The most exciting thing of the day was the rumor -- unfounded -- that the Blackhawks would bring the Stanley Cup to Wrigley Field after their parade and rally this morning.
Turned out to be untrue, though the Stanley Cup will indeed be at Wrigley during Sunday night's crosstown game. The start of today's game was delayed 20 minutes, allegedly "due to rain", though the only rain fell for about 15 minutes after the game started, not even hard enough for the ground crew to come and stand by the tarp. At game time many seats were still empty; obviously, the Cubs were waiting for many fans who had attended the Blackhawks parade so they could see the first pitch.
They could have waited all day; Randy Wells had first-inning problems again, giving up four hits after getting the first two men out (and a clue should have been the fly ball that Juan Pierre hit to the warning track in right field; Pierre has hit only one home run since 2006 and generally can't hit balls that far). Wells settled down, only to get pounded again in the fifth inning, when the White Sox ran out to a 5-2 lead.
Alfonso Soriano's 300th career HR in the second inning had given the Cubs a brief 2-2 tie, but it wasn't enough and the White Sox beat the Cubs 10-5, taking the first game of the [We're Not Mentioning The Sponsor] Crosstown Cup series.
It's getting very late to be "early". There are 101 games left after today and the Cubs dropped to a season-low-tying seven games under .500 (last on May 15). Unless things turn around very quickly and very dramatically, maybe it will be time -- around the first of July, I'd say -- for major changes.
The crowd of 41,129 (fourth-largest of 2010) included a lot of red-clad Blackhawks fans, rooting for one or the other of the baseball teams. There seemed far fewer people in White Sox garb than usual and there were no incidents between north siders and south siders that I could see.
Carlos Quentin's eighth-inning pinch-hit home run landed in the aisle just to my left. It bounced around a couple of times and was grabbed by a White Sox fan (who had a Blackhawks jersey tucked into his waistband), which is why you didn't see it thrown back. That inning, off James Russell, put the game out of reach. Russell, who has been fairly effective most of the season, saw his ERA balloon to 4.71.
And isn't this the weirdest thing? Since Bob Howry was reacquired, in nine appearances (covering 7.1 innings) he has not allowed an earned run. He's allowed three of six inherited runners to score (admittedly, not a great ratio), and an unearned run charged to him yesterday pinned the loss on him. But not a single earned run.
There's also the little tiff between Lou Piniella and Sox broadcaster Steve Stone regarding Lou's use (or non-use) of Tyler Colvin (who hit a pinch-double today). From CSN Chicago, here's Lou's response, in which he says, among other things, "I'm not a damn dummy." (No comment.) Here's Stone's response to Lou's response.
My response: what a freakin' circus. Can't we just play baseball?
Finally, this FanPost posted during the game by Cubsfan Waveland suggests moving Wells out of the rotation and Tom Gorzelanny (who threw a scoreless inning of relief today) back in. I've heard worse ideas. Why not? Wells looks lost.
So is this team if they don't turn it around starting tomorrow.