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You Can't Tell The Players Without A...

... scorecard.

Darnitall, I score every single game, and have for more than 30 years. Today, thanks to the incompetence of the Cubs publication department, who didn't order enough cards for what turned out to be, oddly, the largest-attended 3-game series of the year so far, they ran out of cards before I got to the ballpark. Usually, Walter the scorecard guy who I buy from, will warn me a day ahead of time that they're running out, and I'll get an extra. But I guess he didn't realize how many they'd sell.

Luckily, I always keep blank scoresheets in my backpark, for long extra-inning games, so I had one to score on.

And for eight innings, I thought I had a masterpiece worth keeping.

The Cubs lost to the Brewers 5-3 this afternoon, on an absolutely gorgeous day, thanks to the second consecutive catastrophic bullpen failure, this time by the only guy who threw well yesterday, Joe Borowski. It was clear that Joe had nothing when he came in and Scott Podsednik, one of those real pesty guys who you love if he's on your team and hate if he isn't, smacked a single right away; that rattled Joe and he walked Keith Ginter, who had homered earlier, and you could have predicted the Geoff Jenkins game-winner.

Jeff had written on his hand after the Cubs scored first: "1 run will be enough". Then he had to change it to 3, and then to 5, and it turned out he was right, just for the wrong team.

I haven't mentioned how dominant Mark Prior was; if you watched the game you could see how terrific both his fastball and breaking ball were, and he struck out the last six he faced. 126 pitches -- well, you really can't argue with that, though Prior has gone farther than that, and I'd bet he would have dispatched the three who hit, in less than ten pitches. Even so, I can understand why Dusty doesn't want to risk his prize 22-year-old by extending him too far, especially with no days off before the All-Star break.

Oh, and did I mention that Lenny Harris truly sucks? Seriously, why does this guy still have a major league job? He came up to pinch-hit in a situation, two runs down in the last of the ninth, when you really need baserunners, and he swings weakly at the first pitch and hits a comebacker to the mound. Horrid.

It rained really hard this morning for about two hours but by game time it was bright and sunny and about 15 degrees cooler than yesterday, though you could still see where the runoff from the tarp had been dumped behind second base.

I invited my friend Stacey Baca, our ABC-7 Sunday anchor, who along with her husband are big baseball fans, and the Cubs had won last year when she came out to the bleachers, so I figured it would be good luck. No such luck, unfortunately.

Otherwise, it was a quiet day in the bleachers, with just Jeff, me, Howard and Brian in attendance. Very few of our group, or the other bleacher regulars, will make the trek down to the South Side on the weekend. The Sox, and their fans, I'm sure, will be out for blood this weekend. In normal circumstances they give Sammy Sosa tremendous grief. With the corked-bat incident, it'll be worse than ever.

Three wins by the Cubs would shut their fans up good. I like all three pitching matchups, and Sunday (Loaiza vs. Wood) could be historic.