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Roller Coaster Ride

I decided to go back to the future today.

If you've been reading here since spring training, you know that there was a streak when I was not listening to the games on radio, and the Cubs won nearly all of those.

So today, being pretty tired from being out late at the wedding shower last night, I decided to take a nap, wake up whenever, and join the game in progress.

It worked. They had a 3-2 lead by the time I woke up and hung on for a hard-earned 5-3 win over the Astros. By napping, I managed to miss Wavin' Wendell costing the Cubs a run in the first by sending Kenny Lofton after he stole second and advanced on an error. There is a fine line between aggressiveness and stupidity and unfortunately, Wendell crosses it far too many times.

Luckily, Sammy Sosa's 521st career homer, tying Willie McCovey and Ted Williams on the all-time list, and another by Mark Grudzielanek, were enough, and Shawn Estes pitched well enough for a win and to save his job for another turn in the rotation, which will come up this weekend against the Diamondbacks.

The Cardinals' dramatic comeback win over the Pirates today tightened up the Comedy Central, as even with a .500 record the Cubs are only 4 1/2 back, and the Cardinals now 2 1/2 back. The club has played very well on the road, and particularly in Houston, where they have won four of the six games played this year.

It's really simple. Championship teams take advantage of their home ballparks, and there's no reason that this Cub team can't do for the next two months, what they did the first two months of this year, when they were 30-24. A record like that won't quite be enough to win the division. There are 58 games remaining and the Cubs will probably have to win 35-38 of them to have a realistic chance; I believe the Central can be won with between 87-90 wins.

But they had better start now.

Another Pirates-Cardinals game took place at Welles Park in Chicago today, as my son Mark's Pirates team lost their playoff game; so their season is over. Just today I realized that their team, sponsored by the Lincoln Park Savings Bank, could be called the Lincoln Park Pirates (obligatory reference to those of us who grew up here in the '70s and loved the music of Steve Goodman).

[digression]

Since napping seems to work, I may try it again on game days. Just do not start calling me "Napster" or anything like that. Don't want to be targeted by the RIAA or anything. If they think that prosecuting music consumers is the way to get them on their side, they are fooling themselves. Yes, getting music for free isn't the way for artists or recording companies to make money. But there has to be a way, given current technology and interest in music, to compromise so that music lovers can have the music they love, while still making money for those who create it.

[end digression]

[another digression]

And get a load of the 2004 All-Star logo, which was revealed yesterday by the Astros, who will host the game.

How boring is that? It gives no sense of history or place; the only connection to the Astros is the very small "star" logo, the Houston logo, between the words "All" and "Star", and really has no distinguishing features to make it interesting at all. They claim that it honors "icons of the ballpark", but so what? The park's only three years old and while interesting, the logo doesn't really capture its feel. If I were an art teacher having had this submitted as a class project, I'd have failed it. Awful.

[end second digression. done for today!]