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WASHINGTON, DC -- You know, I just can't think up a clever, funny or even interesting title to today's game report, so it shall go untitled.

Last week, Jay Mariotti wrote another of his vitriol-filled columns in the Sun-Times, in which he castigated Sammy Sosa, said he would always be tainted, and booed everywhere but Wrigley Field.

As usual, wrong, Jay. There was a buzz last night at Camden Yards when Sammy took the field for batting practice, and he obliged the fans by putting on quite a show, skying several shots into the bullpen. The reaction when he took the field for the game was also 99% positive; there were scattered boos, and one guy holding up a sign that said "Cheater", but you can see that most everyone is willing to forgive this isolated transgression. That's why I think Sandy Alderson is going to take his time making the decision on Sammy's appeal, so that he can also treat the fans in Toronto to the same show. Attendance last night in Baltimore was 32,484, about 6,000 over the Orioles' season average.

Oh, the Cubs won the game 4-0. Shawn Estes threw his best game of the year, had a really sharp-breaking curveball, and he and Antonio Alfonseca and Joe Borowski scattered nine hits, pretty rare for a shutout. There were three nicely-turned double plays that helped, and the offense woke up with 14 hits. I was puzzled late in the game when I saw Troy O'Leary in LF; the PA announcements were inaudible where we were sitting, and we couldn't see the scoreboard either, so I had thought O'Leary was the DH, but actually Moises Alou DH'd last night. I suspect that tonight, David Kelton will DH against the lefty Omar Daal, who's always been a Cub-killer.

My friend Tom drove over from Virginia and had to remind my son Mark that we wouldn't be seeing him next week (we saw him only 10 days ago at the Colgate reunion), although he's coming to Wrigley Field next month for the Atlanta series. David and his daughter also joined us and drove us back to DC after the game.

You've probably read about the idiot who ran out onto the field and threw some cork at Sammy; that was bizarre, in that he didn't actually run at Sammy or touch him; he knelt down in front of him, as if he were bowing to the God of Cork or something like that. As David pointed out, he or I could have run out there faster than the Baltimore police did, though since the guy wasn't moving, I guess they figured they had plenty of time to get him out of there.

I've been to Camden Yards before, and the place really hasn't changed much since it opened in 1992; it's still one of the best of the new retro parks, kept up well, and the people who work there are friendly and helpful. We wound up with two extra tickets and the Orioles run a "no-scalp zone", where you can sell these tickets freely for up to face value, which we did after only about ten minutes. It's a great idea that ought to be copied by other ballclubs.

We are off to take a tour of Annapolis, MD today, then to the ballgame tonight, so the next report here will be tomorrow morning.