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Just When All Seemed Lost...

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Kerry Wood showed us how the Cubs can still win this thing. He was absolutely masterful tonight, throwing the Cubs' best-pitched game of the year, a 2-hit, 1-0 shutout of the Marlins in Miami.

The one run was unearned, and the Cubs had only three singles and a double by Moises Alou (who scored the only run on Alex Gonzalez' sac fly), and this points out the sheer folly of starting someone like Lenny F. Harris, who actually had a hit tonight (OK, hitting .171, that probably does mean he gets a hit once every ten games or so). Best thing about this game, too, is that it was played in a snappy 2:29.

Jim Hendry says he's going to make a deal before the end of July, and if the Cubs can go out and get some offense before they fall too far behind (and I don't consider 4 1/2 games at this stage "too far behind") and without totally mortgaging the future, I say do it. The latest rumors have the Cubs going after Colorado's Jay Payton, and I think this would be a good move, since Payton is very similar statistically to Corey Patterson, and next year could become either a very good fourth outfielder, or perhaps even play left field, if the Cubs decide that Moises Alou isn't going to have one final season of the kind of performance he has had up to now this year. Payton turns 31 in November, so he could still have a few decent seasons left.

This brief five-game trip is the longest stretch that I have not been at a game in person since the 13-game trip ended on the 25th of May, nearly two months ago. It feels odd, even though I've done a lot of things other than go to ballgames, including touring Washington and Toronto and, of course, work all but one week of that time. Being able to follow the Cubs in person day after day, I consider it a privilege, even when they lose.

Today's game went so quickly that I spent part of the between-innings time finishing up the book I spent the afternoon reading, Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything". I've enjoyed Bryson's books for a long time, but this one's very different from his others, which are either humorous travelogues, or books on the English language. This one is an examination of all things scientific, whether it's astronomy, physics or genetics, and an attempt to bring incomprehensible things into layman's language. Bryson's writing style helps do this; it's long (478 pages), but worth a summer read.

And now for something completely different.

[rant]

As you know, I always take whatever opportunity I can to slam Richie Daley. He's decided to crack down on people sitting and waiting for friends and relatives coming into O'Hare and Midway. Probably related to that fear that a terrorist might take off from a small plane at Meigs. Today, my sister-in-law came in to Midway, and I have to tell you, I was quaking for the 30 seconds it took to get the bags loaded in the car, for fear that one of his minions would come over and start writing a ticket. I mean, COME ON! It's Saturday afternoon, traffic is extremely light, and sitting for a few minutes doesn't hurt anyone. Is this really the best use of police resources?

Really, and of course he'll never admit it, the idea is to get people to park in the garages that are owned by his cronies. I'm sick of it, but he won 79% of the vote last March, and so he figures he can do anything he wants. And he's probably right.

[end rant]