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Blue Skies, Sunshine...

... Kerry Wood struck out eleven and gave up only two runs and five hits...

So what could be wrong? Well, the Cub offense couldn't solve Adam Eaton today. He struck out twelve and gave up no runs, and the Cubs got shut out by the Padres 2-0, losing by shutout for the first time this year.

I really don't have a lot more to say about this game; sometimes you just get beat. So I'll tell you about the spirited discussion my friend Dave and I had about Sammy Sosa and his value to the team not only as a player but as a showman. We agreed that he's probably the number one draw as a visiting player among today's active players. But Dave thinks Sosa will eventually want to take his show to New York. I disagree -- I think Sosa has the national stage here in Chicago, what with WGN cable, and the adulation he gets here might be subdued in New York, where there are a lot of other stars waiting to steal the spotlight; plus there's the Yankee team (we both assume it'd be the Yankees, not the hated Mets, that he'd want to play for).

In any case, we also both agreed that if the Cubs continue to contend, and Sosa doesn't exercise the out clause that he has in his deal, it'd be well worth the Cubs' while to sign him to a career-ending extension of his deal sometime later this season, to put an end to all the talk. He's that much worth it to the Cub franchise -- if the Cubs do wind up drawing 3 million this year (and after another mirage of a 35,000 crowd today, they are on their way to do so), I'd guess that perhaps as many as 1 million of those admissions are due to Sammy Sosa. At an average ticket price of $24, that'd make his $18 million contract a relative bargain.

Sights seen today: A sign reading "Stop Hitting Sammy". Clever if handwritten, but this group had gone to a professional sign printing company and had it printed, probably this morning. Industrious, if kind of wasteful.

We noticed in the last homestand that some of the juniper bushes in the CF hitters' background appeared to be dead or dying; they were turning an ugly shade of brown.

So what did the Cubs do? Well, they painted them an ugly shade of green. If they weren't dead before, they sure are now.