For One Night, Fukudome Is Back

Early success a welcome sign

By far the hottest jersey in last year's Cubs memorabilia shops was Kosuke Fukudome's No. 1. After a torrid start to the season, Fukudome became an instant fan favorite, and his jersey flew off the racks -- not to mention the t-shirts (some racist), the bonzai headbands (maybe kind of also a little bit racist) and the various other quasi-Asian paraphernalia around Wrigley Field.

Then, of course, Kosuke starting sucking, and the jerseys and t-shirts started to become those old, drab pieces of shamewear, like wearing a Bears 2006 NFC Champs t-shirt. To the back of the closet they went.

But 2009 is a new year, and maybe Fukudome can make himself relevant again. Cubs fans -- even the ones that didn't splurge on an authentic No. 1 jersey -- have reason to hope last night's Fukudome performance is the real deal. Because last night, Fukudome was awesome.

The line? Four hits, a solo home run in the ninth, and four runs. It's arguably the best day of Fukudome's Cubs career. And it's without question the best he's played since around, oh, June of 2008, when his swing started getting unwieldy and his batting eye started vanishing. Now he looks like the Fukudome everyone expected way back when. Even better, in fact. 

Of course, as always, it's just one game, but it's encouraging to say the least. When's the last time Fukudome hit so well? Even a fraction of Wednesday night's performance will be welcome in Wrigleyville this season -- jerseys, headbands, and all.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger who may or may not have a gray away he'd like to be able to wear again. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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