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In Memoriam, Vince Lloyd, 1917-2003

Well, they're all gone now, all the men who Cub fans of my generation grew up with: Jack & Harry, Vince & Lou. Vince Lloyd passed away this morning at the age of 86. For younger fans who never had the privilege of hearing Vince, he succeeded to WGN radio's play-by-play job after the untimely death of Jack Quinlan in a car accident before the 1965 season. Vince & Lou were at the mike for 22 seasons together, till Vince was forced to retire at the age of 70, far too young as far as I'm concerned. He was a classy guy and a great broadcaster; probably his most memorable call was his absolute scream of Willie Smith's game-winning extra-inning home run on Opening Day 1969. We'll always remember Vince and Lou ringing their cowbell for Cub home runs and Vince yelling "Holy Mackerel", his trademark call.

Fond memories of times gone by, and all these men, who sat along with the rest of us through so many losing seasons, never saw the Cubs in a World Series, not even Jack Brickhouse, who was broadcasting for the New York Giants in 1945, before he came back to Chicago.

The Cubs held a moment of silence for Vince before today's game, and then the pitching staff went out and stunk up the joint again in another blowout, an 11-8 loss to the Cardinals which wasn't as close as the score.

Kerry Wood looked like he was a million miles away today; he had no command and got torched for a couple of home runs in the first inning, and though Dave Veres (just back from the DL) and Kyle Farnsworth managed to keep it close for a while, there was the leader of the Arson Squad, Antonio Alfonseca, raising his ERA to 5.43 with another putrid appearance; even Joe Borowski threw poorly today (though in fairness, the inning began with an error by the execrable Lenny Harris, who for some inexplicable reason was installed as a "defensive replacement" at 3B), and had they just been able to keep the Cardinals offense down, the third Moises Alou home run of the day, a 3-run job in the 9th, would have meant something instead of just being his biggest day as a Cub.

Sammy Sosa also homered on a high fastball that even Harris might have been able to hit out, his 511th, tying Mel Ott for 16th place on the all-time list. Next up are Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews, tied at 512 (though Sammy hit 29 HR before he came to the Cubs, meaning he'll have to get to 542 before he breaks the club record). If Alou and Sosa can stay hot, maybe the offense will stay awake -- 8 runs was their biggest output since 9 runs on June 24 against Milwaukee.

Latest trade rumor involves getting Adrian Beltre from the Dodgers. Beltre's career started with a lot of promise, but he's had a couple bad years in a row and is getting a reputation as a malcontent. Maybe a deal here with Dusty Baker as manager, might help. Beltre is still young -- allegedly 24 -- so maybe he can still turn it around.

I had to work the evening shift today, so I didn't get to see the end of today's game in person, which was just as well. Jessica from the Cubs NG, along with her friend Charles, were there today and will spend most of the homestand in the bleachers (including what she says is her first-ever night game in the bleachers on Monday), and so will Mike, who is taking his annual homestand week off.

Let us hope it begins improving, tomorrow.