day since I've gone to the park, they have given me some bit of information.

"We all want each other to do well. The only competition for the three of us is against the other team. I'm really in a good position to have two experienced guys like that around."

Now that Bacon is adjusting to his new team, he's trying to get situated in his new town.

The process of getting called up to a higher level in the minor leagues is similar to getting a job promotion at work. The difference is Bacon had only about eight hours to pack his bags and head off to his destination.

For the first couple of days in Des Moines, Bacon stayed at a nearby hotel. Over the weekend, though, he found an apartment. His family is assisting with some of the other intangibles.

"I'm almost there," Bacon said. "It was very hectic; everything I had was left in West Tenn. You just get up and go. I had to buy a plane ticket for my mom. When I came here, I only had a limited amount of clothing, so you have to make arrangements to have everything sent to you. I'm managing; it's the life we choose."

Bacon is currently batting .261 in 23 at-bats with the I-Cubs. The Fort Washington, Md., native hit .317 in 20 games at Double-A this season.

Scott Sabin is the contributing editor of Inside The Ivy. Write to Scott at scott@insidetheivy.com.

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