Extra bases

Extra bases

• In 1999, Franklin Font was playing in Venezuela in Winter Ball, and was the starting shortstop on his team. That was until a teenager arrived one day, and Font was bumped from the lineup. That teen was Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who is on the verge of becoming the first player in 45 years to win baseball's Triple Crown.

"He was unbelievable then," said Font, who is just wrapping up his 18th season in the Cubs organization, this year serving as an assistant on manager Dale Sveum's staff.

Font and Cabrera were able to catch up when the Tigers played the Cubs in Wrigley Field in Interleague games in June.

There's a story that Cabrera lived so close to a stadium in Venezuela that he could jump from his window into the ballpark. He would watch the older players and learn from them.

"He could always hit," Font said of Cabrera, a fellow Venezuela native. "He enjoyed the game."