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Unsolicited Advice

You know what I'd do if I were Dusty Baker?

I'd give Sammy Sosa tomorrow off. In fact, I'd tell him to stay home or better yet, get on a plane for Philadelphia, where the Cubs will play Monday night. Don't be anywhere near the ballpark, don't think about the game, just prepare for the next series.

Dusty used to give Barry Bonds "routine days off" and it really helped recharge his batteries. Sammy is obviously so affected by the hostility he's seen the last two days, and I think it's beginning to get into his psyche. Sure, that means Tom Goodwin probably playing right field, but how could Goodwin, bad as he is, do much worse than Sammy has in the first two games of the series (1-for-8 with four strikeouts)?

Anyway, that's what I would do if I were managing the Cubs. With Kerry Wood going, and Wood does usually put up his "A" game for big events like this, the scoring tomorrow is likely to be low.

The Cubs lost another depressing one-run heartbreaker, 7-6 to the White Sox today, this time the bullpen implosion included another home run (by Aaron Rowand, who came into the game hitting .200, and then D'Angelo Jimenez, who didn't even start, drove in the winning run with a seeing-eye single in the long-delayed bottom of the ninth; the first inning of this dragged-out affair took 45 minutes, and then there was a 30-minute rain delay in the 7th inning, making it twilight when the game finally ended. Again, the Cubs couldn't capitalize on many opportunities, leaving nine men on base; eight hits and eight walks ought to result in more than six runs.

Most of the Wrigley Field ground crew was in the LF bleachers at the Ballmall, near my seat, celebrating the birthday of Red, the ground crew guy who helps us out when management makes them drag the hoses out there. Red had, well, let's say he was feeling pretty good, but he thanked me for the e-mail that I had sent complimenting him on his work out there helping us out. It's nice to have someone on the crew on your side. I also ran into Ron and Trish, two Wrigley bleacher friends who got tickets from their buddies on the ground crew and decided to brave the wilds of the South Side for the first time this year.

There was the makings of a pretty large fight in the LCF bleachers late in the game; security decided to leave them alone, and just when they were all making friends, about 10 white-shirted Sox Security showed up and stood in the aisle, seemingly puzzled about what was going on. Once again, the stereotype of the Cub bleacher fan as being the big drinker among Chicago sports fans is put to rest by the Sox fans I saw out there drinking today, and they managed to soak up even more suds during the rain delay. I will say, that many of them are very passionate about the game, and about their team, even if half their words are "Cubs suck". That and "Corky", are pretty lame. They definitely need some new material.

I'm stating the obvious here, but the Cubs really must win tomorrow; the losing streak, now four, is the longest of the year, and with the Astros already winning today and the Cardinals beating the Royals, still in progress at this writing, the Cubs could wake up tomorrow morning in third place.

Before the game, I decided, at Mike's advice, to head over to Grandstand, at 35th & Normal, to buy some All-Star souvenirs. I bought a cap, an official ball and a commemorative ball; total was $50 with tax. The same three items at the Ballmall would have come to $59. So, if you're going to the ASG and looking for souvenirs, I'd patronize Grandstand; you could save quite a bit of money.