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It Doesn't Get Better Than This

MESA, Arizona -- The entire day couldn't have been better (well, except it was cloudy. Yeah, I know, feel sorry for me), as the Cubs shut out the A's 3-0.

Carlos Zambrano was dominant. That's not easy to say in a spring training game, but he was. He allowed two doubles by former Cub farmhand Adam Melhuse (and the second hit high off the hitters' background in CF, and would have been a HR if it had been hit to the left or right), and a couple walks. What was even more impressive was his fielding, as he moved well off the mound for a slow roller, and he also started a neat 1-6-3 DP. In some ways physically, he reminded me of Rick Reuschel, the way he moved off the mound.

We're in good shape if this is our fourth starter.

Offense was provided by the first two batters of the game -- Patterson beat out an infield single and Gonzalez homered. The other run was scratched out on a single, two infield outs and another single.

Sometimes that's all you need. Mark Mulder was shaky for Oakland, but managed six innings.

Eric Karros made his spring debut and went 0-for-3, reached on an error. Despite the fact that this was a split-squad game, there were still wholesale lineup changes. Both Nic Jackson and Jackson Melian played even though they have officially been cut. Didn't get to see Kelton; I presume he played in Tucson.

Moises Alou looks in great shape, ran well in the field and hit two doubles.

The ballpark is still the same -- mediocre overpriced food, mediocre overpriced souvenirs, though I did find one T-shirt I liked, which I bought. The crowd was 9,511, about 3,000 short of a sellout, not surprising for a Friday. I was, however, quite pleased to note that the park has been made entirely non-smoking. The PA guy, who's been there as long as I've come to games in Mesa (nearly 20 years) was way behind, as usual, on the lineup changes and you can barely hear him in the outfield. A guy named John Hamilton entered the game in the 7th to play LF wearing #98, and one of the resident drunks harassed him for three innings. It was actually pretty funny -- comparing him to "Rudy" of Notre Dame fame.

Human air raid siren (Ronnie Woo Woo) watch: He showed up in the LF berm in about the fourth inning, played with his hula hoops with a kid and did NOT make any strange noises, then he left, for which I was grateful.