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How To Pass The Time During A Rain Delay

First of all, I'm supposed to tell you that Carole said "The rain sucked." That's a direct quote.

But really, after leaving during Friday's rain delay and missing the remarkable comeback win, I was determined to stick this one out. You know, it wasn't supposed to rain till much later in the day, so when a very heavy shower started about 1:00, I figured it'd last half an hour or 45 minutes and then end.

As you surely know, it didn't. There were some very impressive lightning displays; at one point Paul Friedman, the PA announcer, came on and said that we in the bleachers might want to take cover (this very different from a couple years ago when Wayne Messmer ordered all of us in the bleachers down below. Well, that day Jeff & I stayed in our seats and by the time they came to make us leave, the aisles were so crowded that we couldn't) -- and after a while, we did.

Today we knew they'd wait a long time, as both teams (and the entire NL) have tomorrow off, and they didn't want to lose the sellout Sunday crowd again.

It was just Carole, Mike, Phil & me at game time; Jeff & Krista were househunting and were going to arrive late anyway (when he finally got there, Jeff said he was on his third change of clothes), and stayed at home watching the Weather Channel, and Brian & Kristy, who had brownies for Jeff's birthday (and it did get the scoreboard mention, though we just got a glimpse of it since it was first on the list), stayed in their truck and never did show up.

First to leave was Phil, who never dresses for the weather; he had shorts and a t-shirt and no rain gear. We didn't see him again. So the three of us sat under our umbrellas (Carole brought a fashionable purple one) until the lightning started about 2:15. At that point I gave up on trying to save the Sunday Sun-Times I had brought (luckily, I had already read it). It did stay on the bench, though, and some of it stayed dry, so we used it to sit on when we came back.

They let us down the stairs for shelter which they don't normally do. One sight seen: there are a number of vendors who are Orthodox Jews; I believe the Cubs have an "in" with one of the yeshivas to hire these young men. I saw one of them studying a Hebrew text, sitting downstairs just behind where the batting cage is under the RF bleachers.

When we finally came back upstairs two very drunk people tried to sit down next to us; I explained that we were expecting someone (which we were -- I knew Jeff & Krista were coming), and that's when they started something which has become an annual event -- the profanity-laced tirade from the once-a-year bleacher fan. Two years ago it was the woman who sat down in my seat when I got up in the fifth inning for a couple minutes, and when I came back she called me a "dickhead"; last year it was more amusing, the 30-something guy who said we should stop booing Todd Hundley because "He's my dad!"

Anyway, they sat across the aisle and after four innings they asked someone to save their seat and they never came back. I figure they just forgot the way.

So that's how you pass more than six hours before the game even started. And then it was well worth the wait, as Matt Clement threw his second terrific game in a row, and Sammy Sosa's 2-run HR was all the Cubs needed in their exciting 2-1 win over Arizona, and for the third straight series the Cubs have taken two out of three, which is a nice building block going into the West Coast trip on Tuesday. With Prior, Wood and Zambrano throwing against San Diego, the Cubs surely ought to win at least 2 of 3.

The game took on near-legendary status when it started raining again just after Sammy's homer, and it rained hard through the bottom of the 8th and top of the 9th. I give tremendous credit to Damian Miller for throwing Raul Mondesi out stealing (and what was he thinking? Or maybe there was a missed hit-&-run sign), with a wet ball and poor visibility.

The final called strike three on Junior Spivey looked low, and Pat Hughes on radio even called it low, but for the umpires who were getting soaked, I guess it was close enough.

It's been a memorable weekend, and the deficit is still only 3 1/2 games. If the Cubs can pick up even one game on Houston in the next week, they can really make something happen in the four-game series against the Astros starting on August 11.

And finally, best news of all: Lenny F. Harris is no longer a Cub. You surely know this by now, but I said before that I wanted to see his name with the words "unconditionally released" next to it, and my wish was granted.

Correction on yesterday's post: the bug swarms yesterday were not in fact aphids, but fungus gnats, which though disgusting, are pretty harmless. Luckily, the rain kept them away today.