Ramon Ortiz of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
I confess that I saw none of Tuesday night's 3-2 Cubs loss to the Nationals, as I was at the U2 concert at Soldier Field.
Even that event had a brief baseball-related anecdote. As Bono was bantering between songs, he mentioned at one point that bass player Adam Clayton had taken in Monday night's White Sox win -- over "Kansas", he claimed. As you might guess, mixed boos and cheers came from the crowd obviously composed of both Cubs and Sox fans.
"A lot of people here from Kansas, apparently," quipped Bono, who has played Chicago enough times to know there are two baseball teams here and a rivalry between them.
The show was very good, very similar to the show almost two years ago that was on the front end of U2's 360 tour, with the giant spaceship-like contraption taking up almost half of Soldier Field. I wish I could say the same about the Cubs game.
After a shaky first inning, Ramon Ortiz threw quite well; I watched some of the highlights of his seven strikeouts and he looked like he was locating his breaking pitches very effectively. Perhaps my dissing of "retread pitchers" is having some effect. Maybe I'll do this again for his and Rodrigo Lopez's next outings. Too bad I didn't figure this out before Doug Davis was let go, and clearly, he isn't coming back -- the Cubs issued Ortiz his uniform No. 32.
Other than that and another Cub leaving the game with a minor injury -- this time it was Jeff Baker with back spasms -- this game appeared to be fairly dull. Carlos Pena turned a nice unassisted double play and Aramis Ramirez made the final score closer than the game really was with a two-run homer in the sixth inning. 3-2 seems hopeful, but it really wasn't; Tony Campana managed to bunt his way on with two out in the seventh and Marlon Byrd singled with one out in the eighth, but neither wound up past first base.
So the Cubs drop to a season low 17 games under .500 and still seek their first three-game winning streak, which is now... at least three days away. Perhaps tonight, when I will watch the game, they can take at least one game in this series. All things considered, I'm happy to have taken one day away from this team -- even if Bono doesn't know there's not actually a major league baseball team in "Kansas".